The reconstruction of County State Aid Highway (CSAH) 1 has been a major road project for the county. At the November 14 county board meeting, approval was given to advertise for the concrete surfacing of CSAH 1 from north of Spring Valley city limits north to the county line.
County Engineer Ron Gregg said the advertisement will include a relatively short portion in Olmsted County to the intersection with Highway 30. Bids will be submitted by contractors for work to take place in the spring.
Commissioner Mitch Lentz expressed his preference to have paved shoulders along CSAH 1. Gregg noted due to funding there will be only two-foot paved along with a six-foot graveled area on the shoulders. The cost is expected to be about half the cost of paved shoulders which would be $1.3 million.
A resolution was adopted in support of the city of Ostrander using Local Road Improvement Program (LRIP) funds for the reconstruction of CSAH 1 and CSAH 3 within the city limits of Ostrander. The county supports the pursuit of LRIP funding and agrees to sponsor the funding application to the Minnesota Department of Transportation and act as the fiscal agent for construction proposed to take place in 2018. The city of Ostrander agrees to pay their share of the costs.
A second resolution was adopted in support of the pursuit of LRIP funds for the reconstruction of South Washington Avenue within the city of Spring Valley between CSAH 1 and CSAH 12. The county agrees to act as the project sponsor for the funding application to MnDOT and act as the fiscal agent for construction proposed to take place in 2018. Spring Valley agrees to pay their share of the costs.
LRIP funding is available to cities with less than 5,000 population. The program is administered by MnDOT and makes available up to $750,000 toward local road projects that are regionally significant, involve safety improvements, and decrease transportation deficiencies.
Pam Schroeder, highway/airport office manager, explained the proposed letter of agreement between the Airport Traffic Control Tower (Rochester) and the Fillmore County Airport. The airport must notify the traffic control tower via telephone of changes in surface conditions in movement areas and other surface areas. The safety agreement was approved.
An agreement for transfer and repayment of federal airport entitlement funds between Fillmore County and Redwood Falls was approved. The Federal Aviation Administration entitlement transfer of $150,000 (2018 funds) to Redwood Falls Municipal Airport requires repayment to Fillmore County in 2020. Schroeder noted the county is in the process of doing a master plan for the airport. This transfer of funds and repayment in 2020 allows the county a couple of years more time. The money remains out there for the county to be utilized at a later date when needed. Schroeder noted the language in the agreement was reviewed by the county attorney.
Other business in brief
• Samantha Grabau was hired as a replacement accounting technician/case aide in the Community Services/Public Health Department effective November 27.
• The Fillmore County Buffer Ordinance was approved as recommended by the Planning Commission. Zoning administrator Cristal Adkins explained the model ordinance brings the county into compliance with the newly enacted buffer law. Commissioner Duane Bakke said the county will take on enforcement of the buffer law. This ordinance which has been approved by the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) is the enforcement document. Chairman Randy Dahl said the enforcement process is a last resort type of thing, adding SWCD and others work to keep landowners in compliance. Bakke commented that this is the finishing process, getting the enforcement document into place. Hopefully, we won’t have to use it.
A resolution adopting the new Buffer Ordinance was approved.
• Adkins reviewed a quote from iWorQ (Logan, Utah) in the amount of $10,350 for software to be used in the zoning/feedlot and assessor’s offices. The cost includes a one time set up fee of $4,150 and an annual service fee of $6,200. Adkins said the current software was put into place in 2000, adding it is dated and has not been upgraded. The new software will improve efficiencies and save time. Everything will be tied together by parcel number. There is an additional $500 charge to have back-up on site. The purchase was approved.
• Approval was given of a permit application for the relocation of a driveway off CSAH 40 to provide better access for semi-trucks for Steve Worden, Section 3, Chatfield Township.
• The board approved Minnesota Counties Computer Cooperative changes to the Minnesota County Attorney Practice System (MCAPS). The transition will be to Strategic Technologies, Inc. (STI) software effective January 2018.
County attorney Brett Corson updated the board on the Amish cases concerning septic systems. He said a judge has allowed discovery so properties can be inspected. Inspections now will include outhouses which are required to have a pit. Corson noted two approved systems have been installed by Amish families. He hopes others will follow.
• There was a closed meeting for a 2018 Local #49 labor contract strategy. After the closed meeting the board approved an agreement that had been recommended by the negotiating committee. It changes the excess PTO payout to three years. The board is awaiting union approval.
• Lentz questioned the need for over $500 being spent for SWCD plat books by the sheriff’s department. He noted the plat books can be found online. The squad cars are equipped with Toughbooks where the plat books can be accessed free of charge. Login instructions are on page three of the plat books. Two additional counties can also be accessed.