At the October 24 meeting of the county board, a proposed agreement concerning a Preston forfeiture property was discussed.
The former Preston Oil site (119 Mill Street SW) went into tax forfeiture in 2018. The city of Preston has since had the underground tanks removed. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) has monitored the site, and a mitigation plan has been reviewed.
The county holds the property in trust on behalf of the state.
The Preston City Council has voted to negotiate with the county for an option to purchase the blighted property for $1. The city will be responsible for the cost to remove the structure. The intention is to have the property cleaned up so it can again be developed and put on the tax rolls.
County Attorney Brett Corson said the option to buy the property upon the listed terms and conditions will run until December 31, 2025. He said he will talk to Preston city attorney Dwight Luhmann about one sentence in the agreement he wants deleted, which would allow the city to assign the interest to someone else.
The purchase option agreement between the county and the city was approved with the recommendation from Corson that the sentence noted will be deleted.
Other Business in Brief
•Aaron Bishop extended an invitation to commissioners to attend a Fillmore County Water Quality Forum to be held at Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center on Thursday, November 16 from 7-8:30 p.m. There will be several speakers including a hydrologist, physician, fly fishing guide, farmer/caver/feedlot officer, and water program director.
•Feedlot officer Dallas Dornink discussed the MPCA county Feedlot Program Delegation Agreement Work Plan for 2024-2025. He noted the work plan is similar to the plan over the last two years. The county has 568 feedlots eligible for funding. The total grant from the state for 2024 is $105,526.45. The work plan was approved as presented.
•Blake Lea, land use director, explained that the Greenleafton church has requested that the church and the parsonage be connected to the Greenleafton Septic System. The church had originally opted not to connect to the system. Lea noted the flow to the system has been far below the amount anticipated. The system could benefit from the additional flow. The service provider has approved the request. Commissioner Duane Bakke asked about another homeowner who is not connected. The board voted to authorize the church and parsonage to be connected. Lea will check with the homeowner who is not yet connected.
•The 2024 and 2025 Board of Water and Soil Resources-Natural Resource Block Grant Agreement was approved. Lea said there are additional funds available from the state this year to help with the installation of septic systems for low-income applicants. Eligibility is determined on a sliding scale dependent on the number of individuals in a household.
•The 2024 Toward Zero Death (TZD) resolution was adopted to enter into a grant agreement with the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. The grant funds are used to pay for enforcement projects (overtime pay for officers).
•Andrea Bjortomt was hired as a replacement Account Technician, effective November 10.
•Daniel Doerr was hired as a temporary Transfer Station Attendant, effective October 25.
•The retirement of Linda Logsdon, Public Health Nurse, effective December 29 was approved with thanks for her 18 years of service.
A request to advertise for a replacement RN/PHN was approved.
•Advertisement for three projects to be constructed in 2024 was approved. The projects include bridge replacements on CSAH 29, CSAH 7, and CR 107.
The final payment was approved for the 2023 Rock Contract with Bruening Rock Products. County Engineer Ron Gregg said all rock work was completed on CR 102, CSAH 11, CSAH 29, CSAH 7, and CR 11.
The final payment to Dunn Blacktop Co. was approved for the surface reconditioning project on CR 112 in Preble Township. The project was completed for about 10% under contract price.
The final payment to Griffin Construction Co. was approved for the reconstruction project of an approximately two block area in Whalan.
•The county’s website maintenance agreement with Revize was approved, costing $3,900 for a year.
•The county may provide temporary office space for Soil and Water District staff. The county could be reimbursed about $1,700 per month to rent the space. USDA staff is moving to a building across from Preston Equipment Co. and the current building that houses both USDA and SWCD will be renovated. A motion was approved to continue discussion with SWCD and to bring back an agreement drafted by the county attorney at the appropriate time.
•The board negotiated a possible three-year agreement with the International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 49ers. The union detailed their proposal. The board gave a counteroffer on each request.
•The county board meets next on November 7.