At the August 1 County Board meeting, District 6 planning director Ronda Allis detailed MnDOT plans for the coming decade. District 6 includes 11 southeastern Minnesota counties.
As part of MnDOT’s outreach, effort local government units are presented with an overview of the 10-year plan. Planned projects in the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program will be done in the first four years (2018-2021) and have been funded. Projects planned for the out years (years 5-10) are part of the Capital Highway Investment Plan and have not yet been funded. These out year projects can constantly change and not all of them will get funded. Both portions of the 10-year plan are updated annually.
Allis conceded that they do not have a consistent funding stream making it difficult to keep a steady program. She noted that there are more bridges in District 6 than any other district. The four-year plan includes more funding for bridges than for pavement projects. In the out years more money is expected to be funneled to pavement projects. Allis said they don’t have enough dollars to keep up with the needs on our roadways. Limited funding for pavement maintenance reduces the life of pavement.
MnDOT hopes to learn through their outreach efforts what isn’t in the 10-year plan that maybe should be. This year MN 139 from the Iowa border to US 52 near Harmony will get a mill and overlay estimated to cost nearly $2 million. There will also be some culvert work on MN 30 costing about $500,000. Next year US 52 north of CSAH 22 to MN 16 (Harmony to just southeast of Preston) will get a mill and overlay estimated to cost $2.4 million. Also, mill and overlay and ADA improvements to MN 139 from the Iowa line to US 52 near Harmony are scheduled with an estimated cost of $1.9 million. All roads are to be completely ADA compliant by 2037.
The newly formed Courthouse Security Committee requested the board move forward with a request for proposals for security equipment using $30,000 of a grant awarded by the Safe and Secure Courthouse Advisory Panel and the county match, a total of about $60,000. Equipment to be purchased includes cameras/monitors/key card access points and panic alarms.
Sheriff Kaase and commissioners Duane Bakke and Mitch Lentz looked at the security system in Dodge County. Bakke noted that security systems vary between counties. Some have electronic screening similar to airports. In some cases the security system is only for the court, attorneys, sheriff records, and court room. Security doesn’t always extend to county administration offices. In some cases the equipment is manned all the time and in other cases only when the court is in session. Lentz said he was comfortable with manning the equipment only when court is in session.
A motion was approved allowing the process to proceed.
Other business in brief
• Jessica Erickson, director of nursing, explained an application had been submitted for a WIC grant in the amount of $30,382 to be used for an office remodel. The plan is to move WIC up front and to provide privacy and safety with a secure door. No county match is required. Erickson acknowledged the grant would not be enough for the whole planned remodel, but will be nearly enough for the public health side of the remodel. The grant was accepted.
• Proposed budgets for 2018 were reviewed by county recorder Dave Kiehne for the county recorder, recorder equipment, geographic information systems, and un-allocated recording.
Building maintenance supervisor Terry Schultz reviewed the proposed 2018 maintenance and infrastructure budgets. He reported on needed building improvements including an update of the heating and cooling system at the Fillmore County Office Building.
County attorney Brett Corson reviewed his department’s budget.
• Charles Warner was hired as a replacement property appraiser effective August 11.
• Approval was given for an access permit for Terry and Ellen Schwartz to expand an existing driveway off County Road 11, in Section 15, Fountain Township, to accommodate larger equipment.
Approval was given for an access permit for Darin and Betty Johnson to install an adequate driveway for a new building site off County Road 11, Section 18, Pilot Mound Township.
• Corson discussed the county’s position concerning Nationstar Mortgage/Glenn Winslow Mortgage foreclosure. The county has a subordinate interest due to an Ag Best Management Program (BMP) loan. The unpaid portion of the loan is about $900. Corson said it wasn’t practical for him to respond, that BMP loans are unsecured. This is not a bankruptcy and the outstanding portion of the loan will not be recovered with a response.