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County holds public hearing on bonding

Fri, Feb 14th, 2003
Posted in Features

The bonding hearing for the courthouse remodeling project at Tuesday’s county board meeting met no opposition as Michael Bubany, David Drown & Associates, reviewed the $3.8 million Capital Improvement Bonds (CIP) schedule. There was plenty of seating space as Bubany explained the number crunching process that would allow the county to fund the building project.

“The county has no outstanding CIP bonds, or any other kind of debt for that matter,” Bubany told the board.

The county’s 2003 payable market value is at $1,281,352,300. The legal lending limit for CIP’s is .05367% of market value, which pens out at $687,702. The twenty-year repayment schedule for this project is based on an average yearly payment of $301,040, less than half of the maximum lending limit available.

Bubany showed an annual tax impact scale and how it would effect property owners, which includes the 2.588% additional tax rate needed to help pay for the construction work (See Fillmore Capital Improvement Bond Impact).

With very few questions from the public, the hearing was closed. Preliminary approval to issue general obligation Capital Improvement Plan bonds, not to exceed $3.8 million, was approved.

Courthouse design

With the bonding issue resolved, the board was ready to meet with Kane & Johnson Architects to review design changes and answer questions raised at the last county board meeting. Jason Woodhouse led the discussion, touching first on the construction phasing, which is scheduled to start in April 2003. He outlined his office’s perception of what the lower and upper temporary office spaces would look like as the building and remodeling took place. There would be a two to three week time frame to allow departments to move into their temporary digs before the next phase of work would begin.

Bullet-proof glazing, inoperable windows and restrooms were discussed again as they had been sensitive topics at a previous meeting. Mechanical Engineer Stan Maass assured the board that they would be able to provide quality heat/air movement for offices that would have inoperable windows. The windowsills would be three feet off the floor. Glazing standards run on a scale of 1-8, with the county’s windows falling at the 4 mark.

The new courthouse building across from the county jail has had several technical problems as pointed out by Policy Coordinator Karen Brown. Commissioner Randy Dahl sided with her assessment as he started to sing the old Walt Disney song, “M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E”, indicating poor planning of its heating and ventilation design. Dahl wanted to know about the possibility of a backup generator in some form like farmers have. Some communities have been without power for as long as a week due to run-ins with Mother Nature. Dahl wanted to make sure the courthouse’s services would function in an emergency capacity. Maass noted that this could be done.

Two of the proposed unisex restrooms will be eliminated, one on each side of the building. Instead, the floor space will be converted into rooms with a sink, simple cabinets, and coat storage for employees. Woodhouse also pointed out changes to be made to give the Auditor/Treasurer’s office more space which would include nine work stations, a private office, server room, and storage room which can be used by the State Auditor during visits. The Coordinator’s office will also gain more efficiency by eliminating a door at one end of the general office, allowing for one more office.

Woodhouse said he would be revisiting each department again to confirm any more changes before the bidding process would begin.

Maass indicated that his office had been working overtime in order to determine the best way to blend and upgrade the existing courthouse’s wiring and plumbing systems. Cable trays, housed above the ceiling and between the ducts, will carry communication lines. David Kane also requested that extra vacant space be allowed for future growth, as it is extremely expensive to go back and add later. Maass said his office needs to determine plans for roof drains and the sprinkler system yet.

The board was informed of the architect’s need to do construction document reproduction at a cost of $110-$120 per set. These are project plans which potential bidders need to have in order to determine their bid offers. Each bidder puts down a deposit on a set of plans and is reimbursed when the plans are returned. An estimated 80 sets will be made. Within a few weeks, the bidding process will begin. Fillmore County requires three weeks of advertising and must allow local businesses to participate. A bid opening date will be set and the results will be brought back to the board.

Other business

•Sheila Harms from the Southeastern Minnesota Water Resources Board, gave a presentation on the Shallow Well Disposal Systems Inventory Project to be conducted in Fillmore County. Research has proven that more drinking water supplies are contaminated by shallow injection wells than by any other source of contamination. The Department of Health is also helping with the three-year project which hopes to identify various types of disposal systems in the county and focus on educational efforts to improve systems.

“Shallow disposal systems, also known as Class V injection wells, are typically man-made or improved holes in the ground which are used to discharge waste fluids into or above drinking water aquifers,” explained Harms. Examples of such systems include motor vehicle waste disposal wells, large capacity cesspools, industrial waste disposal systems, storm water drainage wells, agricultural wells, and large capacity septic systems.

•Commissioner Duane Bakke requested that a designated time be set aside at each board meeting to allow the board time to review the latest information from the state regarding budget cuts. The board concurred with Bakke’s request, setting the first such meeting for the February 25 county board meeting.

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