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Septic system inspection required before sale

Thu, Jul 3rd, 2008
Posted in Government

PRESTON - Zoning Administrator Norman Craig discussed with the county board the enforcement of the Point of Sale Ordinance at the board's July 1 meeting. He noted that the ordinance has been on the books for about a year. It says that "before a person may close on a real estate sale or transfer, a subsurface sewage treatment system inspection must be completed."

Craig said that letters have been sent to relators and closing attorneys in an education effort of the county ordinance. The problem is identifying people that are not in compliance. He explained that people who have sold property without inspecting the septic system are now being identified after closing, and after the sale or transfer is recorded when the information has been entered into the computer system.

Chairman Randy Dahl stressed that landowners need to be made aware of the need for the Certificate of Inspection. Once the inspection is done and if the septic system passes, then nothing else is required. If it fails, the system has to be brought up to code in 10 months to 2 years depending on the issue causing it to fail. The seller is generally responsible for fixing or replacing a failed system. Because of the significant cost of replacing a septic system, a failed system effects a property's value.

County Recorder David Kiehne remarked that most people will comply, but since it isn't in the state statute, he can't refuse to record a sale without the certificate. Kiehne noted that if the document is signed, notarized with an appropriate legal description and the deed tax, he is obligated to record the transaction. He said that the certificate needs to be required by the closing attorney or the relator.

Dahl recognized that people know the intent of the ordinance, but the problem lies with those that try to circumvent the ordinance. Craig added that the enforcement now is after the recording is complete. Commissioner Duane Bakke suggested that Kiehne inform people who fail to have the certificate when they ask to have a transaction recorded.

The board decided to try to better educate realtors and closing attorneys about the requirement for land sales or transfers that involve homes with septic systems.

Social Services

Social Service Director Thomas Boyd asked for and received approval for a contract with Fillmore Central Schools and Zumbro Valley Mental Health. The contractual relationship to treat kids with mental health issues has existed for over ten years and serves all the schools in Fillmore County.

Boyd discussed briefly the 2009 levy for social services. He said that grant losses weren't as large as feared. The biggest decrease is in adult mental health. Reductions in support from the state for public defenders was discussed. Boyd noted that there was an obvious push to reduce these costs. The reduction will slow the process for families in turmoil.

Dahl maintained that the county is a provider of state mandated services. He insisted local property taxes should be used to do local business. Dahl said that the number one increase in the property tax burden is state mandated service. Boyd remarked that when you fall behind, you never catch up.

Other Business

• The Facilities Committee earlier in the day had discussed how to solve the problem with the lobby windows in the waiting room in the courthouse. Because of state budget cuts the counter is closed part of the time. Apparently, citizens are asking at other county offices when the counter is closed.

The board wants to close the counter area but leave the waiting area open. An estimate for locking aluminum counter doors of $4,380 was discussed. Most of the board wanted to look into a less costly remedy. Board members all agreed that they want to keep the waiting area open. Other options will be investigated for closing the counter area.

• A resolution introduced by Curt Petzel, Dodge-Fillmore-Olmsted Community Corrections, was approved recognizing July 13-19, 2008, as Probation, Parole and Community Supervision Week. Petzel noted that at any one time there are about 4300 offenders under the three county correction system. About 400 to 500 of those offenders are residents of Fillmore County.

• County Coordinator Karen Brown announced that the FEMA kickoff meeting will be Wednesday, July 9 at 10:00 AM at the Lanesboro Center Community Dining Room. It will deal with damages to public infrastructure for all communities impacted by the early June flooding. FEMA will give a presentation.

• Duane Bakke and Marc Prestby were appointed to the Board of Canvas for the September 9 primary election and the November 4 general election.

• The board approved a four member team including Sheriff Daryl Jensen, Jail Administrator Fenske, Commissioner Marc Prestby and County Coordinator Karen Brown to attend a meeting in Aurora, Colorado, for the planning of new institutions. The training is put on by the National Institute of Corrections. The program teaches the need for in-depth planning in jail design.

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