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Grindeland calls for townships to classify roads correctly

Fri, Nov 17th, 2006
Posted in Government

PRESTON - County Engineer John Grindeland expressed his dissatisfaction to the commissioners at their November 14 meeting about inappropriate classification by townships of township roads. Grindeland sent a letter to each of the township supervisors requesting a correction in road designations. He explained in his letter that, during his travels across the county looking for E-911 signage errors, he noticed, "an alarming number of 'minimum maintenance' designations, roads closed and shown as through roads on maps, dead-end roads that are named/numbered, but resident mailboxes and new 'address' not located at the residence, and numerous roadways that show little or no evidence of roadway or right-of-way maintenance."

Grindeland stated that 'minimum maintenance' roads are to be maintained about eight of the twelve months of the year. There should be no residents living on these roads. He noted that some of these roads have no evidence of the township rocking and blading the road. Many dead end roads are probably drive-ways with the mailbox at the main road. As driveways, the township should not be maintaining them. Grindeland suggested that some townships would lose money if their roads were accurately reported to determine their Township Road Account share.

Mr. Grindeland also complained of roads that are shown as 'through' roads on the maps that are "actually closed and impassable." He wants townships to identify official roads correctly. A township road by statute is defined as 66 feet wide right-of-way to be constructed and maintained for local traffic. Grindeland suggested that some roads he observed are actually 'cartways' by statute definition only 33 feet wide right-of-way with trees growing up to the road. He warned that if the governing body owning the right-of-way does not maintain the full easement, courts may determine that they no longer legally have it.

Chairman Duane Bakke said that a meeting needs to be set up with each township. Grindeland stated that he has a list of the roads in question. Board members agreed that these designations need to be corrected before new maps can be printed.

The board approved a detour agreement with MnDot to be in place during the removal and replacement of Bucksnort Bridge on state road 30. The detour will be on two county roads, CSAH 11 and CSAH 32. Compensation will be adjusted according to the actual days of the detour. The work will start in the spring of 2007.

Grindeland discussed briefly a letter sent to the commissioners from Anoka County discussing wet-land policy. He said that wetlands impact the northern counties in the state more than Fillmore County. The letter states that wetlands are being lost at the rate of 400 to 600 per year. However, conservation groups, including Ducks Unlimited and the Nature Conservancy and the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), add to newly created wetlands which according to the letter make an increase in wetlands in the state.

Grindeland noted difficulties caused by the recent wet snow with the work on County Road 2. He said that about a half mile in the middle of the road needs to be strengthened and dried out. In a related note, Grindeland complained of construction scheduling difficulties. People prefer construction to occur from June 1 to September 1 so as not to interfere with school bus routes. He said that the short period doesn't work.

Commissioner Randy Dahl asked about bridge funding. He noted that bridges need to be replaced before work can be completed on roads. Grindeland stated that $55 million allotted for 2006 and 2007 was spent in four months. The allotment allows for about one fourth of the bridges needed. Dahl suggested that if bridges need to be closed because of deficiencies, roads will then be closed effecting fire and rescue, school buses and more.

Other Business

• An access permit was approved for Otis and Suzanne Kunert on CSAH 26 in Beaver Township. Kunert currently has access on the forty acre parcel onto a township road. Bakke suggested that the township road would have less traffic. Bakke opposed the access approval and Marc Prestby abstained.

• Deborah Teske, Veteran Services/Emergency Management, requested and received approval to increase a stipend paid to volunteer van drivers from $50 to $60. She also received approval to pay her current student intern from grant monies. The intern will receive a one time compensation of $450 for her semester of work. Teske encourages applications to fill the intern position in the future from any high school student in Fillmore County. She believes in internships at the high school and college level.

• Robert Pickett, Assessor, requested that the process be started to replace property appraiser, David Kiehne. Kiehne, the County Recorder Elect, will continue to work in the assessor's office and part time as office manager in the recorder's office until January 2, 2007. At that time, he will take on the recorder position full time.

• County Board meetings in December will be on the twelfth and the nineteenth. If determined to be necessary at the meeting on the nineteenth, there could be a third meeting on the twenty-sixth.

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