Fillmore County Engineer Ron Gregg called attention to a recent report from the MnDOT Bridge Office at the board’s January 28 meeting. Forty bridges in the county received a low rating and 30 of those will need to be posted. Many of these did not have to be posted last year. Postings of five to eight ton loadings have to be up within 30 days. About half of the bridges to be posted are county state aid bridges and about half are township bridges.
Gregg explained that metal culverts had not been analyzed in prior years. We are trying to come up with fixes. More cover/overburden over the culverts could be one possible fix.
Last meeting Gregg recommended the surface reconditioning with full depth reclamation on two state aid roads, CSAH 15 (3.13 miles) and CSAH 34 (.62 miles). The roads were nine and 10 on his CSAH rural roads priority list. The priority list was based on three factors: last year surfaced, pavement quality index (PQI), and the average daily traffic. Commissioners wanted to look at the information more before deciding.
This day Commissioner Duane Bakke introduced a priority list based on PQI only. This put CSAH 34 up to the fourth highest on the list, but moved CSAH 15 well down the list, as there are 15 roads with a poorer PQI rating.
During the Citizens Input portion of the meeting, John Zanmiller, Bristol Township, reported that he lives on CSAH 15 and knows how hazardous it is. Short sighted decisions were made 40 to 50 years ago. He said he represents a group of investors that want to reinvigorate rural America. He wants to grow the tax base in Granger. For that we need a good road. Gregg had plans to lower the vertical crest of the hill near the intersection of CSAH 15 and 120th St. to make the intersection safer. He also wanted to improve the site distance 1.75 miles south of CSAH 44. The plan also called for widening the shoulder in places so Amish buggies could have a space to pull over to allow traffic to pass. Zanmiller said an Amish man made a suggestion to him; rather than spend the money to widen the road, construct a gravel or paved trail. A pedestrian and bike trail could be funded with a different pot of money.
Chairman Marc Prestby said we are limited as to what we can do in a year by the funds available. Bakke noted that the CSAH 1 reconstruction project consumed a lot of those dollars over the last years, which didn’t allow spending on other projects. Now, we can use funding to catch up on these low rated roads. He recommended doing CSAH 34. On CSAH 15 the shoulders are bad; there is Amish traffic and large truck traffic. Commissioner Mitch Lentz said CSAH 15 is going to take a lot more work. He suggested we should construct roads with adequate shoulders in the future. No action was taken on the plan for CSAH 15.
Gregg’s plan for surface reconditioning of CSAH 34 in 2020 was approved. Lentz voted no.
Gregg requested approval to purchase two budgeted pick-ups, one crew cab and one super cab. The request was tabled. He was directed to bring state bids for three makes, Ford, Chevy, and Dodge, rather than just one.
Final payment in the amount of $51,178.36 for the CR 115 reconditioning project was approved.
A request to advertise for the surface reconditioning project on CSAH 5 from CSAH 44 to the Iowa State Line was approved. Gregg also requested approval to purchase Base 1 Stabilizing Agent for the CSAH 5 project. The material is injected into the subgrade. Purchasing it now will result in a $6,600 cost savings. The purchase was approved and will be reimbursed with the state aid construction account. Bakke recommended this stabilizing agent be used on every full depth reclamation project; the cost is about $5,000 per mile.
A request to advertise for the construction of a Land Bridge on CSAH 5 south of Chatfield was approved. This will be a new concept to fix this portion of CSAH 5. Other attempts over several decades have failed to solve the problem. Pilings will be put into the bedrock to support the roadway. The lateral sliding of material has not been controlled in past attempts.
Other business in brief
•Sheriff John DeGeorge commented on the formation of a subcommittee, to be called the Jail Assessment Committee. This committee’s task will be to work on a needs study. He argued that members of the public could help with data gathering and give credibility to the committee’s recommendations. He suggested the Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee (CJCC) be allowed to form the planning team. Approval was given for the CJCC (judge, county attorney, defense attorney, sheriff, county administrator, probation officer, and two commissioners/Lentz and Prestby) to recommend a list of members to be appointed to the Jail Assessment Committee. Prestby suggested there are three jail options: no jail, construct a new jail, or remodel the existing jail. Commissioner Randy Dahl sees only two options: no jail or what kind of facility to build. DeGeorge maintained the needs study is a first step, simply detailing the needs. There will be no discussion on how to meet those needs by this subcommittee.
•A list of commissioner committee appointments for 2020 was approved. It was noted there are some vacancies on some committees to be filled by the public. Bonita Underbakke used Citizens Input time to suggest that the public is not aware of these vacancies. She urged them to reach out to the public to make them more aware of these vacancies.
•A request to purchase two Ram 1500 4 x 4 crew cab squad pick-ups from Sheriff DeGeorge through the Enterprise Fleet Management program was approved. Both will be 2020 Ram pick-ups. They will replace a Chevy Impala and a Dodge Durango which will be sold. DeGeorge said the Ram pick-up squad vehicle they have has been a great squad car. The total purchase price for each is $27,702. Equipment total cost for the two squads will be $26,459.08. The equipment purchase was approved as presented.
•County Recorder David Kiehne presented his annual recording requirements report, which verifies compliance with recording laws. The county was in compliance on turn around time for all documents. The number of documents e-recorded each year is growing. Kiehne expects over half will be e-recorded this year.
•Kristina Kohn, human services, asked for and received approval of the 2020 Pay Equity Report (for males and females). She said the county is in a good position.
A motion to advertise for a replacement property appraiser internally and externally was approved.
•County Administrator Bobbie Vickerman updated the board on several technology projects. The website update will go live in March.
•Finance Director Lori Affeldt reported that several of the county’s CD funds are maturing. She reached out to all the banks in Fillmore County to learn their CD interest rates. She recommended putting mature CD funds, as they mature on a short term basis, in the checking account until June when most are matured. Her recommendation was approved. The banks will again be asked what interest rates they can offer and the board will discuss it again at that time.
•Rep. Greg Davids and Senator Jeremy Miller will attend the February 4 meeting of the county board to review 2020 Legislative Priorities.