County Engineer Brian Pogodzinski updated the commission on Wildcat Park now that the river is going down. Pogodzinski explained, “The water is coming down. We expect to get in there and start doing some clean-up work tomorrow and Thursday. If all goes as planned, campers can start hauling in their campers Thursday evening. We won’t have the water test results back until Friday morning, late morning, I guess, to know if we have water that is safe to drink and the use of the bathrooms. The drinking water will be shut down until at least noon Friday morning.” County staff has yet to see much damage. Pogodzinski emphasized, “As of right now, It looks really good.” The most damage may be to the shoreline, but staff won’t know that for another week. All the campsites are above water except for a couple of tent sites. Some sites with electricity have a bit of erosion, but that is all. New park manager Amber Miller is ready to go once the campground is open. Yellow caution tape will be used as needed in areas staff is unsure about.
Chairman Dewey Severson promptly called the meeting to order at 9 a.m. and led the board and the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance. The commission approved the agenda as amended and the minutes from the April 25 regularly scheduled commission meeting.
All commissioners attended: Chairman Dewey Severson; Eric Johnson; Robert (Bob) Burns; Bob Schuldt, and Greg Myhre.
The consent agenda was unanimously approved with one swift motion. On the agenda was a request from Sheriff Swedberg asking for the commission’s approval to apply for a $6500 2023 boat safety supplemental patrol grant. Board clerk Allison Wagner said, “There is one addition to the consent agenda, to approve assignment and assumption of ground lease form. This is because there is a new owner at the airport for someone new taking over a lease at the airport. This is just for them to take over the current one.”
After a lengthy discussion regarding various options, commissioners reluctantly approved the price increase for the new Bobcat Excavator, which was initially approved on February 8, 2022. The meeting agenda states, “The price has now increased from $177,161.20 to $186,248.02. This is a $9,086.82 price increase. The 2022 quote also included a trade-in of $45,000. The trade value has now been reduced to $37,500. The actual purchase price would go from $132,161.20 to $148,748.02.”
Before the commissioners vote on the motion to approve the price increase, Chairman Severson said, “It is one of those deals where you are dang if you do and dang if we don’t.”
Commissioners allocated $20,000 in ARPA funds, which will be used as a match for a $200,000.00 Minnesota Housing grant, Community Homeowner Impact Fund (Impact Fund). The match is continuous upon receiving the grant.
Wagner explained that this grant could be used for improvements like reroofing, electrical updates, interior water line updates, windows, doors, siding, accessibility improvements, repairs to existing water service lines, and mechanical system replacement. Wagner could not confirm the cap, but if it is like the Small Cities Development Program (SCDP) grant, the cap would be $25,000 per homeowner.
In other business, the board:
•Approved the 2022 Feedlot Program Annual Report and Financial Report.
•Awarded the paving to Dunn Blacktop for CSAH 16, SP 028-616-006/SP 028-070-010.
•Awarded the Airport taxi lane project bid to Nadeau Companies LLC for $283,601.00. It is contingent upon the issuance of a Federal or State grant.
•Adjourned the meeting at 10:18 a.m.
The next regularly scheduled Houston County Commission meeting is Tuesday, May 9, at 9 a.m. in the County Commission Board Room 222, located on the second floor in the historic county courthouse, Caledonia, or via the county conference call line (312) 626-6700 enter ID: 994-7297-7175 and password 368422. Public attendees are requested to mute their line until addressed.