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Board won’t take aeration duties

By Staff | Dec 29, 2008

On a narrow vote, the Faribault County Commissioners said no to taking on lake aeration duties on Rice Lake near Wells.

Currently the Wells Sportsmans Club has the permit for the aeration unit, while the county pays for the electricity to run it.

The Wells Sportsmans Club asked the county to take on the permit for the aeration, as they can no longer afford the insurance involved.

“It has always been a three-legged stool,” Commissioner Tom Loveall stated at the last county board meeting. “The DNR (Department of Natural Resources), the sportsmans club, and the county share in the operation.”

The DNR furnishes the permit and the equipment, while the club operates it, and the county pays for the power, Loveall explained. The county also pays for electricity to run aeration on Bass and Lura Lakes, County Auditor John Thompson said.

Loveall said that before the county would agree to the new set up, he felt a clear letter of agreement on responsibility should be drawn up and signed.

County attorney Brian Roverud said even with a letter, the responsibility rests solely with the permit holder.

Commissioners questioned who would be responsible for safety measures, such as warning signs. County Sheriff Mike Gormley told the commissioners his office would be willing to take on the responsibility of seeing everything was properly done.

Board chairman Barb Steier suggested getting the sportsmans club and the DNR to attend the next county board meeting to iron out the matter.

“Why should we keep doing this?” Commissioner Tom Warmka asked. “Why should it be our job to run the aeration?”

Commissioner Bill Groskreutz responded they would like to keep fishing available in the lake. The lake was stocked several years ago after a fish kill off. The county also operates a park on the lake.

“I don’t think the county should be involved at all,” Commissioner Butch Erichsrud said. “It will be a bad deal down the road.”

The motion was to take on operation of the aeration system, as long as the sheriff’s office monitored it.

Groskreutz and Loveall voted aye; Warmka and Erichsrud voted nay.

After a pause, Steier cast the deciding vote, saying no to the motion.