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BREAKING NEWS

Moving full speed ahead

By Staff | Sep 11, 2016

Despite rainy weather last week, the road work on Main Street is still on track to be completed in October. County Engineer Mark Daly suspects it to be done earlier in the month rather than later.

Construction on Main Street in Blue Earth is still about three weeks ahead of schedule, Faribault County engineer Mark Daly said at Tuesday’s Board of Commissioners meeting.

“They were scheduled for some more sidewalk work this week,”?Daly said, “although the rain could change things as far as the exact start date.”

Sidewalk and ped ramp installation was also scheduled for Sixth Street’s bump-outs on Friday, while south-block sidewalks are tentatively slated for completion by Sept. 14.

Even if plans are altered, downtown work is still on track to be completed in October, likely in the beginning of the month rather than the end of it.

And the expedited construction on Main?Street was not the only project to receive promising feedback from Daly, either.

Addressing the County Board on road striping in the area, he said the budget for striping work was around $30,000 under the project’s actual cost. But the extra money, used mostly to expand four-inch road stripes to six-inch stripes, is a feasible expense for the county thanks to excess funds from other work.

“Oh yes,”?Daly said when asked by the commissioners whether the county can offset the underbid striping. “We have the money, plus I?think the stripes look great.”

Commissioner Tom Warmka agreed, calling the new six-inch markings “bright and much easier to see”?than the traditional four-inch stripes, which Daly said are usually redone every three to four years.

As for North Main?Street in Blue Earth, Daly said he was scheduled to meet with contractors regarding a potential

delay in the opening of the road, although the second tier for the North Main bridge has been poured and the expectation is the new structure will be completed by Dec. 3.

In other county construction news, Daly informed the board that contractors are “about 25 percent done on grading County Road 18,”?despite some anticipated delays this week because of the rainy forecasts.

He also proposed resolutions for agreements between the county and the Blue Earth Snow Rovers as well as Stateliners Snowmobile Club, both of which drew unanimous approval from the board.

At Tuesday’s meeting, the Board of Commissioners also:

Approved several hirings in the county assessor’s office, by recommendation of Central Services director Dawn Fellows.

With support from each of the commissioners, Fellows presented the following names as new hires in the assessor’s department:?Amy Scholtes, Brady Rauenhorst and Lori Olson.

Scholtes is slated to start Sept. 19, while Olson accepted a position to move from her current post in the recorder’s office in the wake of Sue Cory’s previously announced retirement.

Fellows said there are still openings for several other positions, including two in the Veterans Services office and the county’s new crime victim services role, which will be added in large part due to a grant obtained by county attorney Troy Timmerman.

Reviewed the Faribault County Development Corporation’s budget, presented by FCDC?executive director Tim Clawson.

Outlining the corporation’s budget as well as anticipated expenses for Faribault County’s Economic Development Authority, the board discussed the EDA’s projected budget increase of $1,000 from 2016 an increase meant to cover additional Minnesota State Auditor costs and partnerships with the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation and the Greater MN Partnership.

The board also chimed in on the programs offered by FCDC those which, Commissioner Bill Groskreutz pointed out, are not always utilized as much as they should be.

“I’m a little disappointed that there’s a lot of dollars available and there’s not a whole lot of commercial loan funds being used,”?Groskreutz said. “We could really be funding some things locally around the county.”

Clawson echoed the commissioner’s concerns, noting that interested investors, particularly those most in need of financial assistance, sometimes “don’t want to take on additional debt”?or, in some cases, simply do not want to commit to a loan application process.

There are some promising investments in the horizon, however, as Clawson said FCDC is working to facilitate local investments, including, for example, a potential acquisition of the Three Sisters buildings in Blue Earth.

Held public hearings for a proposed feedlot in Winnebago Township as well as a conditional use permit for a 500,000-bushel grain storage facility for Stateline Cooperative in Jo Daviess Township.

Scheduled a full Prairie Lakes Transit Board meeting to approve the hiring of staff for the county’s anticipated in-house public transit operation.

Groskreutz said that potential hires will be presented by recommendation of the board’s executive committee following interviews with applicants, and if transit director Jeremy Monahan’s proposed plan remains intact, the county will take over its bus service from Fairlakes Transportation in the coming months.