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Railroad says no crossing

By Staff | Jul 23, 2017

Unfortunately, reconstruction plans on the Third Street SE railroad crossing along County State Aid Highway 32 in Wells have hit a roadblock of sorts.

According to Faribault County public works director and county engineer Mark Daly, railroad consultants hired by the city of Wells have revealed they no longer have the available budget to begin reconstruction in 2017 or 2018.

As a result, the Faribault County Board decided at their meeting last Tuesday the best course of action would be to reconstruct CSAH 32 or Third Street SE in Wells without altering the railroad crossing itself. The board would rather leave it up to the railroad consultants as to what will be done about the condition of the railroad crossing.

Although no official action was voted on, District 4 Commissioner Tom Loveall summarized the board’s sentiment.

“Here’s the line, we’re doing this, and you guys fix your side whenever you get around to it,” Loveall said. “That’s one option right there, just let this big nasty piece be in there until the railroad fixes it.”

During the July 18 Faribault County Board meeting, Daly also updated the board on various construction projects on the horizon.

ASTECH will begin crack sealing work on County Road 21 on July 24, as well. The project will go from Highway 109 to Minnesota Lake. After the crack sealing process is complete, seal coating efforts will begin shortly thereafter. The projected completion date for this project is Aug. 4.

A mill and overlay project for CSAH 32 is tentatively scheduled to begin on Aug. 17.

Starting next year, the Human Services of Faribault and Martin Counties will experience a 23 cent per square foot rent hike at the Human Service Annex building adjacent to the Faribault County Courthouse.

Board chairman John Roper made a motion to increase the 2018 rental rate for the Human Service Annex building to $9.81 per foot for 10,200 square feet. According to Roper, these rates are identical to those found in Martin County.

While the motion was carried unanimously by the board, District 5 Commissioner Tom Warmka expressed some reservations about the rate increase. Faribault and Martin County both share the expenses of the Human Services Annex building.

“How much of a budget impact is this to us? It seems a little left handed to me that we’re going to tax ourselves,” Warmka contended. “Hopefully we get a little something back from the feds, but in reality, we are the feds in this situation.”

Meanwhile, Faribault County auditor/treasurer John Thompson had a vastly different take on the impending rent increase.

“Rent was increased to account for increases in utilities, maintenance, and other costs,” Thompson explained. “While it may seem like taking funds from one pocket to another, we do take the reimbursement from the federal government to reduce the local property taxes. We try to equalize the amount paid between counties as costs are split on a population basis,” Thompson said.

With little discussion, the board quickly endorsed two action items that were presented to them at the meeting.

Wells resident Thomas Feist had his Subsurface Sewage Treatment System (septic tank) loan approved by the board. While the total invoice for this project came out to $15,503, the loan was for 80 percent of the total cost, or $12,402.40.

The board also agreed to take a subordinate position on a previous subsurface sewage treatment system load made to Jacob Tolzman. The amount of the loan is $8,640. The subordinate is necessary for Tolzman to secure another loan.