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County discusses road conditions

By Staff | Feb 10, 2019

Faribault County engineer Mark Daly, left, updates the members of the County Board about road conditions around the county.

Even though it was not on the agenda, the weather and road conditions certainly were topics of discussion when the Faribault County Commissioners met for their regular meeting on Feb. 5.

Cold temperatures and windy conditions have combined to make it difficult to remove the ice from the road, according to Mark Daly, the public works director.

Daly explained the road salt is only effective when the temperature stays above 15 degrees. He also explained windy conditions have blown the sand the county applies off the road. Sunshine and some sustained warmer temperatures would help more than anything to clear the ice off the roads, Daly added.

Moving on from the road discussion, the board took up the task of making a decision on which brand of skid-steer loader to purchase for the public works department.

Two different models are in the final running. One is a CAT 289D and the other is a Bobcat T650.

Daly mentioned the public works employees strongly favor the CAT model because of the experience they have had with a CAT skid-steer loader already owned by the county.

“The service that CAT provides is outstanding,” Daly said.

The Bobcat model is approximately $8,000 less than the CAT model.

No action was taken by the board but they requested some public works employees attend the next meeting on Feb. 19 so the commissioners can hear their input before making a decision.

Chairman Bill Groskreutz reported on the money which the Minnesota Valley Action Council (MVAC) spent in Faribault County last year.

There were 19 homes which were weatherized at a cost of $72,590.

Under the energy assistance program, 851 households received energy assistance which totaled $546,162. In addition, there were 584 households receiving crisis payments totaling $203,981. Finally, 46 households received repairs which cost $64,100 making the total amount of money distributed through the energy assistance program $814,243.

Dawn Fellows, central services director, presented a resolution to the board which would increase the Faribault County Attorney rate to Faribault/Martin County Human Services to $100 per hour for child support matters, data practices requests, maltreatment determination appeals, estate recovery or other matters deemed necessary. Although the rates can vary around the state, Fellows explained the $100 figure would bring the county more in line with the amount which most counties use.

Fellows also reported the last of the union contracts has been signed. The final contract to be finished, which was with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), was signed on Jan. 28 retroactive to Jan. 1.

Jenna Schmidtke, the veteran’s services officer, updated the board on two potential upcoming purchases. The veteran’s services office is in need of a different copier and would like to explore the option of purchasing rather than leasing a machine.

Because of security issues, many documents need to be faxed instead of being sent over the Internet, so a machine which has fax capabilities is important. After reviewing some of the figures associated with both options (purchasing vs. leasing), the board directed Schmidtke to pursue the purchase option.

The subject of the transport vehicle for veterans also was addressed. Schmidtke related the current vehicle is old and has become unreliable and difficult to fix because of the Mercedes engine in the vehicle. Schmidtke has done some preliminary work investigating possible replacement vehicles and the board gave their blessing for her to continue to research possible alternatives.

In other business:

The board approved the request of Barbara Shimmon, an accountant in the public works department, to attend a 1-day advanced Microsoft Excel class in Mankato.

A request for Darren Esser, an accountant for the county, to attend a 2-day Minnesota Association of County Auditor, Treasurers and Finance Officers regional meeting in Morton was approved by the board.

The board also approved a request by Andrew Noll, who is a jailer for the county, to attend a 4-day Use of Force Instructor training in Andover.