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County Ditch 24 issue now in litigation

By Staff | Sep 22, 2019

Caesar Larson addresses the Faribault County Board of Commissioners in their meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 17.

Concerns and questions about work on County Ditch (CD) 24 have been ongoing, and the Faribault County Commissioners were once again met with frustrated constituents during their meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 17.

The board heard from Caesar Larson, who was also representing Charlie Carlson and Ashley Winkelman, regarding matters concerning CD 24 and more specifically, the Holtmeier Ravine project.

“We are coming before you today to say ‘What do you want to do, do you just want to litigate this?'” Larson said. “There are 14 issues here and your staff and your engineer think five of them could be checked off the list, why wouldn’t we do that?”

Chairman Bill Groskreutz offered an explanation.

“I would remind you that litigation is in process on this and that is the route Mr. Carlson has initiated,” Groskreutz said.

Larson questioned why some of the issues could notbe brought to closure.

“The answer is because there is pending litigation and any sort of resolution does need to go through the attorneys who are hired to handle the civil lawsuits at this point in time,” Kathryn Karjala, the county attorney, explained.

Karjala also stated the board would be talking to their attorney in a closed session later on in the meeting, so there was really nothing more which could be said at this time.

Later, after the closed session was over, the board reported a discussion was held with their attorney on CD 24 but no action will be taken at that point.

Next, the board moved to adopt the preliminary levy and budget for 2020.

The proposed levy of $11,951,873 represents a 5.7 percent increase over last year.

The proposed budget currently totals $26,164,093 in revenues and $26,154,076 in expenses.

Now the board has until the end of the year to make any adjustments to the levy. They can lower the proposed levy amount but cannot raise it.

Next, the board heard from Mark Daly, the county engineer, who gave a construction update on current road projects.

“County State Aid Highway (CSAH) 12 should be paved next week and the milling on CSAH 15 and CSAH 63 (Industrial and Commerce drives) should also be complete,” Daly commented. “Then, the week of Sept 30, paving will start on CSAHs 15 and 63. We hope to complete the paving in Delavan the week of October 7.”

Daly also brought resolutions, which were passed by the board, to rename Trunk Highway (TH) 254 and TH 253.

TH 254, which runs from Frost, north to the Interstate 90 exchange, will now be designated CSAH 17. TH 253, which goes north out of Bricelyn to the intersection of CSAH 21, will be known as CSAH 23.

Moving to other matters the board considered an application for repurchase of a forfeited tax parcel in Elmore.

“I lost the property due to steep increases in my property tax but I can afford to pay them at this time,” Jodell Sanders, the previous owner, stated. “The loss of my home would present a hardship to me which is why I am requesting the County Board approve this repurchase request.”

After some discussion the board approved Sanders’ request.

The board then moved on to some personnel matters. Jessica Blair was granted an unpaid leave of absence request from her current position as senior technical clerk. She then was appointed to be the auditor chief deputy and accountant, to replace Darren Esser, who had been appointed by the board to be the county auditor/treasurer/coordinator upon the retirement of John Thompson from the position in July.

Should Esser not be elected to his current position in the 2022 election, he would have the right of reinstatement to his previous position as auditor chief deputy and accountant. Blair would then have the right to be reinstated to her previous position as senior technical clerk.

The board also:

Approved the request of Lexi Scholten, the central services director, to attend a one-day workers compensation workshop in Mankato.

Gave approval to the request of Christopher Beaver, a deputy sheriff, to attend a two-day open source investigation for anti-trafficking operations which will be held in Minneapolis.

Approved the request of Brian Schaper to participate in a five-day online AutoDesk Auto CAD 2019 training, a five-day online AutoDesk Civil 3D 2019 training, and a two-day Excel 2019 training in Mankato.