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County close to unveiling new website

By Staff | Oct 20, 2019

After he gave his update on county road projects, county engineer Mark Daly, left, was asked several questions by the commissioners.

There will soon be a new website unveiled for Faribault County, and the county commissioners were able to see a preview of the new site during last week’s County Board meeting.

The new website update was presented by Central Services director Lexi Scholten and senior tech clerk Clara Vereide. The two have been working with a website development company named Civics Plus for some time.

“We will be having training with staff on Oct. 23,” Vereide said. “Then we will have the website go live on Nov. 5.”

The commissioners were impressed with most of the new website, but did have some ideas for adding or changing different things on the new site.

“I really want to have a place for a “contact us” button that can be easily found,” commissioner Tom Loveall stated. “Some older folks will get frustrated trying to find information and will just want to contact someone.”

The streets out at the West Industrial Park, which are officially county roads, were recently given a fresh paving application. County engineer Mark Daly reported that all the county highway projects are either completed or are close.

The new site was much better than the current one, commissioners commented.

Vereide said there will be links to each of the county’s towns on the website, and commissioners had suggestions for other links to add, including the three school districts in the county.

Vereide explained that the department heads will all be responsible for updating their own information on the website once it goes live, but she and Scholten will be the over all managers of the new site.

In other business, the County Board members:

Spent some time discussing a request from a citizen in Elmore to forgive a Small Cities Loan from the county on her home.

The house is going to be sold for less money than what the loan is for, Junice Huston’s daughter wrote in a letter. Her mother has moved to a nursing home and the house is going to be sold.

The balance on the loan is approximately $6,900, but the house will be sold for less than that amount. The commissioners discussed that the taxable valuation on the house is around $20,000, but agreed it could be worth less than that amount.

A first motion to forgive the loan failed to pass.

After much discussion, the commissioners eventually passed a second motion to have whatever balance there is from the sale, after deducting sale expenses, be applied to the loan balance and the rest then be forgiven.

Voted to end their use of software for creating property tax notices and computer aided mass appraisal program in 2023. That will give the county three years to get set up with a new computer program to do the work.

“We can get out of the contract now with no penalty, and it will be effective in three years,” county assessor Gertrude Paschke told the board. “It will take us 18 months to two years to get all set with a new provider.”

The program is what generates the county tax statements, and keeps track of all the properties and their values in the county.

No major upgrade to the program has been made in some time, although the company had said there would be some.

Heard an update from Public Works director Mark Daly on several highway projects going on around the county.

The projects included completion of work on the railroad crossing in Huntley, the County Road 5 bridge, County Road 12, the county roads in the Blue Earth West Industrial Park and County Road 15 in Delavan, which should be completed in five days from last Tuesday.

Some work on these projects still needs to be done, Daly said, but all are getting near to completion.

The commissioners also had some questions for Daly.

One question had to do with whether the county’s roads had suffered damage by being detours for the I-90 project. Daly said he had not detected any damage.

Another question had to do with large potholes on County Road 9, and Daly responded he would check on the condition. Another question was about a dip in the road on County Road 12 out of Winnebago, and the county engineer said it was due to some settling in the sand base.

A final comment was about the house being removed at a county park. Daly said he will check to see if it has been done or not.

Discussed whether their 2020 budget and levy setting hearing will be done at their first or second meeting in December. In either case, the budget discussion and setting of the levy has to be done after 6 p.m.