County gets funding for bridge work
Some of the opening discussion during the Faribault County Commissioners meeting last Tuesday centered on whether Faribault County would be required to pay back money the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) mistakingly paid to the county from January 2014 to May 2019.
“At the Association of Minnesota Counties (AMC) Legislative Conference, both Governor Walz and Senator Rosen expressed their thoughts the counties will not be held responsible for the mistakes of DHS,” commissioner John Roper said.
And, while the commissioners agreed with that assessment, board chairman Tom Warmka offered the following thought.
“When the dust settles and the smoke clears, it will still be the taxpayers who end up paying the bill,” Warmka stated.
Public Works director Mark Daly was in attendance and cheerfully told the board it was ‘good news’ Tuesday.
“We have received word from the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) regarding two bridges in the county,” Daly said. “Bridge 9978, located on County Road 109, and bridge 22503, which is on County State Aid Highway (CSAH) 9, have both been selected for federal funding support and the county may be eligible for additional state bridge bonding.”
The amount of dollars allotted for the two bridges is approximately $748,400 and will be available on Oct. 1, 2023, according to Daly.
“We plan on beginning construction on the bridges in 2021,” Daly commented. “Bridge 22503 is currently being inspected weekly because of severe deterioration to the pilings.”
Daly also had an update on a bridge in Barber Township.
“Bridge L6345, located on 160th Street, has been determined to be eligible for 100 percent Town/Bridge funds,” Daly explained. “It will be replaced with a reinforced concrete pipe during the County Ditch 3 project, and because it is under 10 feet, it will no longer be classified as a bridge. We currently have 256 bridges in the county.”
Daly then shifted from talking about bridges to discussing a highway project.
“We are ready to seek bids for full depth reclamation/overlay of CSAH 23 from the county line south of Bricelyn, going north to CSAH 2,” Daly informed the board. “The project includes replacing a wood box culvert. It is estimated the project will cost $1,525,450.”
The board approved Daly’s request to advertise for bids.
Daly informed the board road postings would begin on Friday, March 6, and work on Interstate 90 was scheduled to be underway in April.
Also at the meeting was Jeremy Monahan, the transit director for the Faribault-Martin County Transit Board.
“We have two new transit buses which are being delivered in the near future and payment is due within 30 days of delivery,” Monahan explained. “Our cash flow will not be able to sustain a payment of that amount so we are approaching each county for the up-front funds with 80 percent of the money being returned.”
Monahan said Faribault County’s share will be $62,997.16 and $50,397.73 will be reimbursed, for a net cost of $12,599.43 to the county.
“This amount (the net cost) was already budgeted,” Monahan commented. “The reimbursed funds come from MnDOT and I am hoping it will take no longer than four of five weeks to receive the money from MnDOT once we turn in the paper work.”
The board approved Monahan’s request.
Planning and Zoning administrator Loria Rebuffoni also attended the meeting to update the board on the annual year-end review performed by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA).
“The MPCA reviewed our feedlot program and the county received a 100 percent score based on non-inspection minimum requirements,” Rebuffoni said. “The county also fulfilled the required inspection rate of eight percent by conducting 55 inspections, for a rate of 15 percent.”
She also informed the board the number of feedlots in the county has decreased from 362 to 293.
“We have been working hard to update our records,” Rebuffoni explained. “Much of the decrease in the number of feedlots is from producers not having animals in their lots for years and making the decision they will not be bringing animals back into those facilities.”
Moving on to personnel matters, Central Services director Lexi Scholten told the board interviews for the vacant maintenance position at the Winnebago Public Works location had been completed.
“After conducting the interviews, the position was offered to, and accepted by, Dean Jahnke,” Scholten said.
The board unanimously approved the hiring of Jahnke.
In other business:
The board approved the request of Mark Lacher of the Sheriff’s Department to attend a Fifth District Jail Administrator meeting in New Ulm.
Barbara Shimmon, an accountant for the county, received approval to attend a three-day accountants conference in Bemidji.
Central Services director Scholten’s request to attend a two-day Employee Investigation Training Conference was approved.
The request of Drainage Manager Merissa Lore to attend a Women Caring for the Land meeting in Fairmont was approved. Lore will be one of three presenters at the meeting.
The board voted to approve the payment of the 2020 Faribault County Fair allocation in the amount of $10,000.