County Board gets update from MnDOT
The Faribault County Commissioners met face-to-face for the first time in four months when they held their regular meeting on July 21 at the courthouse. Only the five commissioners, auditor/treasurer Darren Esser and clerk Clara Vereide were present in the board room and they all wore masks while conducting the board meeting in person and by Zoom.
Peter Harff and Sam Parker of the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) gave a presentation via computer on upcoming projects scheduled to take place in the county.
“We have the STIP (State Transportation Improvement Programs) which covers projects for the next four years,” Harff explained. “We also have the CHIP which is the Capital Highway Investment Program, which covers projects five to 10 years into the future. We update these programs annually.”
Board chairperson Tom Warmka wanted to know when Interstate 90 east of Blue Earth was scheduled to be redone.
“I-90, from Blue Earth to the Wells exit, is set for 2025,” Harff replied.
Warmka was concerned the highway would not last that long.
“We will do necessary maintenance work on it until then,” Harff said. “Some roads hold up better than expected and some deteriorate sooner than expected so the schedules do sometimes change.”
The board also learned two different segments of U.S. Highway 169 are scheduled for work in 2022.
“Winnebago to Vernon Center will have the concrete joints repaired and then have a thin layer of bituminous applied to seal up the road,” Parker stated. “The highway from Blue Earth to Elmore will be reconstructed.”
Parker told the board Minnesota State Highway 22 from Wells to Mapleton is scheduled for work beginning in 2023.
Commissioner Bill Groskreutz asked whether a round about was being planned for the intersection of Highway 22, Highway 109 and County Road 29.
“We are not planning a round about at this present time,” Parker replied.
Harff mentioned the FAST (Fixing America’s Surface Transportation) Act is set to expire.
“It is time for a new federal transportation funding bill,” Harff commented. “There is a possibility it will just be renewed through a continuing resolution.”
He also shared with the board the implications COVID-19 has had in regards to the revenue stream of MnDOT.
“Our revenue is down 30 percent, or $400,000 due to COVID,” Harff explained. “When things were shut down, people did not travel so we lost gas tax revenue and vehicle tax money. I do not think next year’s scheduled projects will be affected.”
Regarding the current I-90 project, Harff reported work is progressing and the scheduled completion date is Oct. 17.
Public Works director Mark Daly continued the discussion on roads while giving an update on county road projects.
“The milling work is done in Winnebago and Blue Earth,” Daly said. “The paving is scheduled to start today in Winnebago.”
Daly also had an update on the Leland Parkway Project.
“Work has slowed down,” he reported. “Phase 3 of the project is set to begin on Aug. 10 and is expected to last eight weeks.”
The board scheduled a special meeting on July 30, at 11 a.m. to review the 2021-2025 five-year road and bridges plan.
The board also discussed purchasing a 24-inch mill attachment from Yeager Implement for the Bobcat loader owned by the county.
“We have rented it three or four times and it just makes sense to buy it,” Daly explained. “Yeagers is applying the amount of money we spent renting it to the purchase price.”
The board approved the purchase in the amount of $9,350.
GIS (Geographic Information System) coordinator Brandee Douglas also checked into the meeting and informed the commissioners of an update to the county’s website.
“People can now click on a tab for a zoning permit viewer,” Douglas explained. “This will be useful for people transferring property or applying for building permits. Realtors will also use it to check if septic systems are up-to-date before sales of property are made. We will also be updating the county drainage viewer map in the near future. These are all public apps so anyone in the general public can access them.”
The County Board also:
Passed a motion authorizing the city of Elmore to demolish the buildings located on tax forfeited parcels 25.032.0840 and 25.032.0910 once they have made proper notice to any possible occupants and to return the properties to the city.
Voted to authorize the city of Fairmont Economic Development Authority coordinator, Linsey Preuss, to apply for the Minnesota Housing Emergency Grant on behalf of Faribault/ Martin County Human Services.