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St. Casimir’s set to get relief aid

Commissioners make $30,000 available for private school in Wells

By Kevin Mertens - Staff Writer | Oct 25, 2020

Commissioner Tom Warmka accepts a WWII memorial plaque from creator/designer Ross Pollard.

The Faribault County Commissioners are still busy allocating funds from the CARES Act.

They had previously distributed funds to three schools located in Faribault County. Those were Blue Earth Area, United South Central and Genesis Classical Academy.

At their meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 20, they heard from St. Casimir’s School in Wells.

St. Casimir’s had been without a principal when the prior meetings with school officials were held. In fact it was not until the school year began that Diane Edwards was hired to be the principal at St. Casimir’s.

“I want to thank you for your time,” Edwards told the commissioners. “My background has been in public education. This is my first job in private education.”

The commissioners inquired about the school’s needs.

“We are currently operating with in-person learning,” Edwards told the board. “We are looking to improve our technology in case we have to go to virtual learning. We would also like to be able to add some hand sanitizing stations and a secured entry system to control the traffic flow into our school.”

She told the commissioners the school had been able to purchase computers.

“We had access to some grant money to help us with acquiring the computers,” Edwards said. “We are still in the process of getting them set up.”

Edwards was asked what the current enrollment numbers were at the school.

“We currently have 26 students in grades K-6, nine in preschool and a number of kids in after-school care,” Edwards responded.

The board passed a motion making up to $30,000 available to the school.

Action was also taken by the commissioners to award the sale of refunded jail bonds to Northland Securities. Bids were solicited through noon of Monday, Oct. 19. A total of six bids were received for the resale of the bonds.

Arcelia Detert of PFM Financial Advisors, LLC attended the meeting virtually and informed the board the new interest rate would be .67 percent.

“The net savings to the county will be about $301,000 or about $40,000 per year,” Detert explained. “The maturity date for the bonds is 2028.”

Planning and Zoning administrator Loria Rebuffoni also attended the meeting virtually to update the board on the junkyard ordinance.

“After our last Planning Commission meeting we are wondering if the better way to address the situation would be through a nuisance ordinance,” Rebuffoni commented. “Approaching things in that manner would allow you to abate, assess and issue misdemeanors.”

She referred to an ordinance which Renville County is using as an example to follow.

The commissioners asked Rebuffoni to send them copies of the Renville County ordinance so they could study and review it.

“An ordinance like that would not pertain to salvage yards which are under state authority,” Rebuffoni explained.

There were some concerns raised by the commissioners.

“Laws limit you. I do not want to infringe on peoples’ rights,” commissioner Tom Loveall stated. “I do understand we need order. We cannot have chaos.”

Commissioner Greg Young also offered his thoughts.

“Understand, this is a process,” he said. “We are not trying to persecute people. We are looking at the concept.”

Rebuffoni had a reminder for the board members.

“The public has to be part of this process,” she said. “All counties struggle with this issue.”

Randall Anderson of the Faribault County Historical Society was on hand at the meeting to present the commissioners with a plaque to honor those from Faribault County who fought in WWII.

Ross Pollard, a local artist who designed and created the plaque was also on hand for the presentation.

“The plaque measures 18 inches by 12 inches and weighs approximately 12 pounds,” Pollard mentioned. “It is made of solid bronze and brass.”

Chairman Tom Warmka thanked the pair for the plaque.

“I know the families of the people listed on this plaque will appreciate this,” Warmka commented.

In other business:

• Public Works director Mark Daly gave a construction update with almost all county work being completed.

• A motion was approved designating First Bank Blue Earth, Wells Fargo, Frost State Bank and the State Bank of Easton as depositories of funds for Faribault County for a period of one year, ending Oct. 20, 2021.

• The commissioners passed a motion setting the 2020 Truth in Taxation meeting for Tuesday, Dec. 1, at 6 p.m. The meeting will be held at the courthouse and via telephone/ video conference.

• The starting time for the regular board meeting on Dec. 1, was moved from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.