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County Board OKs $4 million bond

Also votes to replace several bridges; open the courthouse door

By Kevin Mertens - Staff Writer | Mar 21, 2021

The Faribault County Board of Commissioners gave their final approval to a capital improvement plan and authorized the issuance of $4 million in bonded debt. The vote came at their regular meeting on March 16, following a public hearing on the matter.

“Discussion on this project dates back to 2019 and continued through 2020,” county treasurer/auditor Darren Esser stated during the hearing. “Work on the courthouse heating, ventilation and air conditioning along with replacement of storm windows and roof repairs on both the annex building and the public works building will use up the majority of the funds.”

No members of the public attended the meeting and nobody called in to the hearing to offer any input.

However, commissioner Greg Young did have a question.

“Is there a penalty if we do not use all of the funds?” Young inquired.

Esser did not think it would be an issue.

“I am pretty sure we will be wishing we had more funds,” Esser replied.

The idea of seeking other funding was also discussed.

“We should see if we are able to qualify for any grant money through the Historical Society,” board member Bill Groskreutz mentioned. “I believe Randall Anderson would be the person to contact.”

Esser also reminded board members the plan is flexible and can be modified if necessary.

The board also revisited the subject of opening the front entrance of the courthouse.

“I had at least three people bring up the subject when I attended township annual meetings last week,” commissioner Bruce Anderson said.

A concern was raised regarding keeping the steps free of ice and snow, but ultimately the board set Tuesday, April 6, as the day the east entrance would reopen. The entrance will remain open unless a snow or ice event makes the steps unsafe, at which point the entrance would temporarily close.

Public works director Mark Daly attended the meeting and had five bids for the commissioners to consider.

“ICON Constructors of Mabel had the low bid for the three federal aid bridge projects,” Daly explained. “The bid came in at $2,005,521 which is lower than the $2,026,000 which was budgeted.”

The bid was approved and the commissioners moved on to consider another bid for bridge replacement.

“This bridge is located in Pilot Grove Township and Midwest Contracting was the lower bidder at $324,365,” Daly said. “This bid also came in below the budgeted amount of $400,000.”

The board also approved bids for the striping of the roads in the amount of $88,225, seal coating for $317,800 and crack sealing for $29,896.

“The only bid to go over the budgeted amount was for the seal coating,” Daly commented. “The price per ton went up 8.6 percent compared to last year but is still 7.7 percent less than in 2019.”

Board members also took action to set the crop damage rates for 2021. The rate was set at $710 per acre for corn and $515 per acre for soybeans.

The board also:

• Voted to appoint Chris Ziegler to a five-year term on the Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA). His term will expire on Dec. 31, 2025.

• Approved accepting the 2020 Emergency Management Performance Grant in the amount of $19,016 for the term of April 1, 2020 to April 30, 2021.

• Passed a resolution to sell two parcels located in Winnebago to the city for the purpose of blight removal. The price is $1 for each property plus any associated fees involved in the transaction.

• Approved a resolution allowing the repurchase of tax forfeited property located in Winnebago to Lori Ann Schenk.

• Set 9 a.m. on April 8, to do a virtual tour of tax-forfeited property located in the county. Approximately 60 properties are to be viewed. The viewing is part of the process which is necessary before a forfeited property can be offered to a city or township for sale.

• Voted to approve the request of Brittney Gehrking of the Sheriff’s Department to attend a five-day Law Enforcement K-9 Seminar in Independence, Iowa.

• Voted to approve the requests of Mitch Murphey, Jason Casias, Tara Bonin and Missy Sonnek of the Sheriff’s Department to participate in a one-day online corrections training for jail staff.