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County Board awards sale of bonds

Also receives update on progress of junkyard/nuisance ordinance

By Kevin Mertens - Staff Writer | Apr 25, 2021

Faribault County Commissioners Greg Young, left, and Bill Groskreutz, right, discuss various issues at the County Board meeting on April 20.

The Faribault County Commissioners completed the next step in the process of securing funds for work to be done on the County Courthouse and other county buildings.

During their meeting on Tuesday, April 20, the board approved a resolution awarding the sale of the 2021A $4 million General Obligation Capital Improvement Plan bonds to Northland Securities, Inc.

They received some good news regarding the sale of the bonds.

“The interest rate came in a little lower than we had anticipated,” county auditor/treasurer Darren Esser said. “The lower rate will save us about $100,000 over the life of the 20-year bond.”

Commissioner Greg Young inquired about the total debt service of the bond.

“The total cost over the life of the bond will be $4,884,296,” Esser replied.

There were four firms who submitted bids for the bonds.

“Northland had the lowest true interest rate at 1.6041 percent,” Esser commented. “The highest interest rate was 1.7419 on one of the other bids.”

The board also took action to lower the flags in the county to half-staff in honor of former Vice-President Walter Mondale, who died on Monday, April 19. Mondale was a former resident of Elmore.

The board then passed a resolution declaring April Child Abuse Prevention Month and a proclamation stating April 18-24 is Crime Victim’s Rights Week.

Barb Ziegler, victim/witness coordinator for Faribault County, attended the meeting virtually to share some information with the commissioners.

“I joined the county attorney’s victim program one year ago, and since then I have been consistently serving over 100 victims per quarter providing information and referral, personal advocacy, emotional support, criminal justice assistance and assistance with the Minnesota Crime Victims Reparations program,” Ziegler explained.

During the last three quarters beginning in July of 2020, Ziegler said she has averaged serving 152 victims per quarter.

“To break it down further, 45 percent of the victims were female, 35 percent were male, 11 percent of the victims were between the ages of 0 and 11 years and 64 percent of those victims were 18 years old or older,” Ziegler said. “The top three crime types include domestic violence, other (which includes theft, stolen property, disorderly conduct and damage to property) and adult physical assault.”

Moving on to other business, the commissioners received an update from Planning and Zoning administrator Loria Rebuffoni.

“As you know we have been struggling with how to proceed with either a junkyard or nuisance ordinance,” Rebuffoni stated. “We are not alone in this as many other counties are facing similar problems in dealing with these issues.”

Commissioner Bill Groskreutz agreed.

“The problem is there is a law but there is no teeth in it,” he said.

Rebuffoni went on to talk about a couple of different options.

“The nuisance ordinance would allow for abatement of property and would put a little more teeth into what we are able to do,” Rebuffoni explained. “There is also a movement underway, which would require a change in State statute, to allow for an Administrative Penalty Order (APO). An APO would allow for a monetary penalty and may also include requirements for the defendant/respondent to perform or refrain from certain actions. We cannot do that at this time.”

The County Board also:

• Approved the hiring of Terri Van Reese as a part-time clerk/typist in the county recorder’s office.

• Filled a vacancy for seasonal mowing by hiring Gary Engler for the 2021 season.

• Gave approval for assessor Gertrude Paschke, Lori Mehrhof, and Steve Robbins to participate in virtual courses presented by the Minnesota Association of Assessing Officers.

• Voted to approve Brady Rauenhorst to attend various classes as part of the Appraisal Institute program.