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County approves CUP for a hog farm

Board also meets the new county attorney who starts on June 25

By Kevin Mertens - Staff Writer | Jun 21, 2021

Three county commissioners were sworn in by county auditor/treasurer Darren Esser to serve as members of the Board of Equalization last week. Left to right are commissioner Tom Loveall, commissioner Bruce Anderson, Esser, and commissioner John Roper. The board met after the regular County Board meeting.

The Faribault County Board of Commissioners were introduced to the newly hired County Attorney at their meeting on June 15.

Outgoing County Attorney Kathryn Karjala, who resigned her position effective July 2, introduced Cameron Davis to the board members.

Karjala informed the commissioners Davis would be sworn in on June 25 in the District Courtroom located in the courthouse.

Planning and Zoning administrator Loria Rebuffoni attended the meeting to present two Conditional Use Permits (CUP) to the board for their approval.

The first permit was for Rmgarry Properties LLC to store and process asphalt and concrete materials in Section eight of Jo Daviess Township. It was approved.

Next, the commissioners considered a CUP for a hog farm to be constructed in Rome Township, Section 33 by Micah Twedt.

Twedt had secured a CUP for a different hog facility last year but had abandoned that plan.

“The CUP is necessary because the feedlot would be for more than 1,000 animal units,” Rebuffoni explained. “The Planning Commission recommends approval of the permit with the conditions listed in the document.”

There was not much discussion, however commissioner Bruce Anderson had one question for Rebuffoni and Twedt.

“I just want to clarify,” Anderson stated. “Have all the criteria been met for this permit?”

Rebuffoni and Twedt answered in the affirmative and the CUP was granted by a unanimous vote.

The board also revisited the signing of a Sentence to Serve contract, which they had tabled at their previous meeting on June 1.

The commissioners made it clear they did not doubt the merits of the program.

“My goal was never to get rid of the program,” commissioner Tom Loveall said. “I will vote in favor of the contract. The cost-shifting of more of the expense away from the state and to the county is what bothers me.”

The cost of the program used to be split 50-50 between the state and the participating counties but the state now only picks up 25 percent of the tab leaving the county to cover the other 75 percent of the program’s cost.

“The state is flush with money,” Loveall commented. “This would be a perfect opportunity for them to fix this.”

A unanimous vote approved the contract.

Public Works director Mark Daly attended the meeting and told the commissioners not much had changed since the prior meeting.

“The reclamation project on County State Aid Highway 1 has been bumped up and will now begin on June 28, which is three weeks earlier than originally scheduled,” Daly said.

In other highway business, board member Bill Groskreutz said he had contacted the district engineer from the Minnesota Highway Department regarding work to be done on Highway 22.

“Right now, Highway 22 from Wells to County Road 16 is scheduled to be worked on in 2029,” Groskreutz remarked. “There is no date scheduled for work on the same highway from CR 16 to the state line.”

Chief deputy Scott Adams of the Sheriff’s Department attended the meeting to present the commissioners with a resolution to accept $2,189 in grant money from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

“We will use these funds for maintenance of watercraft and ice rescue equipment,” Adams explained.

The board also:

• Granted the request of Geographic Information Systems coordinator Brandi Douglas to attend a virtual user conference to continue training using the software associated with her job.

• Approved the request of Emergency Management director Lisa Frommie to attend the Association of Minnesota Emergency Managers Conference.