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County projects underway

Board gets updates on bridges, highways

By Kevin Mertens - Staff Writer | Aug 8, 2021

With the old bridge removed, workers were busy with a pile driver installing the new bridge supports on the County Road 109 bridge east of Blue Earth.

People who regularly travel between Blue Earth and Fairmont on County State Aid Highway (CSAH) 16 will probably be pleased with Public Works director Mark Daly’s announcement at the Aug. 3 Faribault County Commissioners meeting.

“The milling and overlay project began today at the west county line,” Daly informed the commissioners. “They are hoping to be able to do about two miles per day.”

Commissioner Greg Young inquired how the shoulders of the highway would be finished.

“The highway will actually have paved shoulders which will be four feet wide,” Daly responded. “I can also report the paving on CSAH 1 began today.”

Daly also told the board members the deck has been poured on the bridge on CSAH 21 and should be ready to drive on at the end of the week.

“The other bridge currently being worked on is the one on CSAH 109,” Daly said. “The bridge removal is complete and the construction crew began driving the piles in today.”

Daly also presented fuel bids from two companies.

“The bid from Freeborn County Co-op was $224,250 and the bid from Crystal Valley Co-op was $228,026 and will cover our fuel needs until next August,” Daly commented. “I recommend we accept the bid from Freeborn County Co-op which is over $25,000 under what we had budgeted.”

The board members approved the bid from Freeborn County Co-op.

Daly also shared money would be coming to the cities in the county as a result of the state legislature funding the Small Cities Assistance Account through the omnibus transportation bill.

“There is $18 million provided for the fund state-wide,” Daly said. “It is the largest amount dedicated to the grant since its inception.”

According to the League of Minnesota Cities website, the Small Cities Assistance Account is a program established in 2015 to provide funding for construction and maintenance of roadways in cities with a population less than 5,000.

According to a list provided by the League of Minnesota Cities, Blue Earth will receive $57,509, which is the largest amount of funds received by any city in Faribault County. Walters is slated to receive the smallest amount of any city in the county, $11,609.

The amount of money each city in the county is to receive can be found on the League of Minnesota Cities website at www.lmc.org.

Central Services director Lexi Scholten was at the meeting to get the approval of the hiring of two new county employees.

“One person applied for the position of assistant county attorney,” Scholten commented. “He is Brent Peterson and he is currently the law clerk for judge Troy Timmerman. County Attorney Cameron Davis and I conducted the interview.”

The commissioners asked Davis, who was in attendance, what his thoughts were on Peterson.

“He is very efficient and proficient in his work,” Davis replied. “He is well organized and will be a good fit. He begins Aug. 16.”

The board members approved the hiring of Peterson.

“The other position we filled is the Central Services assistant,” Scholten said. “We had 13 applicants and Sarah Van Moer was our choice for the job.”

The commissioners voted to approve the hiring of Van Moer.

When asked how many positions remain open in the county, Scholten responded, “We have two positions open at this time. One is for a part-time jailor/dispatcher in the Sheriff’s Department and the other is for a secretary in the County Recorder’s office, which is where Van Moer was previously employed.”

The commissioners closed the meeting to the public for a short time to consult with their lawyer on a case.

A former employee of Praireland Solid Waste Management has filed a lawsuit against the company and Martin and Faribault counties, the owners of the facility.

Upon returning to an open session, Esser said the commissioners had received an update on the case from their attorney.

Earlier in the meeting, chairman John Roper reported he had attended a board meeting of Renewable Minnesota Energy.

“There is a concern the smaller electric companies are being forced out by larger ones,” Roper explained. “There is also concern some of the earliest windmills will be abandoned with nothing done to clean up the sites.”

The board also:

• Set Tuesday, Aug. 31, to hold a work session regarding how to allocate the $2,651,935 the county is to receive through the American Rescue Plan. The county has several years to spend the $2.65 million in grant funds.

• Voted to grant a temporary intoxicating liquor license for the Fraternal Order of Eagles Aerie 4486 at a cost of $30. The license is for an event to be held at the City of Blue Earth Municipal Airport on Sept. 12.

• Discussed and approved changing the time of the Drainage Authority meetings to 1 p.m. on the first and third Tuesdays of the month. A time for public comment will be scheduled during the first meeting of the month, but not during the second.

• Voted to approve the request of Amy Wachlin of the license bureau to attend the MDRA (Minnesota Deputy Registrar’s Association) State meeting.