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Officials decline to ratify repairs

September 19, 2012
Jodelle Greiner - Staff Writer , Fairmont Sentinel

BLUE EARTH - The early harvest is rushing the repair of a culvert on a Faribault County ditch, setting off a debate at the county commission meeting Tuesday.

The culvert won't hold the weight of the heavy farm equipment that will be rolling across it during harvest, said John Meyer, resource conservation technician with Faribault County Soil and Water.

Cost to repair the pipe and lengthen the ditch is less than $6,600, Meyer said.

The ditch is in the jurisdiction of Commissioner John Roper, who wanted to exercise his discretionary right to authorize repairs. If repairs are less than $15,000, a commissioner can authorize them without seeking full board approval.

The rest of the board saw some sticking points:?The proposed contractor has outstanding work left undone, and the ditch project should have gone through the drainage session, not the board of commissioners.

Meyer pointed out time is of the essence since soybeans will be ready to be harvested in about a week.

Roper said he has been in contact with the landowner, Roger Nimz, and some work has been done, including removing trees, car frames and garbage from the area.

Roper invoked his power to approve the project since it is under $15,000, but a motion to repair and clean up County Road 26 did not pass. Commissioner Greg Young was the only one to vote yes.

In other business Tuesday, Mark Bauman of Prairieland in Truman presented the recycling facility's 2013 budget and requested $12,800 in funding, of which $5,248 is Faribault County's portion. The board approved the request.

Bauman also presented Prairieland's bills.

"Nice to see the utility bill about half of what it used to be," Groskreutz said.

"[Refuse-derived fuel] is a cheaper process than the compost process," added Commissioner Tom Loveall, referring to Prairieland's decision to switch the focus of its operations.

Moving to another topic, Michele Stindtman, director of Soil and Water, asked the board to appoint James Meyer and Maureen Middlestat to the planning commission. In an ongoing debate, the board again discussed whether the planning commission and board of adjustments should be consolidated and the number of members cut.

"I thought we were going to economize and shave it down," Warmka said.

Cutting the numbers from the planned 10 to 5 would be "scary," Stindtman said. When the boards meet, there must be a quorum, and she has a difficult time now getting enough people. If the combined group was drastically cut, it would be nearly impossible.

The board did approve Meyer and Middlestat's appointments.



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