County considers electric vehicles

FAIRMONT– The Martin County Board of Commissioners spent the beginning of its meeting on Tuesday in closed session. Once the meeting opened, Commissioner Jaime Bleess made a motion to work with County Attorney Taylor McGowan to draft and submit a letter to the city of Fairmont voicing dissatisfaction on the city council’s decision on Oct. 23 regarding a re-zone request from the county. Bleess said he would like the letter delivered before the Nov. 13 Fairmont City Council meeting. Also included in the motion was a desire for the board to hold a work session to discuss possible properties for a new public safety center on Tuesday, Nov. 14. The motion unanimously passed.

During the regular meeting, the board heard from County Engineer, Kevin Peyman, who shared details about a partnership for a Carbon Reduction Program (CRP) project to purchase electric vehicles. The partnership is between Cottonwood, Brown, Jackson, Martin, Nobles and Rock counties.

“It’s a federal grant with an allotment for each district to spend around the state and it’s kind of specific on the projects they want. It’s for projects that will reduce carbon emissions,” said Peyman.

He said one of the districts up north started looking at an electric vehicle for each county and this district has copied that model as a way to spend the money.

Peyman explained that the grant was split into two and Cottonwood County took the lead on half and will purchase six electric vehicles, one for each county using the grant money and each county will be billed its local portion.

“They’re estimating the truck cost will be a little over $76,000 for each county. The CRP grant will be about 80 percent so that will make the local cot to each county about $15,000,” Peyman said.

The desire to have the truck used by the highway department was expressed by Peyman but he said he’s okay with other uses, too.

“It would just be hard to not get a vehicle for $15,000 when we have the opportunity,” Peyman said.

Bleess asked how and where the vehicle will be charged and how much it will cost to set that up.

Peyman said a “slow charge” regular outlet will be included. He said in theory they will charge the vehicle every night and a question of where to keep the vehicle still remains.

He acknowledged that there are some limitations to it, but again reiterated that the grant helps with the cost, as opposed to if the county were purchasing one on its own. Peyman also said the county won’t be billed until after the truck is ordered and delivered, which could be a year yet.

Commissioner Elliot Belgard made a motion to go ahead with the partnership and said he would like to see the electric vehicle stay in the highway department. The motion passed.

In other business at Tuesday’s meeting, the board:

— Heard a presentation from Tim Murray, Executive Director of Trinity Sober Homes, about Bravo Zulu House, an all-military sober home the will be opening in Martin County.

— Approved the hire of Austin Meyerdirk as a full-time building maintenance technician.

— Approved the resignation of Bryant Armitage, full-time correctional officer and Miranda Parrot, part-time correctional officer.

— Approved the hire of Klay Brown as a part-time correctional deputy in the Martin County Sheriff’s Office.

— Approved to have a video vendor come in and assess the possibility of installing TV monitors in the jury room and courthouse.

–Approved a bid in the amount of $10,550 from Matt’s Tile Installation LLC for new carpet in the 117 N. Main office building.

— Approved a bid in the amount of $9,874 from Reichel Insulation for installation of insulation in the courthouse attic.

— Approved a bid in the amount of $17,499 from Johnson Controls for replacement of fire alarm panels and detectors at the Human Resources Building.

— Received an unmodified, clean audit from Amy Thomas, Audit Director of Minnesota OSA (Office of the State Auditor).

— Heard from Planning and Zoning Director, Pam Flitter, regarding the proposed zoning amendments related to mineral extraction and findings on zoning. A public hearing on the matter was held on Sept. 26 and on Tuesday the board tabled it.

— Approved the resignation of Planning and Zoning Technician, Wendy Chirpich.


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