Driving County Roads

An on line journal sharing my views. The content reflects my background as a rural person employed in agriculture and as a retired elected official of local government.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

New Lafayette Maintenance Building

It was a unique setting to hold the October 10, 2006 regular meeting of the Nicollet County Board of Commissioners. As Board Chair, Commissioner Jack Kolars commented, "this is the first time we have held a meeting sitting between a John Deere tractor and a county truck used to plow snow." Immediately after calling the meeting to order, Chair Kolars called on County Public Works Director, Mike Wagner to make a few comments about the new Lafayette Maintenance Building.

"This is a general maintenance and mechanic shop. Since the city of Lafayette is the hub of ambulance and fire service for this part of the county, it is important to have snow removal equipment available here. When the sheriff needs help or there is a fire, and in the winter during emergency situations, the need for a snow plow is important." Wagner went on to explain that the old building was built in 1939 at a cost of around $5632. This new building has been in the planning for a number of years and was held up two construction seasons when soil borings found contamination and procedures had to be put in place to meet the requirements of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

The general contractor was Farasyn Construction of New Ulm and the cost of the new 50 x 120 foot building was $369,000. Steve Faraysin complemented Wagner and maintenance supervisor Steve Campbell for the excellent planning done in preparation for the building project. It paid off as the project went smoothly and was on budget. Mayor Steve Langhoff welcomed everyone to the city and said that the fire and rescue services really count on the county for access. "We have a good working relationship with the county," he said. The old building will come down in a few weeks and the county crew will do most of the work.

At this point the regular meeting of the board commenced. One of the agenda items was a presentation by Mary Block, Social Service Supervisor and Krystyna Szelazek, Social Services Child Care Licenser. An overview of the child care licensing program was presented. It was noted that currently there are 97 licensed family, faith based and employer based day care homes. These homes serve 1107 children. A request was made for a commissioner to make a presentation on October 26 at a Child Care Provider event. Commissioner Paul Engel volunteered to attend. Also a proclamation declaring October 22-28th as Family Child Care Provider Week was passed.

Public Works Director Mike Wagner presented the board with a "Put the Brakes on Fatalities Day" proclamation. October 10 has been declared a special day nationwide to put emphasis on driver and road safety. Statistics show that rural roads are more dangerous with more deaths resulting. Nicollet County has been proactive in road safety by following a program of road striping, widening shoulders and encouraging safe mailboxes.

The county board, functioning as the ditch authority passed a motion to allow the county auditor to accept the engineers plans and advertise for bids for the improvement of county ditch 29. Included in this project will be a water quality monitoring station at the outlet of the ditch. Kevin Kuehner of the Brown, Nicollet, Cottonwood Water Quality Board stated that the monitoring will allow for two outcomes. First, this project will allow the use of real data to compare with modeled data. Secondly, the effectiveness of the woodchip bio reactors and the controlled drainage practices in place in this watershed can be monitored.
Presently, drainage maps and plans are in auditor’s and in the public works offices. They have scanned the maps and put them in digital format. In the future these maps may be placed on a website to allow for use by many different parties. The aerials also show where tile lines are located.

The meeting adjourned at around 3:00 p.m. end


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