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.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

News From the County Board of Commissioners

Here are several tidbits of information which came to the attention of the board of commissioners during the week of Feb. 12, 2007.

· It has been five or six years since the county installed rural address signs. It is estimated that we have around 2,800 to 3,000 address signs in the rural area. We have found that we need to make a small change in our 911 Sign ordinance. The change will make it clear that the land owner is responsible for the cost of replacing missing and/or damaged signs. Tom Kennedy, our public works employee who deals with this indicates that since we installed the signs less than ten have had to be replaced. The cause of the damage is vandalism.

· Moms Off Meth Kim, the facilitator for Moms Off Meth visited the board meeting on Tuesday. She knows about addictions because she stated that she had been addicted to many things in the past. She has been clean for 5 years and during her troubled times lost her children several times. She is a graduate of the Work Wise class and she has all of her children with her at this time. She told us that the pull on women to keep their children is a strong one and it is a good incentive to help them become free of addictions. MOMS is entirely voluntary and is not court ordered. The women who attend the group take “ownership” by setting their own rules. Kim is the facilitator and she has one helper. She has the ability to match women with resources that will help them keep going in the right direction. The group is confidential and there are no county people present at their meetings. The women learn the importance of helping each other and supporting new women. They work on empowerment, improving self-esteem, and they are advocates for each other at court. The women also learn the importance of helping each other and supporting new women that join the group.
· Department of Corrections Resolution Steve Kley of our Court Services Department submitted a resolution which all members of the board were happy to endorse. The resolution is basically asking the legislature to provide funding to the Department of Corrections and then direct them to pay their share of probation officer salaries. The agreement is for the state to pay half and the counties to pay half and in reality the state has “stuck it to us” 15 out of the last 30 years. The counties have had to pay our half and up to as much as 12% of the state’s half of the costs. And you wonder why property taxes go up?
· Resolution regarding vehicles of animal husbandry Vehicles of animal husbandry today and have in the past been exempt from weight limits on roads and bridges. It is no doubt that his ruling has been a concession to rural lawmakers who have agricultural interest in their districts. That was then – this is now. Farm implements today look like they are on steroids and have become humongous machines. Once they get onto roads or bridges there is the potential for damage. There is an effort this year to repeal the exemption for implements of animal husbandry from Mn. Statute 169.801 as it applies to bridges. This resolution was also passed by the Nicollet County Board of Commissioners. I know that some ag organizations are leery of repealing this part of the law. The argument is that there may be many overweight vehicles passing over a bridge before it becomes impassable and how will proof be established as to which implement actually did the damage. That may sound kind of lame and if this provision is repealed, I guess it will be up to the courts to decide. In the meantime, farmers who are violating, better check on their liability insurance coverage.end

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