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St. James Plaindealer - St. James, MN
  • County Board approves budgetary expenditures and bond refinancing

  • At its regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, March 6th, the Watonwan County Board approved several purchases, agreed to a contract for tree and brush removal from county drainage ditches, and approved proceeding with a refinancing of County Bonds to lower the interest rate on those bonds and reduce their cost....
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  •     At its regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, March 6th, the Watonwan County Board approved several purchases, agreed to a contract for tree and brush removal from county drainage ditches, and approved proceeding with a refinancing of County Bonds to lower the interest rate on those bonds and reduce their cost.
        Commissioners approved the purchase of a 2012 Ford F-150 for the  Public Works Department.
        The truck will be purchased from Madelia Ford for a price of $22,614.75. Madelia Ford was not the low bidder. The low bidder was Midway Ford of Roseville, MN with a bid of $22,463.93.
        Given the small price differential between the two lowest bids, there was sentiment expressed by Commissioner Bill Berg to award the contract to a business that pays taxes to Watonwan County. Commissioner Mark Rentz voted against awarding the contract to Madelia Ford. Board  members John Baerg, Bill Berg, and Raymond Gustafson voted for awarding the contract. Commissioner Scott Sanders was not at the meeting.
        The Board voted unanimously to award a contract to replace six overhead doors at St. James Shop 5. Tim Knaak Construction of St. James won the contract and had the low bid of $25,392.40.
        The Board also approved a contract with B&W Control Specialists in the amount of $28,500 for the removal of trees and brush in county drainage ditches.
        The Board has contracted with B&W in the past. The quote was for the maximum possible amount the job could cost.
        B&W will be working on a time and materials basis. Don Reffer, a representative of the firm,  said that in two previous contracts with the County that the actual final cost was around 50% of the original bid.
        Auditor Don Kuhlman presented to the Board a proposal to refinance some of Watonwan County’s existing debt thanks to the historic low interest rates available in the municipal bond market.
        The proposal was prepared by Northland Securities that outlined in a letter to Kuhlman the possible savings. “The 2005A Bonds have an approximate remaining average interest rate of 4.29%. Based upon municipal interest rates available in the current market, new refunding bonds could be issued at an average interest rate of approximately 1.82%. This interest rate reduction would result in a net debt service reduction of approximately $53,600 which is a 7.21% net present value savings.  Note - this is a net savings in that any costs of issuance have already been considered,” wrote George D. Eilertson, the Sr. Vice President of Northland Securities. 
        After some discussion the Board voted to approve the refinancing.    
        Final approval is contingent upon the final numbers ending up being close to the proposal.    
        In other actions the Board approved the purchase of a laptop computer for the County Assessor’s office. The bid came in at $1,526.
    Page 2 of 2 -     County IS Director Greg Walsh discussed replacing an interactive video camera at Human Services. The interactive camera that may have been ten years old stopped working. This camera is used for many functions, but one key area is for mental health assessments of individuals.    
        Walsh had priced what it might take to replace the camera. The low cost was estimated at $5,909 and Walsh was not sure if that camera was compatible with the rest of Human Service’s equipment. An interactive video camera that would do the job cost $9,704.
        After some discussion on options including the possibility of sharing equipment with other departments the Board agreed to return to this issue at the next meeting.     Marge Smith of the County Highway Department requested Board approval to make a new recycling shed for Lewisville. The Board approved a $4,000 expenditure for the construction of the shed.
        The Board also scheduled a public hearing on the redistricting proposal involving the new boundaries for County Commissioners.  The time was set for 11 a.m. on April 3rd. A redistricting plan has to be adopted by the end of May.    
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