The Watonwan County Board met Tuesday, Oct. 2, with all district members present. Minutes were approved as written. An amendment which dropped the final bill on the agenda from discussion was passed unanimously because Environmental Services Officer Bruce Johnson was not able to attend the meeting and therefore could not present the grant agreement.
The commissioners continued business as usual, first passing a bill authorizing Watonwan County's participation in the planning process and execution of a sub-grant agreement which will make the county eligible to receive hazard mitigation assistance grants as they become available.
The plan includes an assessment in collaboration with the federal emergency management agency (FEMA) into various hazards that threaten the county and a mitigation strategy which identifies specific projects and cost.
Next a request for a public meeting was granted unanimously by the commissioners. The public meeting will discuss a 15 year city/county tax abatement for the construction of six twin home builidings in St. James.
Each unit has an estimated taxable market value of $200,000 for a total of $1.2 million.
“The proposed project would meet a growing need for housing in the community,” said EDA Director and Planning and Zoning Coordinator Molly Westman.
“The request will set some precedent if passed, as prior requests for tax abatement have only previously been approved for industrial and commercial use,” said Commissioner Mark Rentz.
The public hearing will be held Tuesday, Oct. 16, at 9:15 a.m.
Public Works Director Roger Riser updated the board on the most recent developments in the Watline trail from St. James to Ormsby.
The construction of the trail has been tentatively scheduled for 2015-2016 but some financial hurdles may push the completion of the project back to 2017.
These complications surround the intersection of State Highway 4 and State Highway 60. The future trail has been drawn to run along State Highway 4 at the intersection, however, due to budget restrictions exactly how the trail will be placed along the road is not yet known.
Initial estimates indicate the total county cost would come in over budget. The Watonwan County Board tabled the discussion to pursue further inquiries and will resume the discussion at the Nov. 6 meeting.
All training and personnel requests were approved by the commissioners after a short discussion over the possible restructuring of training requirements.