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St. James Plaindealer - St. James, MN
  • Watonwan County Board discusses Human Services building

  • The Watonwan County Board met Tuesday, May 7, following an introduction to the Boy and Girl County Program which made rounds through the courthouse meeting all of the county offices Tuesday.
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  • The Watonwan County Board met Tuesday, May 7, following an introduction to the Boy and Girl County Program which made rounds through the courthouse meeting all of the county offices Tuesday.
    The Watonwan County Board heard presentations from both Henry Endres of Dell’s Construction and Jeff Wellman of Rochon Corp. Both are general contractors interested in working on the Human Services project.
    The two separate contractors discussed their previous experiences and made plans to submit cost proposals to the county board in the near future.
    Prior to discussing the Human Services Building, commissioners met with Sheriff Gary Menssen, who asked for the approval to purchase digital forensic software and a new chair for dispatch.
    Sheriff Menssen reported that the dispatch was in need of two chairs and that they would be requesting one be purchased this year, and the other be purchased next year.
    “There is a body in these chairs 24/7,” said Sheriff Menssen. “It’s been a number of years – I know it’s been since I’ve been sheriff.”
    The chairs get worn quickly because they are in use constantly, said Sheriff Menssen. The cost to replace one chair is about $1,439. The board approved this request unanimously.
    The cost of purchasing software and equipment for mobile forensic software came in at about $2,499. There are no maintenance costs included in this pricing – as there would be little to no maintenance on the items once they are purchased. County commissioners approved the request unanimously.
    Although the law library account is negative about $3,000, the Watonwan County Board voted to approve the purchase of a new law library computer.
    “Through the cost saving efforts we are now going strictly online,” said Commissioner Scott Sanders. “We need a computer can accommodate that.”
    Before the board approved the purchase of a new computer, the attorney’s office had been using both hard and electronic copy at the cost of about $12,000. With this change, that fee will be reduced to about $8,000. This should work to push the account back into the positive.
    Funds will be pulled from the general fund to purchase the computer. Since the law library budget is located in the general fund, Auditor Don Kuhlman said there shouldn’t be any issues regarding funding. There is room within the budget for this purchase.
    With Railroad Days just about a month away the Watonwan County Board voted to allow the use of the Watonwan County Fairgrounds for the celebration at the rental cost of $300.
    The term of the lease will commence at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, June 19, 2013, and last until 12:01 a.m. on June 23, 2013.
    Building Maintenance Supervisor Mike Tatro met with the county board to discuss bids that came in for the annex roof repair project in the jail complex.
    Page 2 of 3 - Schwickert’s came in as low bidder with a total project cost of $83,557. Kato Roofing also bid on the job with a total project cost of $116,560. With the recommendation of Tatro, the commissioners approved the Schwickert’s bid.
    “Schwickerts are more than competent and they can get on it by the middle of June at the worst,” said Tatro.
    According to Tatro, the bids that were collected came in considerably lower than had been originally projected.
    A viewers training proposal made its way to the county board Tuesday, but was met with some hesitation by the commissioners and mixed reactions.
    The proposal was for ten counties to pay at most $1,000 to help fund a course at Ridgewater College which would help to train ditch viewers and would benefit county ditch systems.
    “There is a lack of viewers – lead viewers specifically,” said Kuhlman. “They’re looking for ten counties to provide a $1,000 contribution.”
    Commissioner Mark Rentz wondered if there would be any benefit to the county should they choose to help in the project. Meanwhile Commissioner Sanders expressed his discomfort in counties funding an individual school.
    Commissioner Holmgren stated that he believed the school would only be developing a curriculum to extend to existing training programs.
    The motion to contribute to the project was defeated by a 2-3 vote, with Commissioners Rentz and Holmgren voting for and Commissioners Sanders, Gustafson and Svalland voting against.
    Public Works Director Roger Risser met with the Watonwan County Board for his monthly public works report and agenda. He began his presentation with the road and bridge cash flow chart.
    “There is nothing out of the ordinary here,” said Risser. “I don’t see anything that stands out.”
    Commissioners went through the chart before moving on to the approval of a contract with R  and G Construction company for the reconstruction of County State Aid Highway 16.
    The contract was approved in the amount of $714,888.30 for the project.
    Next, the county board discussed the Highway 4 Bridge over Highway 60 with Risser. Bids came in for the construction of the bridge which will coincide with preparation for the Watline Trail. Stanley Construction was the law bid at $38,100, but Commissioner Sanders expressed his  frustration with MNDOT who have left the cost of construction largely to the county.
    “This money is being put someplace else and what is our motivation – I mean, we could be building trails for miles with this money and it’s now stuck paying for someone else’s project,” said Sanders.
    The Watonwan County board accepted the low bid at the recommendation of Risser, who said the proposal was good in regards to cost and that he was confident the project manager would do a good job.
    Page 3 of 3 - The final resolution on the agenda was to adopt a resolution for a detour from Highway 60 to Highways 9, 13, 27 and 10 which will be used as a temporary trunk highway detour during construction.
    The county will receive $16,286.30 for road life consumed during the period the detour is in place.

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