The Watonwan County Board met with Sheriff Gary Menssen at their regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday, June 18.
Commissioners approved the proposal for life cycle support of the complex Watonwan County radio equipment associated with the dispatch services in the county. The annual price of this system is $10,587.
Sheriff Menssen reported that there were some problems with funding for the planned BDA tower which will be erected this Friday. The county had planned to make purchases for the tower from 911 funds. After conferring with other counties, Sheriff Menssen reported that 911 would not be available for the tower because 911 funds cannot be used for units being built off-site.
Since the new BDA tower is not within a certain distance of the dispatch center, those 911 funds will not be available for use by the county. The total cost for this project is more than $166,000. Funds will likely be pulled from the capital improvement fund in order to pay for the project.
Director of Enterprise North, Inc. Mary Hibbert met with the Watonwan County Board to discuss the services her business provides to residents in Watonwan County.
She explained that adults with disabilities are helped to find work within their group. Adults with disabilities have been employed at the Enterprise North thrift shop in Madelia and are taught life skills by the organization.
In all, Enterprise North works with about 75 adults with disabilities in both New Ulm and Madelia.
Due to shifts in funds from the state, total Watonwan County Aid will be reduced 36 percent next year to $182,000. Many rural communities county aid has been reduced due to the increase in value of farm land. The Watonwan County Board plans to budget appropriately for these state budget cuts.
Public Works Director Roger Risser met with the county commissioners to discuss road and bridge projects in Watonwan County and to present bids on projects and equipment.
The county received bids for projects involving county box culvert bridge renovation projects. The engineers estimate came in at about $209,000 and the county received three bids. Two of the bids were sent in over the estimated budget price. The low bid was accepted at $201,500 from R and G Construction Co. R and G Construction are being used on multiple projects this year by the county, but have not been used in the past. Still, commissioners are confident they will do good work.
The Watonwan County Board also received bids for Mill and Overlay projects in Darfur. Mobilization prices ran the bids to costs much greater than the engineer estimate. As a result, the county moved to reject all bids.
As was discussed at the last meeting, Risser presented the quotes for the purchase of mastic melter/crack patching machines. Two companies submitted quotes. Midstates Equipment and Supply offered to sell the county the machine they are currently renting and said they would be willing to reduce the cost of that machine to discount them for their rent. The board moved to purchase the machine which was reduced $6,000 from about $39,000 to $33,000.
Page 2 of 2 - “This is a great resource for us and will really help out as far as a budget and planning out projects,” said Risser.
Emergency Management Director Jule Peterson met with the county board to ask for permission to attend the EMI Hazard Mitigation Conference. Many of the costs to the trip will be reimbursed by EMI, and for that reason the county moved to approve her request and allow her to use credit to pay any fees associated with the class.
The county has continued to move forward in the planning and execution of renovating the Human Services building in St. James. The board has approved the hiring of a construction manager for the project along with Bryan Paulsen as a project architect. The board feels they have a firm grasp on the situation and feels confident in moving forward with the project.
The hiring of a construction manager will cost the county about $50,000 bringing the estimated project total to about $814,445.
Commissioners approved the liquor license for the fair board which is presented for approval annually.
The capital improvement planning has begun and will be discussed at length at the next board meeting.