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St. James Plaindealer - St. James, MN
  • McCaslin is hired in joint assessor deal

  • The Watonwan County and Jackson County Commissioners have decided to share County Assessor McCaslin along with the costs of salary for the position.
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  • The Watonwan County Board met Tuesday, Aug. 6 for their regularly scheduled August meeting.
    The county commissioners approved the agenda and minutes unanimously before moving on to regular business.
    Visiting from Jackson County was Jackson County Assessor Jason McCaslin. The Watonwan County and Jackson County Commissioners have decided to share County Assessor McCaslin along with the costs of salary for the position.
    McCaslin will split his time evenly between the two county offices. County Commissioner Scott Sanders said he feels that the two counties have always had a good relationship and that he believes the addition of McCaslin to the county assessor's office will be a successful one. This is intended to be a long-term agreement for both counties.
    Under the terms of the agreement, Jason will remain an employee of Jackson County. Watonwan County will pay Jackson for his time spent in the area. Watonwan and Jackson counties will also split transportation and continued training fees.
    McCaslin will be assessing about 18,000 parcels of land each year with the addition of Watonwan County parcels.
    According to the joint assessor cost chart distributed during the meeting, the county will save $30,406 with this agreement and will be covering the cost of about $40,828 for McCaslin salary.
    The county may also look at making another hire in the assessor's office at a clerical level.
    The Watonwan County Board received bids for the human services building and accepted the low bid of $344,965 from GAG Sheet Metal Inc.
    There were three bids total. The GAG bid was accepted unanimously. Initial budget estimates for the project came in just under $500,000.
    Tax forfeited properties have been a regular discussion this summer for the Watonwan County Board. The board voted to approve the final auction date for ten properties unanimously. The properties will be auctioned off Thursday, Sept. 5 at 3 p.m.
    One property in Fieldon township was discussed at length. The previous owners submitted a formal letter from the parcel owners stating they were interested in paying the back taxes and repurchasing the property.
    The commissioners rejected this request stating that there were other opportunities for the property owners to pay those back taxes during the last five years and that they didn't want to finance the property and take the risk that the previous owners would continue to not pay their taxes on the property.
    The commissioners adopted a resolution with the state which agrees that the state will provide a public transportation service while Watonwan County provides a local share of 15 percent of the total operating costs and 20 percent of the total capital costs.
    The TMT bus services have had a large increase in ridership during the last year. Along with the increase in riders, the expense of the TMT has increased $36,000 during the last year with revenue increasing $25,000.
    Page 2 of 2 - The state will cover up to $145,000 of expenses from the TMT program.
    Public Works:
    Public Works Director Roger Risser met with the county board Tuesday morning with the first item on his agenda the request to post an upcoming vacancy for assistant county engineer position in the newspaper. Commissioners approved that request unanimously.
    Next, Risser presented quotes for the 2013 County Highway pavement marking project. The project will include work on the centerline stripes re-striping for approximately 26 miles.
    The Watonwan County Board accepted the low bid from AAA Striping out of St. Michael, Minn., at $13,812. According to Risser, the bids came in pretty competitive.
    Risser also presented an MNDOT resolution awarding about $14,192 in road life consumed for the use of CSAH 5 and 10 during the Highway 60 four lane expansion project. That project will detour traffic two those two roads and is expected to last about 60 days. MNDOT has encumbered $22,000 to compensate for the detour, if needed.
    Other Business:
    Board approved the Madelia Area Chamber of Commerce request for EDA funding which will help cover the costs of an assistant director at $12 an hour for 20 hours a week.
    Bridget Winkles was hired as assistant land manager, Robert Baarson was hired as a transit bus driver, Caleb Hoffman was hired as a light equipment operator and Douglas Jones received a step increase.
    Board approved two conditional use permits: one is for the construction of a second welling on a property, the other was for the excavation, storage and processing of aggregate material.
    Board had a first reading of an ammendment to the standing feedlot ordinance.
    Dates of Public Hearings for the Hazard Mitigation Plan Update:
    Thursday, Aug. 29 at 5:30 p.m. in the fire hall community room, Butterfield.
    Thursday, Sept. 12 at 5:30 p.m. in the Watonwan County Library, Madelia.
    Thursday, Sept. 25 at 5:30 p.m. in the Watonwan County Library, St. James.
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