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St. James Plaindealer - St. James, MN
  • County Board disproves of transit consolidation

  • The Watonwan County Board regular session began with the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, before jumping into regular business Tuesday, Sept. 3.
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  • The Watonwan County Board regular session began with the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, before jumping into regular business Tuesday, Sept. 3.
    The county will be sending Deb Grote to the annual fall training conference in Nisswa, Minn. at a cost of $814 from Sept. 8 through Sept. 11. Also being sent away for training is the new Land Services Manager, at no cost to the county next week.
    Emergency Management Director Julie Peterson met with the Watonwan County Board to discuss the emergency operations plan for Watonwan County.
    The county passed a resolution unanimously to sign certification approval of the plan and a resolution that the county is accepting the plan.
    "In December the board approved the update for the emergency operations plan in Watonwan County – these are updates to the plan that was approved in December, and mainly it's wordage, it's staffing, change in phone numbers and updating it further is mainly what it's about," said Peterson.
    Comissioner Mark Rentz asked Peterson if the area schools had to run any HAZMAT or school shooting drills, to which Peterson responded that she was working with the schools for those plans to be put together. Rentz told the commissioners that he had seen that schools in the metro area run these types of drills five times a year.
    Peterson was also granted permission and funding to attend a training seminar in Windom Sept. 11 for livestock truck rollover response. That training will cost the county an application fee of $10.
    County Sheriff Gary Menssen met with the commissioners following Peterson's presentation to discuss the purchase of new firearms for the sheriff's department.
    Menssen said the department went through the evidence locker and either sold or destroyed a large number of guns, which brought in about $2,000 to the department. He requested that those funds be used to buy new AR 223 rifles for the department. The funds raised would buy about three guns, with $300 coming out of the department funding. The Watonwan County Board approved the request unanimously.
    Menssen also requested a new restraint chair be purchased for the county jail. The current chair is old and outdated and has been giving the jailers some problems. A new chair would run the county about $1,600 including shipping. Menssen said there is money in the equipment budget for the chair. These types of chairs are used to keep inmates from hurting themselves and the old chair has become a safety issue for jailers and officers. The county board approved the purchase of a new emergency restraint chair unanimously.
    TMT Director Marge Smith met with the Watonwan County Board as a follow-up to the last regular board meeting. Smith wanted to get an idea of how the last meeting went and to get an indication of whether or not the county board would be looking to consolidate the mass transit system with other systems in southern Minnesota.
    Page 2 of 2 - The Watonwan County Commissioners were not open to consolidating the TMT service at this time and pointed at the states lack of a plan for the main reason they would like to steer clear of the consolidation project.
    "If it doesn't seem to be broken, why try to fix it," said Smith.
    The commissioners agreed, saying they don't understand what the state plan is and enjoy the work that the TMT service does already. They will not be looking to change that program at this time.
    Public Works:
    Public Works Director Roger Risser met during his usual time with the commissioners at the Tuesday meeting. He presented the authorized work for others financials for July and explained that the fairgrounds funding was a bit high for July, but with the fair that was to be expected.
    His main discussion with the commissioners dealt with the lighting of a few intersections in Watonwan County over medium-traffic roads. It was decided that lights would be installed by either MNDOT or the county for the intersections of CSAH 10 and Hwy 4, CSAH 3 and Hwy 4/30, while other lighting projects were put off because the lights are unnecessary at the time.
    Other Business:
    The Watonwan County Board will be holding a public hearing Oct. 1 at 9:15 a.m. to discuss the capital improvement plan. County commissioners have the option of looking back 60 days to include projects in the upcoming capital improvement plan. This is especially useful for funding the renovations on the Human Services Building.

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