All commissioners of the Watonwan County Board met Tuesday, Nov. 20 and approved all payments of bills before discussing the construction of a new E-911 tower near St. James.

All commissioners of the Watonwan County Board met Tuesday, Nov. 20 and approved all payments of bills before discussing the construction of a new E-911 tower near St. James.

Money for the project would be pulled from the E-911 fund which is at about $50,000 at this time with just under $7,000 a month allocated for fees.

With Jackson County replacing a tower, now is a good time to make a move. Watonwan County can use Jackson County’s old tower for a very small price, and avoid having to build a brand new tower.

The cost for the project would be $95,518.73.  This price includes Site surveys, engineering and design fees, equipment costs (hardware), installation, commissioning and optimization of the system.

“We’ve been having coverage issues,” said Watonwan County Sheriff Gary Menssen.

“What we’re saying is this tower is a must,” said Commissioner John Baerg.
With about 45 percent of Watonwan County living in St. James, bad emergency coverage could become an issue.

The board approved unanimously to start the process of purchasing a tower and finding a compatible site to build that tower.

Public Works Director Roger Risser updated the commissioners on the activities of the public works department in Watonwan County.

He started by presenting the new county highway map which will be released as an online map in the near future.

“We’re pretty proud of it,” said Risser.

The new map should be practical for ten years, before it needs to be replaced. A printed map is not yet available, but will feature city maps for both Madelia and St. James on the back side of the Watonwan County highway map. The new map includes the four lane expansion that will take place on Highway 60 and the Watline Trail plans.

The final voucher for the replacement of the Highway 4 bridge over North Fork Watonwan River was approved unanimously.

The construction estimates from M & K Construction, Inc. initially cam in at $444,097.97 but due to an increase in some costs during the process the final cost for Watonwan County was $447,162.72.

The Watonwan County Board also agreed to pay for the maintenance of intersection lights over the Highway 60 expansion. MDOT agreed to pay for the overhead lights with the caveat that Watonwan County pays for the maintenance of the overhead lights. Electricity on the lights will cost about $40 per month and the four year replacement of bulbs costs $200 per bulb.

County Recorder Joy Sing met with the commissioners to discuss the county bulk image sales.

Watonwan County is in contract with Fidlar Technologies, who seeks viable subscribers interested in securely accessing information in exchange for a service fee. The idea behind the agreement was to ensure that Watonwan County receives payment when information from their data base is used.
The commission agreed to extend the contract with Fidlar Technologies unanimously.

Marjorie Smith, Watonwan County solid waste coordinator, met with the board Tuesday to discuss updating the Solid Waste Management plan for Watonwan County.

“I just don’t have time,” said Smith. “I do believe most counties do this themselves.”

Without a current Solid Waste Management Plan, Watonwan County will be missing out on $27,975 first half score block grants from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

The Watonwan County Board is looking into ways to update the plan so the county will not miss out on the extra funds coming in through the grant.
The meeting closed with a reschedule of the Jan. 1 Watonwan County Board meeting. New commissioners will be sworn in Jan. 7, so the first January meeting will take place Jan. 8 at 9 a.m. The second January meeting was also rescheduled and will take place Jan. 22 at 9 a.m.