The Watonwan County Board picked up St. James Community Child Care’s Proposal for Expansion on Tuesday from last week’s rescheduled board meeting. The expansion includes updating facilities, ordering equipment, relicensing facility for new numbers, and hiring new staff. Watonwan County received a Child Care Shortage Grant for over $10,000 to use from June 2019 to May 2020. The proposal for expansion will be adjusted based on the number of grant participants from the county. St. James Community Child Care requested an administrative loan of $3,000 to be paid to the St. James Economic Development Authority (EDA) for the upfront cost to apply for the Child Care Shortage grant. Then they will choose to pay it back on a lump sum, or pay an administrative fee and pay it back in installments. The board approved the EDA Child Development Associate Credential Revolving Loan Fund.

Other major items discussed came from public works, the library and the license center. Public Works Director Teal Spellman presented bids received to replace the bridge on CSAH 19 coming out of Odin. Spellman recommended Midwest Contracting from Marshall for $294,411.50. Public Works’ estimate was $282,341.50. The other two bids came from Mathiowetz Construction Co. at $305,122.60 and ICON Constructors, LLC at $384,736.25. Spellman added most of the contractors contacted her in advance to stress the fact that they were having a hard time ordering the special culvert box. The earliest delivery will be in October. The board approved Spellman’s request for Midwest Contracting to take on the bridge replacement project on CSAH 19.

Library Director Matt Pannkuk requested to use fund money to cover the purchase of 16 iPads. The iPads were used for a visual storytelling program for participants to create their own movie. The program came from Compass, a non-profit education organization that teaches through art. The total cost was $8,632. After writing a grant for a Arts and Cultural Heritage fund and receiving $5,600, the remaining balance was $3,032. After the library fund being under budget for the past couple of years, the board believed this was proper use of fund dollars and approved the request.

Plans are also in the works to redo part of the license center to add a security glass because of individuals being difficult to workers. The redo plans will simmer for a while to “get it right the first time.”

The next county board meeting is on September 3rd at 9:00 a.m.