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Watonwan County Board set to refinancing on existing bond payments

Sean Ellertson
St. James Plaindealer

At Tuesday's Watonwan County Board meeting, the board met with George Eilertson of Northland Securities to re-finance existing bonds that were issued in 2013 for $1,420,000.

The money went to a general improvement plan for projects that included renovations for the Watonwan County Human Services building, improvement to the courthouse, county resource center, fairground buildings, and the reconditioning of county road 127.

The call date to consider refinancing for that debt of the bonds is February 1st, 2021.

"We've certainly got favorable interest rates in the bond market," said Eilertson. "We're near 40-year historical lows in the bond market so interest rates are quite favorable."

The current interest rate on the existing bonds is 3.9%. Bonds in the current market have current interest rates in the low 1% range.

The gross savings of refinancing could be around $166,000 for the remaining term of the bonds.

The county presently has a AA bond rating.

The board motioned to retain the services of Northland Securities as the municipal advisor. The board also passed a resolution to reissue the debt.

The target date for financial completion is December 1st.

County Sheriff Jared Bergeman and Emergency Management Director Julie Peterson approached the board to approve the use of the Integrated Public Alert & Warning System (IPAWS). The new software would work hand in hand with the current software Code Red.

IPAWS would send notifications to those in the geographical area of Watonwan County. The notifications would be sent out for any type of community notification, ranging from missing children to weather-related notifications and road closures.

"There are certain requirements that are necessary for IPAWS rather than Code Red because it is a federal program that makes the announcement, so it's a little bit broader than code red," said Peterson.

The initial cost of IPAWS and startup is $1,200 but will be covered by a grant. The software has a $1,200 per year maintenance fee.

Bergeman hopes to implement the software as soon as it's approved.

The board motioned to approve the IPAWS software dependent on an SHSP grant request.

The board also approved CARES funding money to the city of Darfur for $3,582.72 for cellular water meters.

Money was also tentatively given for saliva testing for St. James ($1,500) and Butterfield-Odin ($15,000). The CARES committee was scheduled to meet later Tuesday to discuss capping the amount.

Internet service for adult basic education, including hotspots in Madelia and St. James was given $5,661.

Public Works Director Teal Spellman approached the board with quotes for construction on bridge #4009 on Elm Creek Rd. The bridge will be a timber bridge, similar to the bridgework that was done in Riverdale Township.

A quote from Erickson Engineering for up to $38,000 was accepted by the board.

A motion for a tile grossing on county road 25 near Long Lake for a rural water hookup was also passed by the board.

Other items:

Bills General: $112,035.30

Bills Road & Bridge: $36,837.58

Disbursements: $840,908.45

Approval of CARES Funds- 24:00


Step increases: Tamara Colon, Carol Stradtman, Virgil Goltz, Kristine Jaycox, Mary Jo Schroeder, Gayle Culbertson, Julie Kelley, Ricky Bak, Nick Mathistad

Retirement: Susan Hunstad- phased retirement to train in replacement, draw pension, can work limited action- in good standing. Julie Peterson, in good standing

- Advertise in-house of dispatch supervisor

- TMT Desk Quotes- $2,080 Staples quote

- 1W1P  Houston Engineering Service Agreement $7,500 for PowerPoint presentations covered by grant money

- Recorder Copier Quotes- $3,425, covered by equipment funds

- Minnesota Valley Action Council- Notice of funds available 2020

    - #4 reduction in funding reduced from $1,200 to $650

    - #2 SNAP support services, a total increase of $999

-MSET Voting Delegates- Branstad and Miller

- AMC Voting Delegates- board of commissioners, Kelly Pauling, Teal Spellman, Naomi Ochsendorf

- Checkpoint Firewall Update for $73,950 covered by CARES money. Cost per year rises from $26,000 to $28,700