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County commissioners OK Prairie Justice Center bonding

WORTHINGTON — During their first meeting of 2014, Nobles County commissioners approved Tuesday a refunding of $5.695 million in general obligation bonds on the Prairie Justice Center, thereby saving the county more than $503,300 in debt service expenses over the life of the bonds.

George Eilertson of Northland Securities said the bond sale results, which were collected Monday morning, were “very favorable.” Having 14 bidders on the bonds was “phenomenal,” he added.

“Generally we see three to five (bids),” Eilertson told commissioners during Tuesday’s meeting, crediting the increased interest in the sale to the county’s AA+ bond rating and the short duration for repaying the bonds. “You have a bond structure here that’s attractive to banks.”

The Dallas, Texas, office of BOSC Inc. (Bank of Scotland) presented the best interest rate to the county at 1.3 percent, a fraction lower than the second-best bidder, Robert W. Baird & Co. Inc. of Milwaukee, Wis.

Commissioners accepted the low bid from BOSC and approved a resolution awarding the sale of bonds to lock in the interest rate.

In other action, the board:

- Elected Commissioner Marv Zylstra as board chairman for 2014, with Commissioner Matt Widboom as vice-chairman.

- Accepted a Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development grant of $60,000 as reimbursement for costs associated to the county’s response to the April 2013 ice storm.

- Approved the minimum salaries for elected officials as required by state statute. The minimum salaries are as follows: $80,263 for Nobles County Attorney; $59,445 for Nobles County Auditor-Treasurer; $49,674 for Nobles County Recorder; and $70,470 for Nobles County Sheriff.

- Approved a third change order in the Nobles County Government Center improvement projects. The change order, which will cost the county an additional $20,218 — bringing the total cost of improvements to $1,096,669 — includes replacing light fixtures in the stair towers, adding light fixtures in the lower level corridor, replacing a floor drain in one of the men’s restrooms, modifying the electrical system to meet code compliance, splitting power feed from two panels in the garage, relocating existing domestic waterlines to meet code compliance, installing additional fire alarm systems and installing better backup lights in the stair towers.

- Learned that Nobles and Rock counties have nearly $149,000 in Ag Best Management Practices (AgBMP) loan program funds available to assist residents with the installation of subsurface sewage treatment systems.

Applications are available through the Nobles County Environmental Services office to seek funding for installation of septic systems. The loans are provided to a maximum of $15,000 per system at an interest rate of 3 percent. The county places an assessment on the property for the life of the loan.

In 2013, Nobles County Environmental Services loaned $112,000 through the program to help fund 53 systems. Those systems reduce the amount of untreated wastewater getting into water sources by 7 million gallons per year.

- Approved a contract with CliftonLarsonAllen for financial audit services for 2014 at $53,800.

- Approved a contract extension with Trusight, a firm conducting a classification and compensation study for the county. The study, which was initially to be completed by Dec. 31, will be extended through March 31.

- Appointed commissioners Zylstra, Widboom and Gene Metz to serve on a Joint County Ditch Board with Jackson County addressing ditches 4, 9, 17 and 76; and Zylstra and Metz to serve on boards addressing judicial ditches 13 and 45.

- Appointed commissioners Widboom and Don Linssen to the county’s budget committee; and Metz and Bob Demuth Jr. to the union negotiating committee.

- Approved 2014 County Board meeting dates, which will be at 9 a.m. on the first Tuesday following the first Monday and the second-to-last Tuesday of each month. The one exception will be June 17, when the board will meet at 3 p.m. and host the Board of Equalization meeting at 6 p.m.

- Designated the Daily Globe as the county’s legal newspaper for 2014.

- Recognized Nobles County Environmental Services Director Wayne Smith as the county’s Excellence in Performance Award recipient for the month of December.

- Welcomed Jane Janssen as the new secretary in the county administration office. Janssen, of Bigelow, began her duties Dec. 30.

Julie Buntjer

Julie Buntjer joined the Globe newsroom in December 2003, after working more than nine years for weekly newspapers. A native of Worthington, she has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism. Find more of her stories of farm life, family and various other tidbits at

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