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Nobles Co. settles on bridge collapse

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news Worthington, 56187

Worthington Minnesota 300 11th Street / P.O. Box 639 56187

WORTHINGTON -- Nobles County commissioners were notified Tuesday morning a settlement agreement and release absolves any potential claims against the county related to the Nobles County State Aid Highway 1 bridge collapse on Oct. 19, 2010.

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"The parties are releasing claims with each other without the exchange of money," said Nobles County Attorney Gordon Moore. Those parties include Knife River Corporation-North Central and Midstate Reclamation and Trucking, Inc.

Moore said the county had potential claims against the subcontractor, and the contractor had made a claim against the county related to the partial bridge collapse that occurred while a subcontractor was milling down the pavement over the bridge.

Moore said there had been no claim presented by the employee who was on the milling machine when it broke through and landed in the creek below.

The employee, he said, did not suffer any broken bones as a result of the incident.

"Essentially, they're waiving their claims and we're walking away," Moore said. "It prevents a lawsuit from occurring. It could have been complex, to say the least."

Moore said the release was the outcome he was hoping for, and it took the Minnesota Counties Intergovernmental Trust getting involved to move the settlement along.

"This settlement would have been fine with a handshake on the day of the accident, but unfortunately we don't live in that kind of world anymore," he added.

The board approved the settlement agreement.

In other action, the board:

* Tabled discussion on the city-county-school district tax abatement policy that is being presented as an economic development tool. Commissioner Marv Zylstra said he didn't know how they could abate the taxes if the program wasn't offered county-wide, while Commissioner David Benson said he'd like more information on the proposal.

* Received an update from Public Works Director Stephen Schnieder regarding the bridge replacements near Brewster. Both CSAH 1 and CSAH 14 are anticipated to reopen to traffic at the end of this week.

* Approved the 2012 ditch maintenance assessments in the amount of $131,962.97; and approved an engagement agreement with Government Management Group for 2011-2013 to prepare Nobles County's Cost Allocation Plan.

* Approved a maintenance services proposal with Paape Companies, Inc., to perform computer, HVAC, boiler and chiller work in the Prairie Justice Center, Government Center and Nobles County Library, at a total cost of $19,732 per year.

* Learned that interviews will be conducted this week for the registered nurse and public health nurse positions for the new Nobles County Health and Human Services Agency.

* Approved a custodial services agreement with Robin Stoyke/Lambert's Carpet Cleaning for cleaning services at the county's War Memorial Building and Public Works offices. The one-year contract comes with no change in rate.

* Appointed Jerry Brake to the Kanaranzi-Little Rock Watershed District.

* Declared a list of items as surplus property to be sold at auction in collaboration with the city of Worthington.

* Approved an interpreter contract between Nobles County Family Services and a Karen language interpreter at a rate of $20 per hour.

* Approved a non-budgeted expense in Nobles County Family Services to replace a server for the agency's state information systems program. The total cost of the replacement and additional components is $990.

* Authorized a speed study be conducted by the Minnesota Department of Transportation on County State Aid Highway 13 at Rushmore (East Avenue in the city limits). There is no cost to the county for the speed study.

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