Ditch hearing, library expansion discussedWORTHINGTON — Two property owners impacted by Nobles County Ditch 2 spoke during a public hearing Tuesday morning regarding the possible clean-out of the four-mile long ditch system located west of Bigelow in Ransom Township.
By: Julie Buntjer, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — Two property owners impacted by Nobles County Ditch 2 spoke during a public hearing Tuesday morning regarding the possible clean-out of the four-mile long ditch system located west of Bigelow in Ransom Township.
Richard Lowe, who owns property both in Minnesota and Iowa that abuts the ditch system explained he hasn’t noticed any flow issues in the ditch system along his property, and said the assessment for clean-out would be a “major deal” for him.
Jim Russell said the water level in the ditch last Friday was a foot and a half above his field.
“The last time Harry (Russell) had it cleaned, we could handle a 3-inch rain, and now we can’t handle two,” Russell said. “All we know is that it’s backed up.”
The ditch system has a current balance of approximately $3,800, but Commissioner David Benson said the work could cost upward of $50,000 for the four miles that need cleaning out. Though the ditch extends into Iowa, Nobles County Public Works Director Stephen Schnieder said property owners on the Iowa side are not assessed for the work.
Benson suggested a more in-depth study be done of the ditch system to determine where the trouble spots are, which could save the county from having to clean out the entire four-mile stretch. Commissioners then authorized public works to conduct elevation checks on the ditch system and report back to the board.
In other action, the board:
- Received a report from Steve Johnson of Vetter Johnson Architects regarding the Nobles County War Memorial building in Worthington. Commissioners had hired the firm to look into the feasibility of expanding the library at the present site.
Johnson presented schematic designs to commissioners Tuesday of what an expanded library would look like, but in the end, said the costs of making the changes and additions would cost about as much as building a new facility.
Commissioners seemed to agree with Johnson’s assessment.
“If you have a new building, it’s going to be considerably cheaper than dilly-dallying around with this building,” said Commissioner Vern Leistico.
Commissioner Diane Thier requested County Administrator Mel Ruppert talk to the city, the school district and Plum Creek Library System on the potential to collaborate on a project. Ruppert was also asked to look into potential sites for a new library building.
- Approved the replacement of a full-time jailer, as required by the state based on the population in the jail.
“We were told that if we cut staff in the jail, we are non-compliant,” said Sheriff Kent Wilkening. “They also reminded us that being short-staffed also adds to the overtime and stress. It’s also not safe for the inmates or the staff.”
Wilkening said if the county was not compliant in its staffing ratio, the state could cut its contract to house inmates at the local jail. That contract netted the county $194,000 in 2009, he added.
- Authorized final payment of $69,126.65 to R&G Construction of Marshall for replacement of bridges on County State Aid Highways 13 and 15.
- Approved the closure of County State Aid Highway 27 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday in the city of Rushmore for the Pride and Heritage Days celebration.
- Granted a conditional use permit for Robert Lynn to construct a 185-foot-high non-commercial wind turbine in the southeast quarter of Section 9, Lismore Township.
- Approved an amendment to the county’s land use ordinance stating that any structure taller than 199 feet must have a conditional use permit (CUP). Prior to the language change, any structure over 150 feet was required to have a CUP.
- Approved a satellite office agreement between the Nobles County Recorder’s office and the Secretary of State’s office. In 2009, the agreement netted the county $14,000 in exchange for searching for property liens and filing information for customers.
- Authorized a grant application for the auditor-treasurer’s office to pursue up to $7,800 in additional funding for the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) program.
- Approved several contracts for the Nobles County Family Services department, including one with Avera McKennan in Marshall for mental health services at a rate of $950 per day; group residential housing agreements; and an amendment to the Habilitative Services contract that adds homemaker services to the contract.
- Authorized a joint powers agreement between the Minnesota Department of Corrections and the Nobles County Jail.
- Approved both the Environmental Health Licensing ordinance and the Tobacco ordinance for Nobles County. Public hearings were previously conducted on both ordinances.