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Nobles County to split from multi-county HRA

WORTHINGTON -- The Nobles County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday ended its 11-year participation with the Southwest Minnesota Multi-County Housing and Redevelopment Authority in exchange for a newly created, countywide HRA with Economic Development Authority (EDA) powers.

It's hoped the move, taken after a special public hearing in which no public comment was presented, will result in an HRA more efficient and economical for the county.

The board's action followed a May 2006 report issued by the Nobles County HRA/EDA review committee that identified gaps in the level of programs and services -- including the potential for applicants to receive financial assistance in excess of a specified dollar amount, a limited ability to apply for different funding mechanisms and a lack of representation for townships compared to city participation.

"(A county-wide HRA/EDA) brings more flexibility to the board," Glenn Thuringer, chair of the review committee, said.

Nobles County Administrator Mel Ruppert said the move will also give the county more control.

"We've talked extensively about this being a tool to help with the Southwest Mental Health Center," Commissioner David Benson added.

In other action, the board:

- Approved the classification of forfeited land for parcel No. 31-3414-000 (519 Humiston Ave.) in the City of Worthington. Commissioners also adopted a resolution requesting the Department of Natural Resources to approve the sale of the forfeited property, certified that the Soil and Water Conservation District has viewed the parcel and adopted a resolution instructing the Nobles County Assessor to appraise the land for non-payment of real estate taxes from 2000 to present.

The City of Worthington has expressed interest in the parcel and was granted a six-month hold on the property.

- Approved the adoption of a personnel policy, with agreed-upon revisions, requiring all county employees to carry an identification badge. The badge policy will take effect Sept. 1.

- Approved a conditional use permit for Gary Reker, of Adrian, to operate a concrete and asphalt storage and recycling site in the north half of the northwest quarter of Section 8, Olney Township.

- Approved a purchase of service agreement with the Department of Human Services in which the county human services department will assist in completing Minnesota Care applications due to a backlog at the state level. The county will be paid $30 per completed application, to a maximum of $3,648.

- Authorized the closing of Nobles County 1 and 14 from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. July 15 for the Brewster Fun Days parade.

- Discussed several issues in Nobles County and southwest Minnesota with District 22A candidate Mike McCarvel of Brewster. McCarvel asked about the needs and issues of the county and how he might help if he were elected. Issues identified ranged from transportation, animal agriculture, wind energy, economic development and drug awareness/education.

- Appointed Diane Thier and Vern Leistico to the county canvassing board, as they are the only two commissioners not up for re-election in 2006.

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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