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Commissioners set not-to-exceed bond amount for new library

WORTHINGTON -- Nobles County Commissioners decided Tuesday to seek up to $13 million in capital improvement plan bonds for construction of a new library in Worthington.

In addition, they set a public hearing for 7 p.m., Nov. 13, in the Farmer's Room, in the lower level of the Nobles County Government Center, 315 Tenth St., Worthington, to collect comment on the proposal.

Tuesday's decision followed a discussion with the county's bond counsel, Rusty Fifield, of Northland Securities.

Fifield brought with him a proposed amendment to the county's capital improvement plan which outlined construction costs for the $10.55 million building project.

Those costs did not include the estimated expense for site acquisition, nor did it take into account two potential storage spaces to meet the needs of the county's public works department and sheriff's office.

Mark Ranum, director of the Plum Creek Library System, said land acquisition for the site is not expected to exceed $1.5 million.

In addition, Commissioner Robert Demuth Jr. said he'd spoken with Public Works Director Stephen Schnieder and Sheriff Kent Wilkening about their space needs.

The estimated cost for the public works storage space is $250,000, and the sheriff's estimate for space needs was expected to be about the same.

Adding the $1.5 million and $500,000 onto the bond purchase -- and accounting for potential unforeseen costs -- commissioners set $13 million as the highest amount they would seek.

Commissioner Diane Thier asked Fifield if it would be best to conduct the public hearing on the bonds after a site had been secured, but he said they could conduct the hearing at any time.

"(Having a public hearing about) the bonds doesn't compel you to do anything -- it empowers you," Fifield said, then added, "The more you know about the site, the more you can engage the public."

While commissioners were required to request a not-to-exceed bond amount at the same time they set the public hearing, Fifield said they can always lower their request as they get more details on the costs.

"I think it's better to be on the safe side," said Thier of the $13 million. "You can always come down."

"I'm excited that we're continuing to move forward," added Commissioner Marv Zylstra. "I think everything's just starting to fall (into place). I think that's great."

In other action, the board:

* Accepted an agreement with the Minnesota Department of Transportation for the turnback of the old Minnesota 60 road through Bigelow. The county will be compensated nearly $2.4 million by MnDOT for snow removal and reconstruction efforts along the roadway.

* Accepted $99,804 in bonding money to replace a bridge on CSAH 18, west of Kinbrae.

* Approved $21,125 for completion of the tuckpointing work being done on the towers of the Nobles County Government Center. The work is being completed by Jones Caulking and Tuckpointing.

* Approved payment of $27,243.62 to Clair Van Grouw Construction for window replacement; and payment of $173,206.85 to Prairie Sons, Inc., for replacement of the boiler system, all in the Nobles County Government Center.

* Approved a trail agreement with the Frosty Riders and authorized a snowmobile maintenance grant agreement of $40,015.80 with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

* Approved an agreement between Nobles County Public Works and the Worthington Taxi Service for inclusion of a radio antenna on the public works radio tower. The agreement calls for a $300 rental fee to be paid by the taxi service each year.

* Authorized a change in the permit fee for municipal residents to install driveways. The fee was lowered from $450 to $50.

* Approved a resolution designated Zeh Avenue in Brewster as a County State Aid Highway.

* Approved conditional use permits on recommendation of the Nobles County Planning and Zoning Commission for Scott Henning, Adrian, to operate two gravel pits. The pits are located in the northwest quarter of Section 26, Little Rock Township, and in the west half of the northeast quarter of Section 7, Olney Township. Conditions include that the permits are for six years with a review in three years, and that noxious weeds and dust be controlled.

* Reappointed Assessor Joe Udermann to a four-year term.

* Learned that five applications have already been received for the county administrator position. The position was posted Oct. 15.

* Acknowleged a letter of appreciation from Pipestone County for the four-year partnership between the two counties for Human Services.

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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