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Overweight load restrictions loosened

WORTHINGTON -- Nobles County commissioners on Tuesday approved a request from Public Works Director Stephen Schnieder to grant overweight load permits at his discretion.

Overweight load permits have not been issued in Nobles County in the past, but adjoining counties and nearby states permit the overweight loads of raw or unprocessed farm commodities to travel on specific county roads.

Schnieder said Minnesota has approved legislation permitting overweight hauling of farm commodities on state highways. In Nobles County, however, Minnesota Soybean Processors and other facilities are located on the county road system.

"In the past, the county has been reluctant to approve these," Schnieder said. "I'm asking the board to allow these permits as I deem appropriate for the location and the condition of roadways and bridges."

Schnieder said highway staff will monitor the roadways and see if there is an impact. Specific routes would be required for use.

"I'm not proposing that we open up 30 miles of road across the county," he said. "It has to be a paved roadway."

Haulers must apply for the special permit and pay an annual fee of $300 for a six-axle truck, and $600 for a seven-axle vehicle. The money collected is kept in the road authority account for maintenance.

Nobles County Attorney Kathy Kusz said the state statute also lists a "number of conditions" permit recipients must adhere to. Also, the vehicles are still subject to the seasonal load restrictions.

Commissioner Matt Widboom was in favor of offering a permit for overweight hauling.

"I have to support the idea," he said. "At least we are giving an option to our haulers. Even though it may be restrictive, there's an option on the table."

In other action, the board:

- Approved, on a 4-1 vote, per diems and mileage reimbursements for commissioners to attend city council meetings within Nobles County.

Commissioner Marv Zylstra cast the vote in opposition to the pay.

"As a commissioner, in my district I feel it's my responsibility to be at those meetings," Zylstra said. "I won't charge a per diem to go to my own (city meetings)."

"That's your choice," replied board chairman Bob Demuth Jr. "You're in a different atmosphere than I am. If Don (Linssen) and I run over to Adrian, it should be subject to a per diem."

Demuth also suggested two commissioners attend each meeting, if possible.

- Approved, on recommendation from county IT director Angelo Torres, to switch the county's technology systems from purchased to leased. The change, according to Torres, will result in an initial cost savings and also provide better infrastructure. Torres said he would negotiate with vendors during the next month and begin implementing the leasing process within 60 days.

n Approved a resolution authorizing county administration to send a letter to state legislators, asking them to consider funding in the state bonding bill to cover the remaining 25 percent of disaster-related costs not covered by FEMA.

n Approved conditional use permits for Don DeKam, Chandler, to construct a 16- by 36-foot compost shed in the southwest quarter of Section 2, Leota Township; and for Marty Weiss, Adrian, to construct a 40- by 116-foot cattle barn in the north half of Section 17, Olney Township.

n Approved a request from Jackson County to provide highway accountant services approximately one day per week on a temporary basis. Schnieder said Jackson County will provide reimbursement for the duties.

n Received an update from Sherri Smith on the Cornerstone Drug Court program offered in Nobles, Rock, Pipestone, Murray and Cottonwood counties. Since the program began last year, it has grown to 17 participants, 11 of which are Nobles County residents.

The drug court program was established with a three-year, $350,000 implementation grant, and Smith said it will be able to get four years out of the grant dollars that were provided. Participants spend about 18 months to two years in the program.

n Approved the second quarter appropriation of $8,000 to the Worthington Regional Economic Development Corp.

n Appointed LaVonne Vortherms, Worthington, to the Community Services Advisory Committee; and reappointed of Stacie Golombiecki, Worthington, Nancy Springman, Worthington and Kay Cox, Adrian, to the Development Achievement Center advisory board. The county seeks members for its revolving loan fund board, specifically two representatives from the banking industry.

n Presented the April Excellence in Performance award to Mary Viessman, legal assistant, in the Nobles County Attorney's office. Viessman has worked for the county for 34 years.

Daily Globe Reporter Julie Buntjer may be reached at 376-7330.

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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