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County board accepts Balster's retirement

WORTHINGTON -- After 37 years with Nobles County, Auditor-Treasurer Sharon Balster is retiring. During their board meeting Tuesday morning, commissioners accepted her retirement, effective June 30. Balster did not attend the meeting.

Nobles County Administrator Tom Johnson said the resolution accepting Balster's retirement was necessary to begin the process with the state to fill the vacancy. The hope is to appoint someone to the role of auditor-treasurer to fill out the remainder of the term, through 2014. An election would be conducted in November 2014 for the post.

In other action, the board:

- Was presented more information about Lincoln-Pipestone Rural Water's plans to refinance the bonds on its rural water project. Refinancing the bonds now would result in a savings of approximately $30,000 per year for the organization. The bonds were secured at a 4.2 percent blended average rate, but with the lower interest rates offered now, LPRW can refinance at a 2.2 percent or 2.3 percent interest rate.

LPRW will have a resolution ready for commissioners to adopt at its June 4 meeting, with a tentative date for the bond sale slated for July 23.

- Awarded the bid for pavement marking services to AAA Striping Service, St. Michael, at a cost of $268,848. Included in the bid is striping service for Rock, Cottonwood and Jackson counties, as well as the city of Worthington.

- Approved the relocation of the data center inside the Nobles County Government Center. The center will be moved to the training room adjacent to the human services department. The room is directly above the power distribution lines and fibers coming into the government center, according to Angelo Torres, IT director. The relocation, equipment and furnishings will cost approximately $48,000, which will come from reserves and the equipment revolving fund.

- Approved a service credit memorandum with AFSCME's public health employees union. The memorandum recognizes public health employees for their years of service with Nobles County prior to the shift to a single-county agency. In addition, one employee received a step increase retroactive to Jan. 1, as a result of the acknowledgement of past years of service.

- Approved a resolution authorizing the advertisement of bids for construction of the trail extending from Olson Park to Centennial Park. Bid opening will be 1:30 p.m. June 17.

- Approved the closure of a county state aid highway in the city of Rushmore from 8 p.m. July 13 to 2 a.m. July 14 for the ABATE of Minnesota street dance fundraiser. The event is in conjunction with the city's annual summer celebration.

- Approved a second quarter appropriation of $7,589.25 to RSVP of Nobles County.

- Presented a certificate of appreciation to JoAnne Haugan for 36 years of service to Nobles County. Haugan, who works in the Worthington branch library, will retire effective June 1.

- Appointed Dr. James Harris to the Southwestern Mental Health Center board.

- Was introduced to Abraham Algadi, the new Worthington Regional Economic Development Corp. manager.

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

(507) 376-7330