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MnSP access road designated CSAH 47

WORTHINGTON -- After several years of discussion, Nobles County commissioners on Tuesday approved designating approximately one-half mile of Zeh Avenue as County State Aid Highway 47.

Nobles County Public Works Director Stephen Schnieder explained that the city of Brewster had developed Zeh Avenue as a city street to access the Minnesota Soybean Processors facility. At the time, the city anticipated that the county would ultimately take over the roadway and perform the necessary maintenance.

"Because of the nature of the traffic out there, it does function more as a county road," Schnieder said.

"The county indicated they would make that a county state aid highway road when the bean plant opened," said Jim Naumann, Brewster City Clerk, who attended Tuesday's commissioner meeting. "We're just now trying to get it back in the county's hands."

Schnieder asked commissioners to consider an exchange with the city of Brewster, saying the CSAH designation could be placed on Zeh Avenue in exchange for a portion of Nobles County 75 in Brewster being turned over to the city for future maintenance. The stretch of County Road 75 that would be turned back to the city is approximately three city blocks, which Schnieder said "functions more as a city street."

Schnieder said the county would repair County Road 75 before the turnback would be made. Naumann, however, said Brewster's city council hasn't come to a consensus on whether it wanted to be responsible for the county road that is within its city limits.

Commissioner Marv Zylstra said Zeh Avenue needed to be turned over the a county state aid highway, and asked that the board address that issue first. Discussion about turning back a portion of Nobles County 75, he said, could be done later.

"We need to sit down with Brewster and talk about 75," Zylstra said. "It's been a long process. I think we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Stamp this and get it done."

Commissioners unanimously approved the county state aid highway designation.

In other action, the board:

n Received an update from County Administrator Tom Johnson on the Buffalo Ridge Regional Transit system, which will begin operation in early August in the participating counties of Rock, Nobles, Murray and Pipestone. The regional transit system is funded through 2014 as a pilot program by the state.

"It's not intended to be a work transit -- it's more appointment-based," Johnson said.

The Southwest Minnesota Opportunity Council is spearheading the program.

- Received a report from Schnieder regarding the possible implementation of a wheelage tax. The commissioners took the information under advisement, and board chairman Bob Demuth Jr. said it will be on the July 23 agenda for action.

The wheelage tax is an option open to Minnesota counties in light of the levy limits enacted by the State Legislature for 2014. Licensed vehicles, with some exceptions, would be charged a $10 fee -- added to the annual vehicle registration fee.

- Announced that there was no internal interest in the auditor-treasurer position vacated with the retirement of Sharon Balster in June. The process to fill the position was slated to be discussed among the administrative committee following the board meeting.

- In the absence of an auditor-treasurer, Louise Naumann was appointed temporary Deputy Registrar and License Agent.

- Accepted a $19,000 Public Health Preparedness grant from the Minnesota Department of Health.

- Authorized advertisement for bids to replace a Hersey Township bridge, which has been posted down to 10 tons, with a precast concrete box culvert. Bids will be opened on the construction project on July 30.

- Set a special board meeting for 9 a.m. July 10 to discuss the library proposals, from sites to costs. Public meetings on the library proposals are being planned for later this month.

- Approved a grant extension between Nobles County and the state for upgrades to the Next Generation 911 system for law enforcement. Sheriff Kent Wilkening said the county and the state are ready to move forward with the system, but there is a delay with the phone company.

- Presented the county's June Excellence in Performance award to Meredith Vaselaar, head branch librarian at the Adrian Branch Library.

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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