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$2.57 million in tax abatement bonds proposed for broadband project

WORTHINGTON -- After months of discussing funding options for Lismore Cooperative Telephone Company (LCTC) to cash-flow the construction of a multi-million dollar broadband project in Nobles County, commissioners on Tuesday authorized the issuanc...

WORTHINGTON - After months of discussing funding options for Lismore Cooperative Telephone Company (LCTC) to cash-flow the construction of a multi-million dollar broadband project in Nobles County, commissioners on Tuesday authorized the issuance of $2.57 million in taxable general obligation tax abatement bonds.

Under state law, notification to owners of property included in the tax abatement project isn’t required. Property owners will not see any difference in their tax statements compared to those who don’t have property listed in the abatement.

Mark Loosbrock, representing LCTC, said the sale of the tax abatement bonds will “work in our cash flow very well.”

The resolution authorizing the bonds was approved on a 4-0 vote, with Commissioner Gene Metz abstaining because of his position on the board of LCTC.

The projected interest rate on the bonds is slightly less than 3 percent, said Nobles County Administrator Tom Johnson, and will be repaid over a 15-year period by LCTC.

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“The county’s AA+ bond rating helps drive down the interest rate,” said George Eilertson of Northland Securities, the county’s bond counsel.

Action on the sale of the bonds is anticipated at the Nov. 21 meeting of the county board. At that time, the board will also conduct a public hearing to amend its $6.54 million capital improvement plan bond. Favorable construction costs have resulted in excess funds available, and the board will need to identify what additional projects will be funded with the remaining dollars.

In other action, the board:

  • Recognized Geralda Pedersen, child support officer in Community Services, and Pat Thier, engineering technician in public works, each for 30 years of service to Nobles County.
  • Approved the LELS Deputy union contract. The three-year contract includes Cost Of Living Adjustments of 2.25 percent in 2018, 2.5 percent in 2019 and 2.75 percent in 2020. The new contract takes effect Jan. 1.
  • Approved payments of $590,608.96 to Gag Sheet Metal, New Ulm, for work completed on the Prairie Justice Center roofing project; $26,074.84 to Salonek Concrete & Construction, Springfield, for work completed on the Adrian shop expansion project; and $48,967.75 to Brennan Construction, Mankato, for work completed on the PJC garage addition project. The two PJC projects are behind schedule - the roofing project is about 20 days behind, due primarily to weather delays, while the garage addition is two weeks behind schedule due to delays in obtaining state permits.
  • Tabled a fifth change order on the Government Center’s foundation repair project until more information is gathered.
  • Accepted the low bid of $8,250 from Jeppesen Gravel to demolish a tax-forfeited house at 509 Kentucky Ave., Adrian.
  • Authorized Drainage System Coordinator Brad Harberts and Auditor-Treasurer Beth Van Hove to begin the process for redetermination of benefits on County Ditches 2, 4, 5, 6, and 30, and Bigelow Branch Channel 1.
  • Approved Nobles Home Initiative five-year property tax abatements for Dan Kruger to construct a duplex on First Avenue Southwest in Worthington’s South Lake Development; and a request from Nick Hagen, which was retroactive to 2015. Due to an oversight, Hagen’s request was never heard by the county, although the Worthington City Council and ISD 518 Board of Education approved it two years ago.
  • Declared numerous items in the county’s public works department as surplus property. The following items will be offered through online auction: a 2003 Ford F650 truck, a 1992 Dressen tilt bed 6-ton single axle trailer, a 2001 Redi Haul tandem axle trailer, a 2006 Ford F250 4x4 pickup, a Stahl pickup box cap/topper, a 1990 Homelite chainsaw, a Carver 3-inch water pump and a 1990 Ford 4610 tractor.
  • Identified a bridge in Olney Township as a priority for replacement after its sufficiency rating fell below the threshold for town bridge account funding; and approved bonding agreements for the replacement of four other bridges. The county anticipates approximately $200,000 in bonding money to help with replacement costs for the four bridges.
  • Approved a new two-year maintenance agreement with the Minnesota Department of Transportation in which the county will provide snow and ice removal on Minnesota 264 between Round Lake and Brewster. The county is reimbursed for the work at up to $10,000 per year.
  • Approved an agreement with Marsden Building Maintenance LLC for cleaning services in the Nobles County Government Center.
  • Approved 2018 ditch maintenance assessments.

 

Julie Buntjer became editor of The Globe in July 2021, after working as a beat reporter at the Worthington newspaper since December 2003. She has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism from South Dakota State University.
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