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Cost savings extends bond money to new projects

WORTHINGTON -- With the construction season winding down and many of the projects finished or nearing completion on the county's Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) list, Nobles County commissioners were informed during a public hearing Tuesday that a...

WORTHINGTON - With the construction season winding down and many of the projects finished or nearing completion on the county’s Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) list, Nobles County commissioners were informed during a public hearing Tuesday that approximately $380,000 of the $6.4 million CIP bond remains unspent.

Those funds will now be targeted to a new list of projects following the county board’s amendment to the five-year CIP on Tuesday. In order of priority, the projects include replacement of a fuel tank at the Nobles County Government Center, fixing the flashing on the balance of windows at Prairie Justice Center, consolidating office space in the government center, replacing an old boiler in the Public Works facility, replacing an air handling unit and transforming the old jail in the government center into a data center. The first five projects on the list are estimated to cost more than $456,000.

The amount of bond money remaining could increase. Money was earmarked for a cold storage facility that may not be built, according to county administrator Tom Johnson.

With the closing of the public hearing, a 30-day comment period is now underway. The county cannot spend money on the newly identified projects until after the comment period ends.

In other action, the board:

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  • Authorized the sale of $2.57 million in taxable general obligation tax abatement bonds - and approved a loan and grant agreement, subject to bond counsel approval - between Nobles County and Lismore Cooperative Telephone Co. for financing a portion of the broadband expansion project.

Five bids were received on the bond sale, with Raymond James & Associates of Memphis, Tenn., offering the lowest interest rate at 3.11 percent.

  • Approved payment of $204,342.36 to Gag Sheet Metal, Inc., New Ulm, for work completed on the reroofing and exterior wall rehabilitation of Prairie Justice Center. The roof should be substantially complete by the end of this week.
  • Approved payment of $231,028.60 to Brennan Construction of MN Inc. for ongoing construction of the PJC garage addition. Substantial completion of the garage has been changed to Feb. 2 due to a delay in getting the wall panels, and the contractor will incur liquidated damages of $500 per day for the delay.
  • Approved a change order for the Adrian Shop addition, costing the county an additional $17,188, due to unforeseen soil corrections. The project completion date also needed to be extended 10 calendar days to March 28.
  • Approved a contract with Wenck Engineering Services for work on a proposed sewer project in Reading. In addition, commissioners authorized an application for a technical assistance grant to fund soil borings to explore a soil-based option, such as mound systems, for the community. This would be a considerably less expensive alternative, and would make it possible to apply for “more community-friendly” state funds.
  • Recognized Jessica Vargas, eligibility worker in Community Services, and Bill Brockberg, Veterans Services Officer, each for 10 years of service to the county.
  • Awarded a three-year contract for snow removal at the Nobles County Library and Government Center parking lots to Greg Gruis. Gruis submitted the lowest of two bids received for the work, charging $65 per snow event for the library and $215 per event for the government center’s Ninth Street parking lots.
  • Addressed several items with the county’s Environmental Services department, including adopting the county’s new buffer ordinance, approving the 2018-2019 County Feedlot Program delegation agreement and signing the regional Household Hazardous Waste Management Program agreement.
  • Approved a contract amendment with the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development through Jan. 31, 2018, for space leased inside the government center.
  • Approved a professional services agreement with EDI Design to design plans to replace an air handler unit in the government center.
  • Discussed, but took no action on, participating in national litigation with other municipalities and counties relating to pharmaceutical sales of opioids. Commissioners said they want to discuss the issue with others at the Association of Minnesota Counties annual meeting in a couple of weeks.
  • Approved a professional services agreement with Falls Architecture Studio for $3,000 to complete the design for improvements to the two jury rooms at the PJC.
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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