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County settles dispute with landscaping company

WORTHINGTON -- Nobles County commissioners on Tuesday voted to settle a dispute with a company it hired to install new walkways and complete landscaping last year on the Government Center property in downtown Worthington.

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WORTHINGTON - Nobles County commissioners on Tuesday voted to settle a dispute with a company it hired to install new walkways and complete landscaping last year on the Government Center property in downtown Worthington.

The vote was taken after County Administrator Tom Johnson reported he, along with board chairman Matt Widboom and vice-chairman Justin Ahlers, met recently in mediation with Splitrock Landscaping & Nursery of Brandon, S.D., as well as attorneys for both sides.

Splitrock was hired by the county to do the work, but it was actually a subcontractor, JRDS Construction of Sioux Falls, S.D., who completed the unsatisfactory concrete work at both the 10th Street and Fourth Avenue entrances to the building.

Johnson told the board Tuesday that the parties reached a resolution in which the county would pay the landscaper $10,000, on top of what has already been paid, and the company will walk away from the project.

Splitrock Landscaping & Nursery bid $227,000 to do the work, but had been paid just $95,000 due to issues with workmanship.

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Paying the $10,000 “will leave us with enough money to finish the project,” Johnson said.

Ahlers said a $14,000 check issued to Splitrock was sent back, and noted the $10,000 will be in lieu of that returned check.

“We are accepting some risk now,” Ahlers said, adding that none of the work completed by the company will be under warranty.

“Anything that’s replaced will be warrantied by the company that finishes the work,” added Johnson.

Ahlers said it is in the best interest of the county to pay the $10,000 and moved for its approval. It passed on unanimous vote.

In other business, the board:

  • Recognized Christopher Janssen, highway maintenance worker in the public works department, for 10 years of service; and Lori Walker, deputy auditor-treasurer doing accounting in the auditor-treasurer’s office for 35 years of service.
  • Approved the annual township road allocation. This year, $529,835 will be divided among the county’s 20 townships. This is roughly $5,850 less than what was allocated last year.
  • Approved signing a petition to vacate up to six inches of right of way in the 200 block of Ninth Street to allow Forbidding Barrel Brewing Co. to increase the width of an exterior wall to meet current building standards.
  • Appointed Alicia Jensen, Worthington, to a three-year term on the Travel Southwest Minnesota board.
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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