County to reconsider prosecution service contract

WORTHINGTON -- Nobles County Commissioners have opted to reconsider a decision they made in late February regarding termination of an agreement with the City of Worthington for prosecution services.

WORTHINGTON -- Nobles County Commissioners have opted to reconsider a decision they made in late February regarding termination of an agreement with the City of Worthington for prosecution services.

The agreement, established in 2003, states the county will provide criminal prosecution and legal services for the city.

At its Feb. 20 meeting, county commissioners moved to terminate the agreement, effective Feb. 28, 2009, because of staffing shortages in the county attorney's office. The county has had to contract with a private law firm to meet the obligations of the agreement with the city.

In a letter mailed to the county last week, the City of Worthington expressed interest in maintaining the prosecution services and would continue to pay 25 percent toward the expenses of the county attorney's office, which would include up to five attorneys and 4.4 support staff.

"I think this proposal is very constructive," Nobles County Attorney Gordon Moore told commissioners during their meeting on Tuesday.


Moore said since the city and county began working together on prosecution, it has become a model for other counties and municipalities.

"From my standpoint, having the city help fund us makes sense," Moore said.

Commissioners will discuss the issue further during a work session slated for March 11.

In other action, the board:

* Discussed a proposal from the City of Worthington regarding possible relocation of the Nobles County Library. Commissioner Norm Gallagher said an option would be to construct a new library in conjunction with a senior center on the former Campbell Soup property.

"At the current time, I would not be in favor," Gallagher added.

Commissioner Diane Thier, who serves on the library board, said the library is always looking for more space, and suggested perhaps the Nobles County Art Center and Historical Museum could be moved off site to free up space.

"We do have an elevator in the library, so we would be able to use the space (in the lower level)," Thier said.


Commissioners David Benson and Vern Leistico both voiced support for the idea.

Benson said he was frustrated in recent years with the lack of vision on certain projects. He specifically cited noncooperation regarding the Central School building in the community.

"I've seen other communities work together," Benson said. "There could be saving (by working together), and hopefully, we could bring the community together."

Leistico said the county should keep its options open.

"I think a senior center and a new library will be a good thing to have together," Leistico said.

Commissioners will discuss the issue further at its March 11 work session.

* Approved a conditional use permit for Absolute Communications, of Hinton, Iowa, to construct a 405-foot radio tower on the Leo Julius property in the northwest quarter of Section 22, Ransom Township.

* Declared a 1998 Ford Tandem truck with snowplow equipment as surplus property. The truck will be offered for sale.


* Approved payment of $3,000 for the Rural Minnesota Energy Board 2008 dues.

* Approved the renewal of an on-sale beer license and set-up permit for Prairie View Golf Links.

* Received a report from the Southwest Minnesota Private Industry Council regarding client participation in its diversionary work program and Minnesota Family Investment Plan.

* Approved a Family Service Agency guardianship contract with Cyndi Burrell at a rate of $20 per hour for a maximum of $800 per year.

* Approved a resolution to submit to the Department of Human Services regarding more inpatient hospital beds to serve hard-to-place clients.

* Appointed Jan Johnson Ojinnaka to the child protection teams in Nobles County.

* Approved the reappointment of Tom Ahlberg of Worthington to a three-year term on the Nobles County Park 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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