WORTHINGTON - The Nobles County Board of Commissioners will host a public hearing in early December to discuss the potential transition to true county assessing, which would replace the individual property assessors hired by townships in the past to conduct property assessments.

Nobles County Assessor Valerie Ruesch outlined the benefits of transitioning to true county during Tuesday’s board meeting, noting that the process will be more cost effective for local governments, the assessors will be hired by and answerable to Nobles County and that a true county system would result in a more consistent and higher quality of assessment. She also said the complexity of law changes and the need for accurate data collection makes it necessary for assessors to be professional and knowledgeable.

A public hearing is required prior to county board action on the matter. The hearing was scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Dec. 6 in the boardroom, located on the third floor of the Nobles County Government Center in downtown Worthington.

It’s anticipated the board will take action on the request following the public hearing. If true county assessing is approved yet this year, it will take effect Jan. 1, 2020.

In other business, the board:

  • Amended the lease agreement with Independent School District 518 for space within the Armory Business Center for the school’s gymnastics program. The school’s new gymnastics facility will not be ready by the start of the season due to weather delays during construction.
  • Was notified of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources acquisition of an 80-acre tract in Dewald Township Section 26. Named the Sweetie Marie Rall tract of the Lambert Prairie Wildlife Management Area, the property features 28 acres of native prairie, with the remainder being restored prairie. The tract generated $2,562 in non-homestead tax revenue for Nobles County in 2018, while the new payment in lieu of taxes (PILT) is estimated at $3,600.
  • Authorized Public Works Director Stephen Schnieder to purchase two used 2006 pup trailers (for hauling gravel and rock) from Council Bluffs, Iowa, at a cost of $42,000 total - a savings of $78,000 compared to buying new; and to purchase a like-new heavy duty tractor-mounted snowblower at a cost of $8,000 - about half the cost of buying new. Because the items were part of the public works’ 2019 budget, commissioners requested the used equipment be paid for by 2018 undesignated funds.
  • Approved final payment of $3,593.94 to Salonek Concrete & Construction for completion of the Adrian shop addition.
  • Approved a new three-year memorandum of agreement between the county and University of Minnesota Extension for 2019-2021, and received a 4-H program update from Nobles County 4-H Program Coordinator Katie Klosterbuer. The youth program grew to 420 members in 2017, up from 211 in 2014-2015, and the number of adult screened volunteers has grown to more than 100 - 23 of those added in the last four years. The largest growth in the program is due to collaboration with the EDGE after school program in ISD 518.
  • Authorized advertisement for bids for the demolition of tax-forfeited property at 127 Thompson Ave. N., Rushmore; and directed staff to auction a tax-forfeited property at 205 S. Chestnut, Ellsworth.

County Administrator Tom Johnson described the Rushmore property as dilapidated beyond repair. The Ellsworth house, while in good structural condition, has a really bad odor.

  • Adopted a resolution to turn back a sight triangle in the northeast corner of the Oxford Street and Diagonal Road intersection, as requested by landowner NutriPro Biosystems Inc. The sight triangles were originally in place with the old railroad crossing and are no longer needed after the railroad was abandoned.
  • Approved the job description for a new office manager/legal assistant position within the Nobles County Attorney’s office. The position is slated to be added in 2020.
  • Approved a letter of support for Southwestern Minnesota Opportunity Council Head Start, which is reapplying for a five-year Health and Human Services grant to provide Head Start services in the four-county service area.
  • Recognized Jane Feller, public health nurse in Nobles County Community Services, for 15 years of service; and Anthony Vetsch, Rock-Nobles Community Corrections agent, for 10 years of service to Nobles County.
  • Welcomed Kris Shaffer, new public health nurse supervisor.