WORTHINGTON — Nobles County commissioners on Tuesday took the next step in its quest to raze an Adrian property that was previously deemed hazardous and a public health nuisance.

Nobles County Administrator Bruce Heitkamp informed the board that property owners LeRoy and Lori Pettibone had vacated the property at 108 Kentucky Ave., Adrian, by the June 1 deadline. As of 5 p.m. that day, the doors were padlocked on the house.

“We’ve been talking to the city of Adrian about mowing the grass that is two feet tall,” Heitkamp told commissioners, adding that he also contacted Plunkett’s Pest Control about going through the property to do any pest abatement prior to demolition of the house.

Since the county had worked on this issue with the Pettibones for the past two years, Heitkamp said quotes for demolition of the house were obtained in 2019. He contacted both businesses that provided quotes, and both were willing to do the work at the same price they quoted in 2019.

Jeppesen Gravel’s bid of $10,500 was accepted by commissioners Tuesday. While this was the higher of two bids, Soo Sanitary Excavating of Sioux Falls had many open cost figures in its bid, meaning the cost could be higher.

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Jeppesen Gravel, based in Sibley, Iowa, has done previous work for the county, and Heitkamp said it does really nice work returning a property to a buildable lot.

“He is pretty confident it would come down in 30 days — after we’ve completed what we need to do,” Heitkamp said of Jay Jeppesen.

“If we can get rid of this place in 30 days or less, I think we need to move forward,” said Commissioner Donald Linssen.

Commissioner Justin Ahlers questioned whether Jeppesen could still do the work for the amount quoted, considering there is much more garbage on the property than there was two years ago. He suggested Jeppesen take another look at the property and then determine if he's still comfortable with his bid.

Heitkamp said he’d talk to Jeppesen and if he wants to change the quote, asked for permission to seek new bids immediately.

In other action, the board:

  • Approved an agreement with the Minnesota Department of Transportation to install signals and gates for the railroad crossing on Nobles County State Aid Highway 4 (320th Street) near Minnesota 60, north of Bigelow. The county will receive $196,906 in federal aid through MnDOT, which covers 90% of the cost. The remaining 10% ($21,878) will be paid by the county using state aid funds. The project was included on the county’s five-year road improvement program, and is the last paved roadway along the Union Pacific Railroad in Nobles County that does not have signals and gate protection. The project will likely be done in 2022.

  • Voted to pay farmers for crop damage resulting from drainage improvement projects in a timely manner, rather than when the project is completed. This action is taken because some projects can stretch out for more than a single crop season.

  • Set a 4% interest rate to be applied to all liens from the county’s general fund as a result of maintenance, repairs, assessments and project expenses incurred by ditch systems.

  • Accepted a $13,535 bid from DoorMen of Lucan to replace an approximately 30-year-old overhead door at the Public Works facility with an insulated roll-up door.

  • Approved a new job description for a floater position between the auditor-treasurer’s department and recorder’s office to include duties with the license center. The process will now begin to fill the vacancy.

  • Authorized Wenck Associates to draft a proposal to the Minnesota Legislature to consider funding for a sanitary sewer system for the unincorporated community of Reading. The request, due June 18, will be included in the state’s 2022 list of potential budget projects.

  • Tabled a request for an annual leave payout exception for Sgt. Ryan Kruger as he transitions into the appointed role of sheriff. The county is awaiting guidance from its labor attorney and will discuss the matter further at a special meeting at 5 p.m. June 15, which is an hour prior to its Board of Review meeting.

  • Approved on a 4-1 vote, with Commissioner Justin Ahlers opposed, a $10,000 increase in the appropriation to the Nobles County Fair Association. The NCFA was to receive a $25,000 appropriation in 2021, but due to a clerical error, a letter was sent to them that stated it would receive a $35,000 appropriation. The $10,000 will come from county reserves, and commissioners expressed having more discussion with the fair board prior to their 2022 appropriation.

  • Approved a request from Allen Brands, Leota, to receive five-year tax abatement through the Nobles Home Initiative on construction of a new shouse (machine shed/house) at 11042 Beckering Ave., in the Landhuis Addition, Leota.

  • Approved a request from Zachary Schmitz, Round Lake, for a conditional use permit to operate a home-extended business inside a machine shop on the Susanne Murphy property, rural Worthington.

  • Recognized Auditor-Treasurer Joyce Jacobs and an employee in the department, Jase Pater, as the May Excellence in Performance award recipients. On April 22, Jacobs and Pater extinguished a fire, presumably caused by a lit cigarette, near Door #2 (the Third Street entrance), before it had a chance to spread and cause property damage. Pater is the safety monitor, and Jacobs has extensive training and background in safety.