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Nobles County still plans safety fixes to Oxford-Crailsheim intersection despite high bid on the project

The board agreed to have the county engineer assess his workforce’s capabilities to complete the work and obtain quotes for materials.

FILE PHOTO: Worthington Middle School students cross the busy intersection of Oxford Street, also known as Nobles County 35, and North Crailsheim Road, also known as Nobles County 10.
FILE PHOTO: Worthington Middle School students cross the busy intersection of Oxford Street, also known as Nobles County 35, and North Crailsheim Road, also known as Nobles County 10.
Tim Middagh / The Globe
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WORTHINGTON — While planned safety improvements to the intersection of Oxford Street and Crailsheim Road and to the Intermediate School entrance on Crailsheim Road have hit a snag, the Nobles County Board of Commissioners still hopes to complete the projects this year.

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Duininck, Inc., submitted the sole bid for the project last week at $696,045.12 — $296,914.62 higher than the estimated cost of the work — and the board unanimously rejected the bid, as recommended by Nobles County Engineer and Director of Public Works Aaron Holmbeck.

“We should do something, and I would recommend that we do do something,” Holmbeck said.

The board agreed to have the county engineer assess his workforce’s capabilities to complete the work and obtain quotes for materials for the project prior to a meeting of the board set for 4:30 p.m. June 14.

Commissioners planned to invite representatives of District 518 and the city of Worthington, as both entities are stakeholders in the project.

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Holmbeck noted that, at bare minimum, county staff could install a driveway access to the Intermediate School, possibly pave a new right-hand turn lane there, and make the planned safety enhancements to the Oxford-Crailsheim intersection, which he said was “the easiest job to do with county forces.”

In other news Tuesday, the board:

  • Approved moving forward with an application for a $5,000 CARES grant through the Minnesota River Area Agency on Aging, Inc., to support Farmers Market projects for people age 60 and older.
  • Awarded the sale of bonds for its $21 million shared ditch project with Jackson County involving ditches 9, 13 and 24, through negotiated bank placement, Webster Bank being the purchaser, at a rate of 3.67%.
  • Agreed to serve as a host site for the senior community service employment program under the direction of the Southwest Minnesota Opportunity Council.
  • Received the 2021 feedlot report from feedlot officer Chris Prins. Because the feedlot officer position was vacant for four months, the county conducted 32 feedlot inspections for an inspection rate of 6%, while the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency requires a 7% inspection rate — half an inspection short. The county will not go on probation, given the length of time the position was vacant, but it will not be eligible to receive Performance Credit funds of about $2,000 in 2022 for 2021 work, and must submit a list of planned 2022 inspections to the MPCA for review and approval.
  • Received the latest Human Service Performance Management Report, which includes measures for Cash Assistance and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program application processing. The report found that in 2021, 98.4% of applications were processed in a timely manner and 80% of expedited SNAP applications were processed in one business day. Both numbers are well above the state thresholds.
  • Agreed Nobles County Community Services should submit an application for evidence-based family home visiting grant funds from the Minnesota Department of Health. Nobles County does not currently use an evidence-based curriculum in its home visiting program due to the cost of accreditation and some of its specific requirements, but a new program has a more flexible and customizable model. The $245,000 in new funding would allow the county to build a more sustainable program.
  • Approved a $25,000 per month contract with Eckberg Lammers, P.C., for assisting the County Attorney’s Office for six months while two of its assistant county attorney positions are vacant. Many counties across the state are experiencing difficulties hiring for similar positions, said County Attorney Joe Sanow.
A 1999 graduate of Jackson County Central and a 2003 graduate of Augsburg College, Kari Lucin started writing for newspapers in Minnesota and North Dakota in 2006. During her time as a reporter, she covered beats including education, watershed, county and agriculture, and frequently wrote about health and science. She has also served as an online content coordinator and an engagement specialist at various Forum Communications properties. She was a marketing assistant at Iowa Lakes Community College in Estherville for two years, where she did design work in addition to writing and social media management.

Lucin is currently a community editor with the Globe of Worthington.

Email: klucin@dglobe.com
Phone: (507) 376-7319
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