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Nobles County approves sale of $6.54 million in bonds

WORTHINGTON -- Nobles County's AA+ Standard & Poor's bond rating attracted 10 bidders for its sale of $6.54 million in general obligation capital improvement plan bonds.

WORTHINGTON - Nobles County’s AA+ Standard & Poor’s bond rating attracted 10 bidders for its sale of $6.54 million in general obligation capital improvement plan bonds.

On Tuesday, commissioners awarded the sale to the low bidder, FTN Financial Capital Markets, of Memphis, Tenn. FTN provided a true interest cost of 2.43 percent, the lowest of all bidders. The investment firm also provided a reoffering premium of $134,000, which the county’s bond counsel, George Eilertson of Northland Securities, said could be used to finance some of the capital improvements planned if project bids come in higher than anticipated.

The 15-year bonds are slated to be repaid by Feb. 1, 2033, although the county can opt to refinance or prepay the bonds on the call date, Feb. 1, 2025.

“(Approximately) $3.7 million will be left to be paid on the bond at the call date,” Eilertson said.

The county is expected to receive the money by March 30.

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Commissioners have discussed the capital improvement projects to be funded by the bond sale numerous times. The projects include construction of a garage addition on the Prairie Justice Center, as well as a new roof for the facility, replacement of the PJC’s chiller, improvements to security, a cold storage building and a new access road for law enforcement. At the Nobles County Government Center, projects include foundation waterproofing and landscaping at the 10th Street access.

The bonds will also finance the remodeling of the Adrian Branch Library and addition to the Adrian shop; fund a new roof over the old shop building on the Public Works facility in Worthington and pay for a small backup generator.

Nobles County Administrator Tom Johnson brought forth a $70,000 bid Tuesday from the Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership to serve as project managers for all but the PJC roofing project. Commissioners approved the project management agreement.

Also approved was an agreement with Stockwell to complete the 10th Street landscaping project and Inspec to provide design services for the PJC.

There was some discussion on whether all of the projects will be completed this year. Johnson said he’s heard from two different roofers who estimate the replacement of the PJC roof will take six months.

“The initial intent is to plan to get them all done this year,” Johnson said. “As some of the designs and bids come in, it may be beneficial to delay something.”

In other business, the board:

  • Approved requests for five-year property tax abatement through the Nobles Home Initiative for Larry Davis, Worthington, to construct two single-family homes on lots 3 and 4 of the Davis Addition; and for Tom Lonneman to construct a single-family home over two lots at 819 Maine Ave., Adrian.
  • Approved, on recommendation of the Nobles County Planning Commission, a conditional use permit for Henning Construction, Adrian, to operate a new gravel pit in the southwest quarter of Section 30, Westside Township. Conditions include control of dust and noxious weeds, and that the permit will be good for six years, with a review in three years.
  • Approved a request by Roger Tweet to terminate a conditional use permit for a gravel pit on property in the southwest quarter north of the railroad in Section 6, Lismore Township. The pit has been reclaimed and the owner wants to enroll it in a conservation program.
  • Declared an air conditioning gas reclaimer, a wire feed welder, a gravel tester with sieves and a 2001 Chevy half-ton pickup as surplus property in the Nobles County Public Works department.
  • Approved a request for out-of-state air travel for Public Health Nurse Casey Borgen to attend the West Coast National Diabetes Prevention Program Regional Training March 29-30 in Denver, Colo. The county’s Community Wellness Grant will cover the conference expenses.
  • Received an annual update from Linda Sanchez, coordinator of the Manna Food Pantry. The annual fundraising campaign for the food pantry continues through March. Sanchez also highlighted the Nutrition Assistance Program for Seniors, which provides food assistance for older Minnesotans who meet the income guidelines.
  • Approved a memorandum of understanding authorizing the Nobles County Sheriff’s Office to provide server access to Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office for records management and CAD system.
  • Approved reclassification of the deputy auditor-treasurer technician position.
  • Approved a letter of support drafted by Johnson to include with a grant application for the Safe and Secure Courthouse Initiative program. Johnson said the state has $1 million set aside to assist counties with courthouse security. If the county is successful in obtaining a grant, it would be matched with funding secured through the capital improvement bonds the county sold.
  • Presented the February Excellence in Performance award to Gary Larson, facilities maintenance lead, for going above and beyond with all maintenance issues at the jail.
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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