Okabena-Ocheda Watershed sets 2017 budget

WORTHINGTON -- The Okabena-Ocheda Watershed District Board of Managers on Tuesday approved a 2017 budget of $324,700. Revenues for the coming year will come from a $303,000 levy the board set in September as well as reimbursements from the Clean ...

WORTHINGTON - The Okabena-Ocheda Watershed District Board of Managers on Tuesday approved a 2017 budget of $324,700.

Revenues for the coming year will come from a $303,000 levy the board set in September as well as reimbursements from the Clean Water Partnership, funds from the Worthington Stormwater program, rental income from watershed property and permit inspection fees, among other miscellaneous income.

The 2017 budget is a $115,650 increase over 2016, with $106,000 of that earmarked for survey and data acquisition ($50,000) and the Lake Ocheda Enhancement project ($56,000).

Increased expenditures are also identified for watershed projects, the district’s filter strip incentive program, property maintenance and an increase in OOWD Administrator Dan Livdahl’s salary and health insurance coverage.

In other business, the board:


  • Received a report from Manager Rolf Mahlberg on a personnel evaluation completed on the district administrator. Mahlberg said board members gave the Livdahl’s work marks of excellent and commendable. Those ratings, along with written comments, were shared with Livdahl prior to Tuesday’s board meeting.

During the meeting, board members subsequently approved a 3 percent pay increase for the administrator, from $53,973 to $55,600. Unanimous approval was also given to cover the increase in Livdahl’s health insurance, from $8,112 to $9,800, for a total package increase of 5.34 percent.

  • Learned a $428,000 grant application written by Livdahl will be recommended for funding by the state’s Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR). Grants will be awarded Dec. 14. The funding is sought by the watershed district to fund 75 percent of the cost to increase stormwater ponds and install iron sand filters on the former Prairie View Golf Links property.

If the grant is approved and contracts can be completed, construction could begin in 2017, Livdahl said.

  • Agreed to re-establish filter strips on watershed district-owned property along U.S. 59/Minnesota 60, near Worthington’s city limits. Buffers had been in place on the property for two years, but were plowed up this fall by the new renter.

Mahlberg said the cost to re-establish the buffers should be on the watershed district, as the plowing wasn’t intentional.
“We represent best management practices - that’s our marketing (focus). Best management is to buffer,” Mahlberg said.

  • Discussed the former Vogt property purchased by ISD 518 and the potential to work with the school district on establishing a filter strip on the property.

Livdahl inspected the existing filter strip on the property and reported to the board that it is well-maintained, but there is an area where a filter strip is needed.
“(It) is not required to be seeded to filter strip, but it’s the right thing to do - it needs to be there,” he said.

It was decided that Livdahl and Mahlberg will meet with ISD 518 Superintendent John Landgaard to discuss the matter.

  • Approved a new lease agreement with Nobles County for office space in the county’s Public Works Building, 960 Diagonal Road, Worthington, for the watershed administrator. The five-year lease, which includes an automatic renewal for a second five years, begins Jan. 1, at a monthly rate of $225. Internet services will be a part of the rental agreement.

  • Received an update on road maintenance in Lake Bella Park, which is watershed district property. Due to saturated soils, deep ruts were created in an off-road path between the two shelter houses in the park. The district has installed fencing to keep vehicles off the path.
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.
What To Read Next
Navigator CO2 Ventures is hoping to streamline the application process in Illinois as they add an additional pipeline to the mix.
The North Dakota Highway Patrol is investigating the Wednesday, Jan. 25, crash.
Testimony to the top House committee from a convicted attendee of the Jan. 6 rally focused on the "inhumane" treatment of Jan. 6 defendants. The committee rejected a resolution on the matter 12-0.
Rep. Fred Deutsch, an opponent of last year's failed cannabis ballot measure, introduced a proposal to disallow consecutive attempts at statewide referenda. A House committee rejected the bill 10-2.