County board discussion goes from roads to landfill

MARSHALL – With work continuing on a planned recreational trail in Lyon County this summer, county commissioners also needed to continue the transition after its former public works director resigned.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Lyon County Board Chairman Rick Anderson volunteered to serve as the county official authorized to sign Legacy Grant papers for projects including the Marshall to Camden Park bike trail and development of Twin Lakes Park. Anderson said former public works director Suhail Kanwar had written grant applications for both of those projects and had served as the contact person for the grant paperwork.

The board voted in favor of authorizing Anderson to sign the grant papers.

County board members also accepted the county highway department’s 2012 annual report. The report had been prepared by Kanwar but was presented Tuesday by interim Highway Engineer Aaron VanMoer.

The highway department had $9.6 million in expenditures in 2012, with the majority of those expenses in road and bridge construction. The average cost per mile for county state aid highways was about $5,200, VanMoer said. Average costs for county roads were about $7,100 per mile, and average costs for municipal state aid highways was about $5,000 per mile.

The report also included information on performance measures, including the miles of crack filling and sealcoating completed on county highways in the past 10 years. The highway department filled cracks on 44.5 miles of road in 2012 and completed 21 miles of sealcoating. Both figures were up from 2011.

Later in the meeting, a neighbor of the Lyon County landfill who has brought concerns to the board in the past was back to speak to commissioners. Donald DeLanghe said he recently found trash blown from the landfill on his land when he was trying to till a field.

Lyon County Environmental Administrator Paul Henriksen and landfill staff said trash was picked up on the property all winter, weather permitting. By the time DeLanghe came to till the field, they said, it should have been clean. Anderson asked if DeLanghe contacts the landfill about cleanup before tilling the land. DeLanghe said he does not.

DeLanghe also said part of his farmland has developed wet spots after the landfill hooked up a storm basin to his drainage tile. Henriksen said the landfill has an easement and paid DeLanghe to connect to the tile line. The rest of the line is private, Henriksen said.

Anderson said he would like to see county staff examine the connection to see if anything was wrong that would cause water to collect there.

“It’s the change of terrain” in developing the landfill that caused the wet spots, DeLanghe said.

Lyon County resident Tim DeVries also spoke up from the audience and said he was concerned about property the landfill had previously purchased from his father. DeVries said he thought the land was to be used as a “buffer zone” for the landfill, not for construction of a new landfill cell.

“If I knew that, we would never have sold it to you,” DeVries said.

“I don’t know that we can give you an answer today,” Anderson said. DeVries’ issue wasn’t on the agenda for Tuesday, and the board wasn’t prepared to go over the contract, commissioners said. Anderson said the county would look into the matter.

The board approved a conditional use permit request from Chris Nibbe to operate a gravel pit in Coon Creek Township. Lyon County Zoning Administrator John Biren said the CUP would designate part of 160th Avenue and 210th Street as haul roads. Biren said the haul roads were chosen because the CUP request had received feedback from township residents opposed to using 200th Street and part of 160th Street.

Commissioners also approved hiring Brad Digre to fill the county’s Geographic Information Services Manager position. Digre would start work on May 28, and would have an annual salary of $55,800, said Lyon County Administrator Loren Stomberg.

Commissioners revisited the issue of rising costs to publish delinquent tax notices in the county’s official newspaper. Interim County Auditor/Treasurer E.J. Moberg said total costs had jumped significantly this year because the number of delinquent properties was up. The cost per notice had actually gone down, he said.

“We do try to recoup the costs,” through fees, he said.

The county is required by law to publish the delinquent tax listings, Moberg said. In researching the issue, he said he found some counties try to cut back on publication costs by simplifying the legal descriptions of the delinquent properties.