Lyon County Board appoints highway engineer

MARSHALL – After a summer of work managing highway construction projects in Lyon County, Aaron VanMoer will officially continue on in the position of county highway engineer. Members of the Lyon County Board voted Tuesday to appoint VanMoer as highway engineer.

The decision came after some extensive previous discussion by county commissioners as to whether the county would be best served by a public works director or a highway engineer. VanMoer had been serving as interim engineer since former county public works director Suhail Kanwar resigned this spring.

During a special meeting Sept. 26, commissioners directed the county board chairman and vice chairman to negotiate terms of employment to appoint VanMoer as highway engineer. Up until that point, the county didn’t have specific job terms to offer for a highway engineer. Lyon County Administrator Loren Stomberg said the negotiated terms included a four-year contract, which would run from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30, 2017. VanMoer’s salary would be $92,000, and he would have annual performance reviews.

Having free admission and parking at this year’s Lyon County Fair generated good attendance and a lot of positive feedback, fair organizers told county commissioners. However, despite visitors filling up available parking areas and attending fair events, the Lyon County Agricultural Society was seeing a negative net income as of this week.

Ag Society members Wally Wichmann and Pat Verly presented a financial report to board members at Tuesday’s meeting. The financial summary, which covered the time from Nov. 1, 2012, through Sept. 29, showed a net income loss of about $4,000.

Wichmann said the fair didn’t have as many sponsors this year as it has in the past, and Ag Society members were already working on that for next year’s fair. It might also be possible to hold special events or raise other sources of revenue, he said, but Ag Society members would need to do some brainstorming.

Commissioners said the 2013 fair went well, in spite of the deficit.

“I think the fair was very successful this year,” said Commissioner Rodney Stensrud.

Commissioners voted to approve a name change for the Southwest Minnesota Regional Radio Board. The board will now be called the Southwest Minnesota Emergency Communications Board.

Stomberg said the name change was being required by the state. “Emergency Communications” reflects a wider range of communications methods, which may be used in southwest Minnesota as technology changes.

The board is governed by a joint powers agreement between 13 counties and two cities. County board resolutions are required to amend the agreement for a name change.