Lincoln County saves money refinancing rural water bonds

IVANHOE?- Acting on the recommendation of Ehlers and Associates public finance advisory firm, the Lincoln County Board approved refinancing of $3.125 million of general obligations bonds for the Lincoln-Pipestone Rural Water System.

According to Shelly Eldridge, representing Ehlers at the board’s regular meeting on Tuesday, refinancing the bonds will save the system $280,000 over the remaining nine years of the payment period. Repayment comes entirely from special assessments on users.

The board convened a hearing on Judicial Ditch 19 to hear a report by Bolton & Menck, Inc. consulting engineers and surveyors, read by Environmental Director Robert Olsen.

At the Oct. 1 meeting, the board deferred action on a request by Vernon Skorczewski to add five 40-acre tracts of land he owns to the drainage system, pending an engineering survey. At the meeting, a number of property owners whose lands drain into JD 19 expressed concerns the addition of another outlet would overload the capacity of the ditch during heavy rains and drown out some of their acreage.

According to the report, the capacity of the ditch to handle the additional drainage is adequate for the additional load, with losses in the downstream areas along the ditch estimated at about $9 per year.

Acting on Bolton & Menck’s recommendation, the board voted to approve Skorczewski’s request.

  • The board opened bids for three-year haying leases on three parcels of land owned by the county. Of three bids submitted, two individuals bid on the same two parcels of land: 11 acres north of U.S. Highway 14 and 13 acres south of the highway.

Each bidder won one parcel apiece. The parcel north of the highway was leased for $751, the south parcel for $260.

A third parcel at the old county landfill had a single bidder who bid $500.

The board heard a presentation by Lyon County Environmental Administrator Paul Henriksen on the financial state of the Lyon County Regional Landfill. Lincoln County is one of several counties that use the Lyon County landfill.

Henriksen briefed the commissioners on the need for capital improvements, equipment and the effects of inflation and rising costs.

According to Henriksen, to stay solvent, the landfill will have to raise tipping fees, currently at $40 per ton, to $45 per ton by 2019. According to figures supplied by Henriksen, the effect of the increase would be to raise residential garbage bills from the current rate of $12-$15 per month to $12.18-$15.23 per month.

Board Chairwoman Joan Jagt asked for the consensus of the board, who agreed that of the alternatives presented they recommended raising the tipping fee by one dollar per year.

Lincoln Soil and Water Preservation District Administrator Pauline VanOverbeke gave the board a budget presentation for 2014 and said the district would be asking the county for $115,000 in the next budget.

On the request of Women’s Rural Advocacy Program (WRAP), the board issued a proclamation naming October Domestic Violence Awareness Month in Lincoln County.