Yellow Medicine County approves pipeline

GRANITE?FALLS?- The Yellow Medicine County Board approved a request for a conditional use permit from Marshall Municipal Utilities on Tuesday to build about a mile-and-a-half of water pipeline in the county.

MMU requested permission to build a section of raw water pipeline in Normania and Sandnes townships with the Rural Preservation Management District. The Yellow Medicine County Land Use and Related Resource Management Ordinance requires a permit for essential services.

The issue was first introduced at the Yellow Medicine County Planning Commission meeting on Oct. 8 and encountered no objections from landowners, provided the route is along the right of way and no farmland is disturbed.

The permit was issued on condition the county and townships are not liable for any expenses incurred if repair or relocation of the pipeline becomes necessary, that MMU will be responsible for any expenses for damage to county roads and MMU will repair or replace any tile lines cut during construction of the pipeline.

The pipeline will conduct raw water from three existing wells. Construction is scheduled to begin next year.

County Finance Director Michelle May briefed the board on a comparison of budget schedules as of September 2013, and last year’s budget, as part of the county’s search for ways to cut expenditures and reduce the deficit.

According to May, total revenues this year stand at 59 percent of the 2013 budget, as opposed to 61 percent last year. Total expenditures are currently 78 percent of budget, as opposed to 77 percent last September.

The 2013 budget deficit is $334,000. According to May, the difference is driven by the purchase of the Fagen Building and expenses related to renovating the building for county office space.

After some discussion about expenses, the board voted to table consideration of County Engineer Andy Sander’s request to purchase a new truck with plow equipment and box for $58,000, and in a separate motion to table Sander’s request to purchase a Lowboy Trailer for $58,000.

The board agreed to reconsider the request for a truck at the next meeting after it has heard from a Highway Department mechanic about the condition of the truck to be replaced.

Commissioner Greg Renneke suggested looking into the possibility of adding a third axle to the trailer the Highway Department currently uses to transport heavy equipment rather than buying a new trailer.

The board voted at the suggestion of County Assessor Connie Erickson to apply for a PRISM (People Responding In Social Ministry) grant for $4,750 to offset programming costs for converting the county property assessment database into a format compatible with all state counties.

According to Erickson, there are nine different formats used by Minnesota’s 87 counties.

Erickson acknowledged the amount offered by the grant program would cover only a fraction of the cost of upgrading the county database, but the state government has mandated bringing all county databases into compliance.

Approval was unanimous, Commissioner Louis Sherlin was absent because of illness, though Commissioner Gary Johnson voiced his vote as, “Reluctantly aye.”