Board discusses pier, water quality incentives

MARSHALL – Tuesday’s meeting of the Lyon County Board was a fairly short one, but county commissioners still addressed several items of business, including two with ties to bodies of water in Lyon County. Commissioners voted to approve an agreement to maintain the fishing pier on Lake Yankton. They also heard an update about an incentive program for water quality projects in the Yellow Medicine River watershed.

Lyon County Board Chairman Rick Anderson presented commissioners with a draft cooperative agreement with the state of Minnesota for maintenance of the Lake Yankton fishing pier. Anderson said the lake has had a fishing pier since 1988, and the current pier does see a lot of use from area anglers. However, the pier does need regular maintenance, including lifting and moving it in the fall to protect it from winter ice damage.

Anderson said the city of Balaton was interested in working with the county to maintain the pier and has been involved in working out the agreement. At Tuesday’s meeting, Commissioner Steve Ritter suggested having Lyon County Attorney Rick Maes also review the agreement.

After reading through the terms, Maes said, “It appears the county is essentially taking on another park, with all your responsibilities (in the agreement).” He said the county may also want to define some of the terms of the agreement more specifically, like what constituted “major structural repairs” instead of “maintenance.”

Anderson said it was a similar situation to when the county took over responsibility for the Twin Lakes boat ramp in southwestern Lyon County.

Commissioners passed a resolution to send the agreement to the state, contingent on Maes’ approval of the agreement, and the city of Balaton entering into a maintenance agreement with the county.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Lyon County Planning and Zoning Administrator John Biren and Commissioner Rodney Stensrud also gave an informational update on an incentive program from the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources. The program is seeking to give grant funding to projects that improve water quality on eligible watersheds. The grants also require a 25 percent local match.

Biren said the Lyon Soil and Water Conservation District is pursuing grant funding from the program for projects in the Yellow Medicine River watershed district. Biren said the Lyon SWCD has sent out letters to landowners, explaining what kinds of projects could be paid for through grant funds and asking for suggestions. Possible projects include building water and sediment control basins, alternatives to open tile intakes, or dam repairs.

Commissioners voted to accept a quote from Babel Enterprises, Inc., of Marshall, to demolish a vacant house on North Bruce Street in Marshall. Lyon County Administrator Loren Stomberg said Biren had received quotes from two contractors to demolish the building, which is located near the Redwood River on the portion of North Bruce Street known as “Skunk Hollow Road.” The county is the recipient of a grant that would reimburse the cost of demolition for the house.

Once the house is demolished, Stomberg said, the only structures that would be allowed to be built on the property would be those allowed on a floodplain. That would include outdoor structures like picnic tables, he said.

At $6,500, Babel Enterprises had the lower of the two quotes received, Stomberg and Biren said. Biren had received a third quote, which came in after the first two had been placed on the board’s agenda.

‘There wasn’t a hard and fast cutoff” to turn in quotes, Stomberg said. However, board members said it wouldn’t be fair to consider the later quote along with the other two.

Commissioners approved a joint powers agreement with Yellow Medicine County, for Lyon County to provide solid waste services to Yellow Medicine County in 2014. Stomberg said the agreement was basically the same as the 2013 joint powers agreement, except for a $1 increase in the hourly service rate paid by Yellow Medicine County. The current agreement uses a rate of $39 an hour.

Stomberg said the Yellow Medicine County Board had already approved the 2014 agreement.