Lyon County Board talks capital projects planning

MARSHALL – A strategic planning session for Lyon County capital improvement projects made up the majority of discussion for Lyon County Commissioners on Tuesday. While commissioners put forward their suggestions on priorities for county building projects, the discussion didn’t result in a formal plan of action.

Lyon County Board Chairman Rick Anderson said the county has several capital improvement projects that have either been proposed, like extensive remodeling to the county courtrooms, or are currently in progress, like development of the Twin Lakes county park. Commissioners needed to consider which projects to prioritize, Anderson said.

Commissioner Mark Goodenow said the Twin Lakes Park project was one priority.

“I think it’s at the top of everybody’s list,” Goodenow said. Not only has the project been in the planning and development stages for a long time, it has received grant funding that requires construction take place soon, commissioners said.

However, Lyon County Engineer Aaron VanMoer said there are some design factors that need to be finalized before park construction can be completed, including the layout of campsites and specifics for park restrooms. Commissioners agreed that an updated park design needed to be brought before the county board and the Lyon County parks board.

The future of the Lyon County District Court and the third floor of the Lyon County Government Center was also brought up. The court is in need of updated wiring and more space, and the county has received quotes for a space study that would come before a remodel. Commissioners also discussed general space issues with the county government center and suggested exploring additional space for government center offices, maintenance and storage. Those suggestions included everything from partnering with the city of Marshall as it considers building issues with its city hall to purchasing additional building space.

“I think the next step is to hire an architect for the space study,” Anderson said.

Other possible capital projects that commissioners had discussed in the past were also brought up, including updating the county commissioners’ chambers, or finding a more productive use for the gas that’s currently being burned off at the Lyon County landfill.

Commissioner Charlie Sanow said he just wanted to see the board take a more decisive approach to projects in general.

“I think we need to stop talking about this,” Sanow said. “Let’s put some numbers and priorities together.”

Anderson said the board would set aside capital projects for its next strategic planning session and focus on county employee retention issues.

Commissioners addressed several items of business earlier in Tuesday’s meeting. One was a resolution supporting changes in state law that would allow counties to post public notices online instead of being printed in an official newspaper. Lyon County Administrator Loren Stomberg presented the resolution, which would show the county’s official support for two bills currently before the Minnesota House and Senate.

If passed, the bills would “help clear up some language currently in legislation” on public notices, Stomberg said. In particular, they would allow counties to post public notices and bid advertisements on county websites instead of or in addition to printing them in official newspapers.

The cost of printing public notices is a topic that has been brought up by county commissioners in the past. Posting public notices on the Lyon County website could cut back on those costs, Stomberg said.

If the bills pass, the county wouldn’t necessarily stop printing public information in newspapers altogether, Lyon County Attorney Rick Maes said. A summary form printed in the county’s official newspaper could direct members of the public to the county website.

Commissioners voted in favor of the resolution of support.