YMC Board approves courthouse request for proposals

GRANITE FALLS – The Yellow Medicine County Board approved a request Tuesday for proposals detailing the construction costs and requirements for the new county courthouse.

Earl Fuechtman, project manager with Contegrity Group, brought to the board a draft RFP outlining projected costs for the courthouse project. Construction costs are estimated to run $4.5 million, with a total project cost of $5.8 million for the roughly 21,000 square-foot facility. A timeline draft presented by Fuechtman suggested that design and development could start in August, with bids being awarded in April 2015. Construction would then be expected to start in May 2015 and be completed at the end of June 2016.

In other business, County Administrator Peg Heglund reported to the board that groundwater had seeped into the lower level of the current courthouse after heavy rain just more than a week ago. Heglund said that the carpet and possibly some woodwork and drywall will need to be removed, and the area will need to be thoroughly cleaned to prevent the spread of mold. The county’s Public Health and Veterans’ Affairs departments were using the space at the time of the flooding and have since been moved temporarily. The board will need to decide if its wants to restore the lower level or if renting temporary office space until the new courthouse is completed will make more financial sense.

“It doesn’t make sense to dump a lot of money into it if they’re moving out,” said Commissioner John Berends.

Regardless if the space is repaired, it will still need to be cleaned so mold spores are not spread through the HVAC system in the building to other floors. Heglund said that she will explore possible solutions and report on her findings at a later meeting.

A permit was granted to the Lincoln Pipestone Rural Water System for construction of a water line that would pass under Yellow Medicine County Road 5. The line would connect the rural water system to a home that had its well contaminated by a nearby landfill. The landfill in question is currently closed and is owned by the county but managed by the state. The board was surprised by the request because it was the first it had heard of any contamination from the landfill. Jolene Johnson with the county Planning and Zoning department said that there are multiple monitoring wells around the landfill and that she would investigate the matter.

The board discussed the possibility of instating a wheelage tax for 2015. The $10 per vehicle tax would help reduce property taxes and would only be used by the county Highway Department. If the board decides to impose a wheelage tax, its decision will need to be reported to the state by Aug. 1. Heglund said that she would put the issue on the next meeting agenda.

A conditional use permit was granted to Chris and Casey Long to construct a 102′-by-200′ hog confinement barn that would house 2,400 hogs. The permit included two conditions stating that the applicant must plant and maintain two rows of trees on the north and west side of the barn and that pit and/or feed additives must be used to control odor.

County Engineer Andy Sander presented bids for wet reflective edge and center line striping on Yellow Medicine County Road 3 from St. Leo to Minnesota Highway 68. The low bid of $89,877.40 from AAA Striping Service Co. was accepted by the board.

County Attorney Keith Helgeson presented a contract for legal services with the city of Clarkfield and the board approved it. The city will employee the county to prosecute criminal misdemeanor cases. Helgeson said that he spoke with his staff and reviewed the city’s caseload and determined that his department would be able to handle the extra work. The contract would also help the city of Clarkfield save money on legal expenses. The board asked if extra staff or hours would be required and Helgeson said not at this time, but if other cities show interest in contracting with the county, they would need additional staff.