Murray County Commissioners
County Moves Forward with Grant to Increase Broadband in Community
By Joanne Bergman
The Murray County Board of Commissioners met on June 1, 2021 with all five members present in the meeting room. Luke Schryvers, CEO of the Murray County Medical Center presented his monthly report of activities to the Commissioners. Covid vaccine is now available to those 12-16 years of age. Testing is still available for the virus; however test numbers have dropped sharply over the past month. Of the 65 year and older group 73% have received the vaccine. County wide the percentage of those 16 yrs and older is at 52% of total population. Finances for the month of April were very positive with $2.2M in cash in hand and $2.3M in depreciation. Four $500 scholarships have been awarded with the proceeds from the employees participating in Jeans on Friday. Dr. Lang is slated for retirement at the end of July. Tom Bergman, P.A. is ready to begin practice and Paige Freeman will be coming back from leave. Masks continue to be required within the facility per State regulations.
Terry Nelson of Woodstock Communications, Inc. was present along with City of Slayton Administrator Josh Malchow in a joint public hearing. Action was taken by both entities to approve a grant agreement request for $2,398,460 for installation of broadband capabilities in the west part of the City of Slayton and designated areas in the south and west parts of Slayton Township. MN Employment and Economic Development determined the boundary lines for the project. Broadband has been a recognized need for rural communities. The monies come from the remaining funds of a Covid grant to the State of Minnesota.
Ditch Inspector Travis Radke along with Don Reffer of D& W Control Specialists were on hand to discuss the costs of spraying drainage ditches. This will be the third of the last four years that this has taken place. The current plan has the ditches divided into three sections with one section to be sprayed each year. The not to exceed cost of each ditch was listed in the contract varying from $1500-$6,500 for each.
IT Tech Jason Lohrenz asked for an expansion of the Eagleview Pictometry Agreement of $800. For that amount photos will be taken of county lands every two years, up from the current three years. The photos are used for land use planning, by assessors, realtors, the soil and water district and landowners. The $800 will be paid from the Buffer Strip Enforcement Fund budget while GIS and Land Use Budgets will continue to fund the balance as in the past.
Highway Engineer Randy Groves advised the Board of the upcoming retirement of maintenance worker Bruce Platt. Platt will have worked 38.5 years for the department. He will be honored with an in house party on June 10. Groves presented two quotes for appraisal of the County Highway Department property at the intersection of Highways 59 & 30 for possible sale following the construction of a new facility. The Commissioners while agreeing on a future need for an appraisal price did not feel that it was necessary at this time.
Zoning Administrator Jean Christoffels presented two Conditional Use Permits for consideration. Matthew Hart requested the construction of an animal feedlot of 300 or more animal units in Sec. 17, Fenton Township. An extension of one year was included with the permit due to rising construction costs with approval given to the permit. Brandon Lolkus requested a CUP to construct an one lane underground shooting range for his personal use, a business and use of law enforcement. This will be located at his residence in Sec. 9, Slayton Township and was also given approval.
Christoffels presented a request for improvement and enlargement of the beach at Sundquist County Park on West Lake Sarah at a cost of $350. While the campground has been enlarged the beach area was not and has now become crowded and is in need of repairs. A Grading and Filling Permit was needed for the work with the $150 permit fee waived in approving the request.
Dominic Jones of the Red Rock Water System asked for county support of bonds for the construction of a new water treatment plant in Cottonwood County. The 40 year old plant will be replaced with a plant of larger capacity at a cost of $7.1M to mainly serve Cottonwood County residents. A much-anticipated project to bring RRRW to the west side of Lake Shetek is in the planning stages for construction in three to five years.
Chief Deputy Heath Landsman presented the 2021 State of Minnesota Boat and Water Grant in the amount of $13,344 to cover the costs of patrolling Murray County’s lakes. Three new portable radios have been purchased at a cost of $10,224.60 to replace older units.