County says ‘wait for budget process’ on Minneota Veteran’s Memorial project

Minneota American Legion Commander Jim Fink got an answer from the Lyon County Board on Tuesday. After nearly a year of getting the Minnesota Legislature to allow counties to contribute to veteran memorial projects and repeated delays by the board, Fink was told to wait longer and see what happens in the 2018 budgeting process.

“I’m hoping to have a first draft of the budget in two weeks and adopt it later in September,” said County Administrator Loren Stomberg.

“I would like to propose a plan to put a cap on what we give and give a certain percentage of project dollars without exceeding a certain amount. That way we can be fair to everyone,” said Commissioner Gary Crowley.

While commissioners seem to want to throw the matter into a budget process, Commissioner Crowley made a motion, “To give the Minneota project 20 percent of the project, not to exceed $20,000 and not to accept another project for one year.”

The motion died for the lack of a second. “This is something good for the town of Minneota, the county and it’s always going to be there,” said the commissioner.

“It’s something that will be sitting there forever,” he said.

“I think it’s very important,” Commissioner Crowley said. “I have no problem helping with the project, but my only question is when other projects are proposed,” said Commissioner Charlie Sanow.

“I think it’s kinda early because while it’s a good idea, we need to know how much to budget for the entire county,” said Commissioner Sanow. While Commissioner Crowley indicated Minneota could be given funds now, without dedicating a total amount for the future, Commissioner Sanow wasn’t so sure, indicating a total amount should be known before any funds are given.

Marshall has appeared before the board indicating they will enhance their project, but have not produced a dollar amount.

“I feel uncomfortable handing out a random amount,” said Commissioner Sanow. “I wasn’t figuring on a dollar amount but want to budget it for next year,” said Board Chairman Paul Graupmann.

“We need to know from the cities of Taunton and Ghent as to what their plan is,” said Commissioner Steve Ritter.

He also said he would have liked to have known Commander Fink’s proposal before he took it to the state legislature. Fink initially was told the county couldn’t address such issues regarding requests for funds to help with the Minneota Veteran’s Park Project. Fink went to the state legislature and specifically to Sen. Gary Dahms and Rep. Chris Swedzinski and the law was changed to allow such contributions.

However, after asking the board for funding, he was put off for several months — until Tuesday. With the extra donations, Fink indicated he’s ordered supplies and work on the new memorial will begin this summer/fall. County staff has researched to see if other memorial projects will be upcoming in the county and Administrator Stomberg indicated none are upcoming and that Cottonwood has completed their project.

Garvin Park getting improvements

The Lyon County Board Tuesday took initial steps to approve facilities at the Garvin County Park. The board decided to make the improvements themselves rather than seeking a Legacy Grant so that Legacy funds could go toward further development of Twin Lakes Park near Florence.

The first order of business to improve the park is a Garvin Park Footbridge. Two quotes were received and the board accepted the low bid for the footbridge that connects the Main Picnic Area and the River Shelter and nearby hiking trails.

Wooden planking to finish the walkway will be provided by the county. The low bid from DeSmet Weldors and Machine Company was $10,240 for the metal materials and fabrication. Roger Schroeder of the Public Works Department indicated the entire bridge project would be around $20,000.

The board will also take bids on a prefabricated shower/restroom facility building for the upper campground. The board would like to have the facility installed before this winter.

Byron Higgin

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