Lyon County puts road retention project on fast track

Three and one-half years of negotiation and planning has been completed for a road retention project between Section 6 of Nordland Township and Section 31 of Eidsvold Township.

Lyon County commissioners approved the final funds for the project on July 5. The project will benefit the Yellow Medicine River basin three miles south of Taunton.

It will support the Eidsvold 31 road retention project already in place to the immediate northeast.

“We will move on this immediately,” Kerry Netzke, Executive Director of Area II Minnesota River Basin Projects, told the commissioners.

“The plan would be to get this project up and functional before harvest,” she predicted. A state bonding appropriation will pay for three-quarters of the $116,000 project. The Yellow Medicine River Watershed District, Nordland Township and Eidsvold Township previously had provided a total of $20,000 for the project.

Lyon County’s share is $9,099.32, to which the board agreed. Netzke pitched for the commissioners’ approval by promising the possibility of a refund.

“If the project comes in under the estimate,” she said, “the savings will go to Lyon County.” That’s a possibility because the proposal contains a 10% contingency estimate for cost overruns.

Commissioner Gary Crowley recommended using existing funds from Soil and Water for the project. The commissioners approved the proposal unanimously. In his report to the board, Commissioner Charlie Sanow expressed disapproval with the budget process in the Plum Creek Library System.

“The director was late presenting a budget. We didn’t even see it for the first time until June 21,” he said.

The deadline was July 1. Then penalties would kick in and state funding would be reduced.

“The director planned to assess each county for updates to the old building,” Sanow said. But the updates were removed from the budget. Despite the tight window, the library system budget was completed on time.

“County commissioners think a little differently than librarians,” said Sanow. “We aren’t touchy-feely.”

Commissioner Steve Ritter raised the recurring business item of funding a veterans memorial in Minneota.

“Mr. Fink in Minneota has a request. It needs to be addressed,” he insisted.

“We would make a decision when the budget comes out and see if any other cities ask for money,” said Commissioner Rick Anderson.

No action was taken regarding the memorial, but Ritter asked for a resolution at the next board meeting. In other business, the board hired Haley Spielman, a student at SMSU, as a part-time custodian.

The commissioners also approved Caleb Johnson to be hired as a correctional officer. Johnson has a four-year justice degree from SMSU.

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