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March 26th, 2018 News

County Commissioners Receive Comment Regarding Highway Department Land Purchase

Murray County Commissioners met on Tuesday, March 20th. All commissioners were present, and the meeting was called to order. The agenda was approved with additions and the minutes from the March 6th meeting were reviewed and approved as well. 

Heidi Winter presented the Board with this week’s warrants. These were reviewed and approved for payment. She then presented them with the auditor warrants. These are the ones that have been approved for payment ahead of time that may have “odd” due dates or need attention sooner than the commissioner meeting schedule. They pass a resolution each year giving the auditor’s office authority to pay these, and they are emailed out to the Board. They will continue to discuss these at the Board meetings as well. She next presented them with the ditch bills for this week. These were reviewed. There was discussion about the buffer strip funds that would be used to pay for the mailings and how that was dispersed. Originally, the Board had passed dividing the funds up among the Ditch Viewer fund, Planning and Zoning fund and then leaving the remainder in the Buffer fund. Commissioner Thiner is concerned it won’t be easy to track if the state questions how these funds are used. No changes were made. The Board was next presented with 3.2 Malt Liquor and Liquor License renewals. These include Rolling Hills Golf Club, Inc., Carlson Corner, Ruppert Oil Company, Pete’s Corner, Chandler Cooperative, Trails Edge General Store. These were approved. The last item Winter had was a request to approve a general abatement for parcel #07.011.0060 Carl Russell Pilegaard. The DNR had removed his acres from native prairie exemption which then the county did, but it was discovered this was done in error and it’s been added back now. Taxes are due back to him for 2016 and 2017. The Board approved this request. 

Howard Konkol was next on the agenda. He presented the Board with two new petitions. One on JD 14 and the other on CD 34. JD 14 is a request to clean out 5,230 feet of open ditch on both sides of the State Highway 91 bridge. This was approved.  The CD 34 petition is requesting the entire tile system needs to be replaced. Konkol did speak with the petitioner and advise him this request is more of an improvement and the petitioner will discuss this with his neighbors. Konkol presented the Board with the agreement from Loo Con, Inc regarding the warranty replacement of the ADS pipes. The Board accepted this agreement.  

Justin Hoffmann next presented the Board with the annual request form Pyrotechnic Display Inc for the fireworks in Fulda during their Wood Duck Festival. This was approved. He next presented them with a request to hire David A Swenson Construction to finish the catch fence on the racetrack around turns 1 & 2. They had done the other work in the past and the majority of the materials the county already has. The Board approved hiring David A Swenson Construction for $11,000 for the labor and concrete work that will need to be done and an additional $5,000 for any materials that may need to be purchased. The last item Hoffmann had was a request to go out for bids for the work on the Blue Commercial building and the Hoop Barn. The Board agreed to go out for bids for the Blue Commercial building but felt that Hoffmann can just get quotes for the Hoop Barn as that isn’t as much work. The Bid opening was set for April 17th at 10:15 am. 

Shelly Lewis with Soil and Water, along with Craig Christensen and Mona Hinkel, were present to give the Board their quarterly update and request the first quarter fund allotment of $46,569.75. The Board approved this request. 

Jon Bloemendaal presented the Board with the annual Short Elliot Henderickson, Inc. monitoring agreement. They monitor the wells at the landfill and file the proper paperwork on behalf of the county, testing the groundwater to make sure it still meets compliance standards.  The Board approved this agreement. They also briefly discussed the recycling agreement with Pipestone County. Bloemendaal hasn’t heard any definite plans yet but anticipates hearing something mid-summer. 

At 10 am open forum was called. There were a number of concerned residents in attendance. Mr. Michael Ackerman was first to speak. He asked the Board why they were so focused on purchasing the one piece of land, weren’t there others in the county that could fit the needs of the county? The Board advised him that no purchase has been made and they are currently still looking at options. There will be a public meeting coming to discuss the building of a new highway department and its location. Jim Hoekman was also present, he approached the Board and questioned why the public hadn’t been talked to prior to buying land. If the offer had been accepted, then the County would be in a binding contract to purchase land for $500,000 which many people feel is too high. He feels a public hearing should be held before any land is purchased. He also asked for the Board to explain how 84% was going to be paid for by the State. Randy Groves was present and was able to explain how State Aid dollars work and how the percentages are figured out. More of this information will be available at the public meeting. Jim Surprenant was also present. He asked the Board if there was a limit to how much they were going to spend. The Board then put a hold on open forum, so they could hold the bid openings for the Seal Coat, Striping and Overlay projects. 

Groves opened and read off all the bids. They received 4 bids for the Seal Coat project, low bid was awarded to Asphalt Surface Technologies Corporation for $389,038.36. They received 2 bids for Striping and low bid was awarded to Traffic Marking Services, Inc. for $80,053.72. They received 3 bids for the overlay projects and low bid was awarded to Duininck, Inc. for $2,151,119.15. Groves next presented the Board with a resolution to adopt regarding state aid participation of the highway building. This resolution allows the County to use state aid dollars to pay for the building of a new shop and pay for the purchase of the land. The Board asked if this was something that needed to be done now, Groves felt it was best to get it in place so if there are any changes to funding the County is aware. The Board approved this request. 

Open forum was resumed with Jim Surprenant asking Commissioner Jens directly why he voted against the land purchase. Jens replied that he felt it was too much money for land. Concern was still expressed about the amount of money the County was going to spend on the land. They closed open forum.

The Board next heard from Dominic Jones of Red Rock Rural Water about a new expansion project that will provide water to the lakes area. Jay Tackle who is a Board member for Red Rock Rural Water was also present. Jones updated the Board on the plan, explaining where it will cover, what it will cost and how they will fund it. He will provide the Board with a letter of support for them to sign at their next meeting. 

Aurora Heard was next on the agenda. She presented the Board with the seasonal job descriptions and how many positions they are looking to fill. The Board approved the job descriptions and also approved to start the recruiting process. Marcy Barritt next joined the discussion as they talked about starting the recruiting process for the Assessor Technician position. With the change in requirements for certification in this position they would ideally like someone with AMA or CMA certification already. They decided to start recruiting for a Deputy Assessor with CMA qualification, AMA preferred qualification and will see what they get for applications. She then presented them with a request for action to back pay Jean Christoffels for when she took over the duties of the water resource job. This was discussed and approved. Heard updated the Board that Jim Reinert will be getting a new computer for the Board room as the current one has been acting up. She also gave them an update on a recent training she and County Attorney Travis Smith attended. The topics were harassment in the workplace, whistle blowing and the lack of coverage on harassment issues and how more people are coming forward now.  

The Board set a closed session for labor negotiation discussions for March 27th at 11:30 am. They also read their committee reports. 

The next item on the agenda was to go into closed session pursuant to Minn. Stat. 13.D.05, subdivision 3(b) to communicate regarding a matter that is protected by the attorney-client privilege to receive advice regarding a hostile work environment harassment issue. 


Murray County Central Schools Awarded Small Grant

The United Way of Southwest Minnesota (UWSWMN) Board of Directors recently approved several Small Grants in Round II totaling $10,500.00. The Small Grants Program is an outreach of the Community Impact funding process. The available amount of grant dollars each year is subject to change. One-time grants, up to $5,000, are awarded to organizations aligned with UWSWMN’s priority areas. More than $21,000 was also granted by UWSWMN in the Round I grant cycle.

Health:  Active Bodies Make Healthy Bodies of Murray County Central Schools

The grant will support healthy behaviors and wellness through individualized physical activity goals for each student. Improvement in goal areas is having a direct correlation to student performance in the classroom. Grant funds would purchase priority equipment focused on different muscle groups to provide MCC youth with experiences to enjoy life long fitness. Equipment would also be able to be used by future students, community education, general community members and athletic teams. Grant Award: $3,000.00.


City Council Moves Forward In Development Project Approving The Low Bid

On Monday, March 19th the City of Slayton City Council met. All members were present. The agenda was approved with additions and the meeting minutes from March 5th were approved. There was an additional claim for the work done at the Police Department and that was approved for payment.

There was no unfinished business to discuss so the Council moved on to new business. The first item was to discuss the bids that were received for the Prairie Estates Development. The City received 9 bids with 1 being removed because it was the wrong form. The estimated construction costs were $1,762,776.60 and the low bid came from Riley Brothers Construction Inc. of Morris, MN for $1,055,645.78. The Council approved the resolution 03-19-2018A awarding that bid to Riley Brothers Construction Inc.

They next discussed the TIF District that will be created because of the bond that will be issued. Shelly Eldridge with Ehlers & Associates explained Tax Increment Financing Districts and how it would work. The new development will be established as a TIF District No. 1-5. This allows the taxes that are brought in on the qualifying properties to all be designated to the bond where the taxes on the properties that do not qualify for TIF would get put into the general fund and only a portion of the tax would be able to be used back towards paying down the bond. The TIF Plan is income based with currently a 2-person household needing to be below $80,400 and a 3 or more household being below $92,460. These numbers change yearly so they will fluctuate. Be aware that the properties are not limited to those income levels, this is only relevant for taxing purposes. Any and all are welcome to purchase and build in the new development. The Public Hearing was opened for the TIF District. Murray County Commissioner Glenn Kluis was present and did inquire about the width of the easements as he felt those may not be wide enough. There were no negative feelings regarding the TIF plan and the hearing was closed. The Council approved the resolution 03-19-2018B adopting the TIF plan.

The next topic to discuss was the bonding that they would be doing to finance Prairie Estate Addition. With the low bids on the construction portion coming in as low as they did, it allows the bond to be lowered significantly. The term on the bond will be for 18 years. The next steps in the Bond process include getting a rating and releasing an official statement they will then go out for sale of the bonds on May 7th, 2018. With the Council awarding them at their meeting that evening. The estimated closing date will be June 1st, 2018. The Council approved resolution 03-19-2018C authorizing Ehlers & Associates to assist the City of Slayton in the sale of the bonds.

 Next on the agenda was a conditional use permit for Four Paws Pet Grooming to be able to function as a temporary animal impound business. The City of Slayton, City of Fulda and Murray County are in need of a location for an animal pound as they no longer have the use of the Slayton Vet facilities. It was recommended by the Zoning Commission to approve this. The Council approved this CUP.

The last item on the agenda was the renewal of the 2018 liquor licenses. These include City Limits, The Grain Exchange, Slayton Country Club, Slayton Aryian, LLC (BP), Slayton Liquor, Beaver Creek Archery Club, Murray County Racing Association and Broadway Bowl. These were approved pending paperwork and payments.

There was no other business to discuss and the meeting was adjourned.


Murray County Medical Center Earns Accreditation For Sleep Study Services

Murray County Medical Center’s Sleep Study Program recently earned accreditation by the Accreditation Commission for Health Care (ACHC). This three-year accreditation ensures that Murray County Medical Center’s Sleep Study Program meets or exceeds all required standards set forth by ACHC.  All ACHC accreditation surveys are conducted by Sleep Specialists who offer evidence-based best practices to ensure all quality measures and standards are met or exceeded. 

“We are thrilled to receive this Sleep Study Accreditation,” stated Kris Rohrer, Respiratory Care Manager, Murray County Medical Center. “This accreditation confirms the quality and strength of the Sleep Study Program we are happy to offer to Murray County residents and the surrounding communities.

Sleep apnea is very common. According to the National Sleep Foundation over 18 million Americans suffer from this disease. If sleep apnea is left untreated it can have serious and even life-threatening consequences such as: high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, depression, memory problems and weight gain.  

Risk factors for sleep apnea include: 

• Being male

• Being overweight

• Over age 40

• Large neck size (17 inches or greater for males and 16 inches or greater for females)

•Large tonsils, a large tongue or small jaw bone

• Having a family history of sleep apnea

•Having Gastroesophageal reflux (GERD)

• Nasal obstruction due to a deviated septum, allergies or sinus problems 

Along with the accreditation, other benefits of choosing Murray County Medical Center for Sleep Services include:

• Convenient and local

• Simple referral process

• Fast referral to study scheduling

• Quick interpretation turn-around time

• Follow-up with local professionals

Sleep studies are scheduled through a physician/provider referral.  If you or someone you know may be a candidate for a sleep study, talk to your provider today or call MCMC at 507.836.1234 and enjoy the benefits of accredited sleep services here in Slayton at Murray County Medical Center.



DHIA Awards Presented For 2017

Murray/Cottonwood Counties Dairy Herd Improvement Association (DHIA) award banquet and annual meeting was held at the Pizza Ranch in Slayton on March 19, 2018.  

Dairy production awards for 2017 were presented by Extension Educator Melissa Runck.  

Premier Dairy Award went to Kidman Dairy (Dick and Wade) of Balaton for the highest three-year average of 26,425 pounds milk and $4,634 dollar value. 

Top Herd Award went to Thistle Dew Dairy (Bruce & Jane Pederson, Westbrook) with 27,976 pounds milk and $4,971 dollar value.

Johnson Dairy (Dean & Elizabeth Johnson) of Heron Lake received first place in Low Somatic Cell Count with a score of 1.7.  Kidman Dairy and Corner Post Farms (Ben & Connie Post, Chandler) tied for second place with 2.2.

Schwartz Dairy (Dave) of Slayton received Most Improved Herd Award with an increase of 1,205 lbs. milk and $318 dollar value. 

Top Cow (#2486) was awarded to Bar-D Holstein (Dan & Trish Dysthe, Slayton).  She produced 37,085 pounds milk and dollar value was $6,805.

Top Two-Year-Old Cow (#426) award went to Van Eck Dairy (Don & Cody Van Eck, Ruthton) with 28,057 pounds of milk and $5,875 dollar value. 

Lifetime Cow awards were given to Kidman Dairy for cow #3340 with 272,451 pounds of milk and Vander Wal Dairy (Greg & Alan Vander Wal, Slayton) for cow #3273 with 329,130 pounds of milk, cow #3401 with 276,713 pounds of milk, cow #3799 with 264,066 pounds of milk, cow #3862 with 261,222 pounds of milk, and cow #3755 with 259,742 pounds of milk. 

Door prizes and cash contributions for the event were received from ABS- Bruce Iverson, AMPI – Carolyn Bootsma, Agropur, Blue Hilltop-Lake Wilson, Chandler Co-op, Chandler Feed, Chandler State Agency, Crop Insurance Specialists-Jan Kluis & Ruth Dibble, Slayton, Edgerton Vet Clinic, Gorters Clay & Dairy of Pipestone, Mike Jouwstra Milk Hauling, JPW Nutrition-Jason Prins, MN Select Sires, Pipestone Vet Clinic, Schaap Milk Hauling, Kim Schlecht, Veterinary Medical Center-Slayton, and State Bank of Chandler.

The 2018 Murray/Cottonwood Counties DHIA Board of Directors include: President – Greg Vander Wal, Slayton; Vice President – Grant Post, Lake Wilson; Secretary-Wayne Spielman, Westbook; Treasurer– April Post, Lake Wilson; Directors – Wyatt Post, Chandler and Dean Johnson, Heron Lake.