Last Tuesday, March 7, Mike Rutledge and Todd Hay, representatives from Fagen Engineering of Granite Falls, spoke at the Chippewa County Board Meeting at the Courthouse in Montevideo. Rutledge and Hay presented an update on the progress of Palmer’s Creek Wind Farm. Eighteen wind turbines and one permanent MET tower will be installed on 6,150 acres of land located to the north of Granite Falls and away from the Minnesota River bluff. The wind turbines will produce an expected 44.6 megawatts of electricity, and the company will pay $3 per kw hour per year (nearly $134,000 annually) in a nameplate tax that will be distributed to the county, township, and school district. Hay and Rutledge stated that, while the turbines are being built, the project will employ 150 construction workers.
After construction in completed, the project will require five to eight permanent maintenance positions. Palmer’s Creek hopes to have the necessary permits in place so work can begin in June. In other business, county attorney Dave Gilbertson met with the board to discuss the activities of his office during February, as well as update them on court trials and investigations. County engineer Steve Kubista met with the board to report on the activities the Highway Department. He reported that the 2017 Pavement Markings and Dust Control bids will be let on April 18, 2017. The board conducted its appraisal of properties that have been forfeited to the state of Minnesota for delinquent real estate taxes. Values were placed on the properties, which will serve as the minimum price at the forfeited property sale. The board discussed the replacement of one of the Courthouse air handler units in 2017.
There are four remaining to be replaced with one being included in the 2017 budget/ The commissioners authorized the replacement of one air handler unit in the Courthouse, and also retained the services of Engineering Design Initiative to do the engineering, advertising, and project oversight during construction. The board discussed the joint powers agreement with the City of Montevideo for the management and operation of the Chippewa County-Montevideo Hospital. A motion was made and carried to retain the services of an independent counsel to review the joint powers agreement. At 1:30 p.m., bids were opened for the sale of a New Holland 354 grinder/mixer. There was one bid received from Robert Tostenson of Milan, in the amount of $200. The bid was accepted by the commissioners.
Accounting/support Supervisor Jennifer Golden met before the board to obtain approval for the promotion of Tracy Kittelson to the position of Office Support Specialist, Senior, effective March 6, 2017. Golden requested authorization to advertise to fill the position vacated by Kittelson. The board approved the promotion of Kittelson and and the advertising of the vacant position created by the promotion. The board discussed quotes received for the installation of electronic locks for exterior Courthouse doors. A quote from Twin City hardware in the amount of $11,393.23 for hardware and software and a quote from heartland Electric, Inc. in the amount of $680 for electrical service to each door. The board approved the purchase as requested. The board also discussed future plans for the County Office Building after the building is vacated by Woodland Centers. No action was taken.
Ag/Drainage director Josh Macziewski met with the board to review his plans for ditch maintenance during the 2017 season. Macziewski requested and was granted authorization to hire two seasonal employees for the 2017 season. County Sheriff Stacy Tufto met before the board to provide a report of the activities of the Sheriff’s Department during the month of February, 2017. The board discussed a request by the Chippewa County-Montevideo hospital to approve a purchase of approximately $284,119 in replacement surgical equipment. The board approved the purchase as requested. The date of the next regular meeting was set for Tuesday March 21, 2017 at 1:30 p.m. in the Commissioner’s Room in the Courthouse in Montevideo. There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned.
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