Goodhue County Board briefsFrom the meeting of Dec. 18, 2012.
Land near Lake Byllesby Park will be purchased
After weeks of tabling the matter, the County Board voted Tuesday to spend $254,000 and purchase a plot of land near Lake Byllesby Park.
The purchase will allow the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to extend Mill Towns Trail all the way to Highway 52. Eventual plans are to have the trail connect with the Cannon Valley Trail in Cannon Falls.
The County Board’s vote for approval of the purchase passed 4-1. Commissioner Ron Allen was the only no vote. “Sometimes if you can’t afford it, you have to pass,” he said.
Look for details about the purchase in Saturday’s edition of the R-E.
Per diem rates raised
Per diem rates will be raised to $50 for 2013, the Goodhue County Board decided Tuesday.
Human Resource Director Melissa Cushing surveyed some surrounding counties to learn about their per diem rates and found a wide range of results that she brought before the board. Rice County offers $55, Steele County offers $70 and Fillmore County offers $40. A few other counties hover in the $50 to $60 range.
Goodhue County currently offers $45, but Commissioner Ron Allen suggested that number be increased because of a how long meetings have been lasting for certain committees. An idea to change the rate depending on the length of a meeting was also considered.
Chair Richard Samuelson said the board should stick with a set rate. “Don’t make it more confusing than it is,” he said before seconding Allen’s motion to raise the rate to $50.
The board unanimously approved the increase.
Xcel agreement terminated
Commissioners decided to terminate an agreement with Xcel Energy that has had the county receiving payments from the power company in lieu of taxes since 2008.
The agreement was originally supposed to last 10 years, but upgrades planned at the nuclear plant next year will cause Xcel’s property taxes to increase, making the agreement unnecessary. Xcel is willing to terminate the agreement and Goodhue County Attorney Steve Betcher suggested commissioners accept the termination.
“They will be paying us more than they would have under the agreement,” Betcher explained.
First meeting of 2013 scheduled
The County Board voted to schedule its first meeting of 2013 for 9 a.m. Tuesday Jan. 8 in the board room at the Government Center.
At the meeting, the board will set the time and location for all of its regularly scheduled meetings throughout the rest of the year.
Tuesday’s County Board meeting lasted one hour and 45 minutes. All members were present.
— Compiled by Regan Carstensen, staff writer