Goodhue County Board voted 5-0 Tuesday to push back any community solar garden proposal. Since August 2015, Public Works Director Greg Isakson compiled research and data to supplement the project, in hopes that it could bring in money for the county by saving electricity costs. Isakson presented further research to the Committee of the Whole and options to consider.
"The whole thing is built on assumptions — it's a house of cards," Commissioner Brad Anderson said.
After about 25 minutes of discussion, commissioners decided the cost versus benefit wouldn't even out at this time, mostly due to materials and companies being in the early stages of development.
Board Chair Dan Rechtzigel said, "I don't know if anyone wants to close and lock the door, this just isn't the right timing. I think we'll wait for a sunshiny day."
Kenyon Park named, for time being
For legal recording, Kenyon Park was named and dedicated to the public. The name can be changed in the future.
Goodhue County Board approved the motion 5-0 and allowed the process to move further, with a conditional-use permit passed and rules and ordinances put in place. Rules are expected to change after the master planning process, which is slated to take about a year. A few Goodhue County Park rules include: open hours, no fires and closing the park during hunting seasons.
Informal budget discussion encourages lowering numbers
A large portion of the budget discussion centered on cutting costs. Commissioner Ron Allen proposed cutting Public Works costs by holding off purchasing a new grader, thus shaving $100,000 off the budget, and bringing the projected budget increase to below seven percent.
Public Works Director Greg Isakson warned about trying to extend current equipment and suggested putting away a portion of the funding for repairs. "You're playing with the risk, you have no idea how long it's going to last."
Other commissioners were indifferent. "I have mixed feelings about it." Dan Rechtzigel said. "I don't mind trying it as a pilot project, but my concern is that this will now become practice."
Jason Majerus suggested changes in the department as a viable solution.
Isakson argued that plows start on roads with the most traffic. Solutions can be found by increasing workers or increasing shops.
The board took no action.
Tuesday's County Board lasted one hour and 15 minutes, not including a 47-minute closed meeting beforehand. All five commissioners were present.
— compiled by Kit Murray, staff writer