Cannon River watershed agreement advances; more County Board briefs

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Goodhue County Board voted 5-0 to approve the further planning process for the Cannon River Watershed. Action came at Thursday's meeting.

The One Watershed One Plan approach was adopted by the Board of Water and Soil Resources program. By 2025, major watersheds in Minnesota will have a comprehensive watershed management plan adopted. The county makes up around 20 percent of the 1 million-acre Cannon River Watershed.

"This isn't something dreamed up by the Legislature," said Beau Kennedy, representing Goodhue County Soil and Water Conservation District. "If we ever want to see our dollars used on water quality, this is the start on that."

Cannon Falls seeks new zoning position

While a new staffing agreement tends to bring uneasiness to the Goodhue County Board, the proposed zoning position with Cannon Falls passed 3-2. The county's half of the position's salary and benefits will equate to approximately $29,407 if someone is hired starting April 1, 2017.

The shared employee agreement with Cannon Falls, along with increasing building fees, was approved by commissioners serving Districts 1-3.

"I wouldn't support this if I didn't think it was the right thing to do for Goodhue County," Brad Anderson, District 2, said. "It's a good move for Cannon Falls and it's a good move for Goodhue County."

Ron Allen represents District 1. Dan Rechtzigel represents District 3.

Public voiced concerns at tax hearing

Following the County Board meeting Thursday, Goodhue County presented the annual budget and tax report. The meeting was open to the public and allowed time afterwards for questions and comments.

The 2017 approved preliminary levy rests at $31,103,000. This number represents no increase in 2016 tax rate and a $2,154,595 increase in the 2016 levy.

Two members of the public attended the meeting and discussed with County Board how their house tax has increased dramatically over just the past year. County staff is available to answer questions about personal tax increases. Contact commissioners, Finance Director Carolyn Holmsten, or County Assessor Betty Schultz. Contact information can be found at www.co.goodhue.mn.us.

Commissioners will finalize the 2017 budget and levy during the Tuesday, Dec. 20, meeting.

Meeting watch

Thursday's County Board lasted one hour and 29 minutes. All five commissioners were present.

— compiled by Kit Murray, staff writer