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First Goodhue County Board meeting of 2017

A new year means a new Goodhue County Board. After the 2016 election, District 5 Commissioner Paul Drotos and District 3 Commissioner Barney Nesseth were welcomed Tuesday to their seats for the first meeting of 2017.

Ron Allen, District 1, was voted as the new county board chairman, with Jason Majerus, District 4, voted as vice chairman. The county alternates these positions at the beginning of each year, Allen noted, to give each district a chance to hold the chairmanship.

Building codes put in question

Each year, Goodhue County provides State Building Code administration services to smaller communities such as Bellechester in the county. The agreement is a continuation from the previous year by listing existing laws, codes and ordinances.

Due to a lack of understanding whether the board could change to the international building code instead of the state code, commissioners decided to have a Committee of the Whole meeting to discuss it. Commissioner Barney Nesseth advocates a less stringent code in hopes of boosting the housing stock.

County Attorney Steve Betcher warned commissioners how difficult the process of changing the building codes can be. "If there's going to be a change in the building codes, that would have to be approved by each community," he said. "This is just the actual mechanism for helping them enforce their building codes. We have looked at withdrawing from the building code in the past, it tends to be extremely difficult."

Commissioners approved the enforcement contracts with cities. Discussion will continue within a month.

Meeting watch

Tuesday's County Board lasted 46 minutes. All five commissioners were present. The board voted to continue with its current schedule for meetings the first and third Tuesdays of the month, with the first at 5 p.m. and second at 9 a.m.

— compiled by Kit Murray, staff writer

Kit Murray

Kit Murray joined Red Wing Republican Eagle in Aug. 2016, covering government, transportation and public safety. She is a graduate of Minnesota State University Moorhead with a degree in photojournalism and philosophy. 

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