Commissioners get update on County 5 south of Chatfield

Gretchen Mensink Lovejoy

Fillmore County commissioners during a regular meeting Tuesday, Oct. 1, heard county engineer Ron Gregg speak about plans for the repair of County State Aid Highway (CSAH) 5 between Fillmore and Chatfield, where a persistent landslide problem has caused road hazards for motorists. 

Gregg cited that efforts had been made by previous county engineers to address the problem, but that the underlying difficulty is that the soil base underneath the road is clay that liquefies and erodes after rainfall.  He stated that the best solution to properly deal with the absence of a solid roadway is to construct a land bridge that will have piles driven into the bedrock to support the surface above. 

Costs for this project will be accommodated by leftover funding after Gregg secured federal monies for the CSAH 1 project that offset available funds for other expenditures. 

Commissioner Mitch Lentz commented that the efficiencies that have been made possible through careful financing of other projects means that future projects will not be in jeopardy of being left out due to lack of money.

“There’s a tremendous amount of traffic coming from 5 and 2 out of Chatfield to County 1,” Gregg said.   

Fraud update

In another matter, Wabasha County Sheriff Rodney Bartsh and Wabasha County Fraud Investigator Nathan Barker gave an annual update on fraud prevention efforts. Their services are available to Fillmore County through an agreement that provides personnel to carry out investigations into whether assistance benefits are being abused.  They reported that they collected $24,088 from July 1, 2017, to June 30, 2018, and $37,049 from July 1, 2018, to June 30, 2019. 

Conservation items

Zoning administrator Cristal Adkins presented a resolution for an ordinance amendment to the Fillmore County zoning ordinance regarding performance standards in the ag district.  The commissioners obliged with a vote.

Anne Koliha, an engineering technician in conservation planning at the Fillmore County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD), and new Fillmore County SWCD administrator Laura Christensen joined Adkins as they asked that the commissioners consider the $70,096 natural resources block grant agreement (NRBG) with the state of Minnesota for fiscal year 2020-2021 and septic treatment system grants for 2020.  The NRBG includes funding for shoreland, septic treatment systems, local water management and the Wetland Conservation Act.  The commissioners approved the grant agreement.    

Other business

Human resources officer Kristina Kohn requested permission to hire a replacement social worker in the Public Health Department effective Oct. 17, as well as a social services case aide who will begin on Oct. 16.  Social worker Sarah Hall and case aide Sharon Miller were given the positions.   

The consent agenda included approving the minutes of the Sept. 24 board meeting.