County wants city to help pay

BLUE EARTH – Faribault County commissioners balked Tuesday at taking full financial responsibility for a uninhabitable Frost residence.

County Auditor John Thompson informed the group that the house burned a year and a half ago and there is no way to secure it. Estimate on demolition is $10,000.

Commissioner Tom Loveall asked why the county has to take care of it.

Thompson said wording of a state law indicates taking care of a hazardous property is a county’s responsibility.

Apparently, the city of Frost decided not to help on the cost of demolishing the building, but commissioners would like cities to at least split the cost in these situations, so all the county residents do not have to pay.

“Other cities have done it on their own,” said Commissioner Tom Warmka. “It’s not fair. Why would somebody in Winnebago have to pay for something in Frost?”

A motion was made to hire Dulas Excavating of Wells to perform the demolition. Commissioner John Roper voted yes, but the others dissented, and the motion failed.

Warmka suggested the board have a face-to-face meeting with the Frost City Council to discuss the situation.

“Our policy’s been, we pay half,” Loveall said.

In other business Tuesday, Dawn Fellows of Central Services said Deputy Steve Linde has announced he will retire Nov. 30. Fellows asked permission to advertise the position internally. The board approved.

Fellows also asked the board to approve Faribault County and Martin County working together on transit planning restructuring. The board approved adopting the study goals.

On another topic, Steve Mohr of Midcontinent Communications questioned why there was an expiration date on the conditional use permit for the 72-count fiber optic cable the company is installing in the right-of-way of County Road 16. Mohr pointed out the cable is permanent. The expiration date meant the company would have to re-apply for the permit every two years.

In the past, having an expiration date gave the board a chance to re-evaluate the agreement, especially as circumstances changed, Loveall said.

The board approved the agreement and eliminated the expiration date.

In other business, County Engineer John McDonald said residents have complained about people having property in county road rights-of-way without permission. He suggested the board pass a right-of-way encroachment policy. If complaints are received, the county would investigate and issue a notice to clear out the unauthorized property in 10 days or it will be removed.

The board adopted the policy.

In other action, the board approved changing the time of the Dec. 17 board meeting to 4 p.m. so the Truth-in-Taxation hearing can follow.