Development group reports good results

BLUE EARTH – Faribault County Development Corporation is helping more businesses, director Linsey Warmka reported to the county commissioners Tuesday.

Warmka discussed the corporation’s 2013 annual report. In 2012, the group served 71 businesses. In 2013, it served 80.

The entity’s services include start-up assistance, feasibility assessments, strategic planning, building/site search assistance, business plan development, marketing and market research, financing/capital counseling and needs assessments.

“All of my services are confidential,” Warmka said, except when a business receives federal funding.

She listed some success stories: Kiester Grocery, StateLine Cooperative’s new grain facility near Guckeen and the North Industrial Park in Blue Earth.

The progress of the North Industrial Park was of interest to the board. Warmka noted the project has been held up while the jurisdiction of the Army Corps of Engineers is evaluated. Congressman Tim Walz has been notified about the delay, she said, and he is working on six other projects involving Corps of Engineers’ jurisdiction.

Warmka believes it is important to get the project back on track so work can begin this year. Otherwise the project would be postponed until next construction season.

In other business before the commissioners, Dawn Fellows of Central Services explained a Wellness Policy that will be added to the personnel policy. It will give $40 per employee to spend on wellness services. Employees already get credit for using a fitness center a certain number of times per month. The Wellness Policy will expand the services for which employees can receive credit. The board approved the policy.

In action items, the board approved two conditional use permits, one for a used vehicle dealership and the second for a fertilizer tank.

The first permit was for Kenneth Schroeder in Clark Township for a used vehicle dealership. Michele Stindtman of Soil and Water read the permit’s conditions, including that the lot will have no more than five vehicles displayed for sale at any given time.

Commissioner John Roper pointed out there are repair shops and implement dealers in the same area already, so it’s not as if Schroeder’s enterprise will be the first.

The second permit was for Cargill of Marna in Emerald Township. Dan Theilen, plant manager, said the facility already has three fertilizer tanks, as part of the original permit and is requesting the fourth.

In other business, the board approved

o Selling a 2008 Dodge Ram pickup for $16,000 to another county department and buying a 2014 Ford F-150 from Fairmont Ford for $32,374.

o A low bid of $126,225 from Ulland Bros. to build a turn lane and bypass lanes on County Road 16 by Stateline Cooperative’s new grain facility. County Engineer John McDonald said the bid was well under the engineer’s estimate of $157,890.