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Faribault County Council took action at its Tuesday May 4 meeting to apply for the community development block grant coronavirus (CDBG-CV).
The subsidy does not require any public contribution and is intended for the development of broadband.
If the county gets the grant, it could mean that five other small towns in Faribault County could have access to fiber, according to Annie Nichols, a specialist with the county’s Economic Development Authority (EDA).
“This grant would allow us to speed up the process of installing fiber in homes in Elmore, Bricelyn, Frost, Delavan and Easton,” Bill Eckles of Bevcomm told the commissioners.
Nichols explained that the total grant request would be $ 2.8 million.
“Since the communities listed meet the income requirements of the program, Faribault County is eligible to apply,” she commented.
“Kudos to Annie and Bill Eckles for staying on top of this,” said Commissioner Tom Loveall.
One of the requirements of the grant is that the county hold a public hearing, which the county council has scheduled for Thursday, May 20 at 6:30 pm The meeting will be available through Zoom.
“It would be a good thing for the county,” offered board member Greg Young. “Having high-speed internet access will help make homes more attractive to those looking to relocate to another area.”
Eckles mentioned that there will be another grant to apply for later this summer.
“If we got this grant, we could cover the rest of Faribault County in three years”, He shared.
Public Works Director Mark Daly attended the meeting and informed board members that the additional Supplementary Appropriation Act funds in the amount of $ 234,031 will be available after July 1.
“We have not yet received details on how these funds can be spent,” Daly commented.
Daly also told commissioners that new road signs have been ordered.
“The total cost of the panels is $ 83,000”, Daly shared. “We are buying and installing half of the panels this year and we will do the other half in 2022.”
In his update on construction schedules for the year, Daly said work on the bridge projects would not begin until mid-August, while overlays on Highways 16 and 1 help County state would begin in mid-July.
He also had other news regarding SCSH 16.
“The Minnesota Department of Transportation conducted a speed study on CSAH 16 from Blue Earth to Fairmont (the route is named CSAH 26 in Martin County),” said Daly. “CSAH 26 in Martin County was approved for 60 mph, but CSAH 16 was not. The reason given was that there were too many “Left the road” crashes on CSAH 16. “
Daly told board members that there is a possibility that the speed limit will be increased after the overlay is complete.
“If we add shoulder rumble strips when we resurface the road this summer, it may improve the chances of the highway being designated as a 60 mph highway,” Said Daly.
Following discussions with council members, it was decided to remove the 50 mph speed zones at Guckeen and Brush Creek.
Daly also reported that refurbishment work on SCF 31 near Walters was completed this week.
“We may or may not be able to prepare for it this year,” Said Daly. “The total cost of the project is now projected at $ 1.6 million instead of the $ 3.1 originally planned.”
Moving on to other matters, council received an update on finding a new county attorney.
“We received two applications for the post”, Young told his fellow council members. “We are in the process of planning interviews with potential candidates”, Young said.
The search for a new county prosecutor became necessary when Kathryn Karjala submitted her resignation in early April.
The effective date of Karjala’s resignation is July 2. Karjala offered to help with the transition phase of a new lawyer if one of them can be hired before he leaves.
The commissioners also:
• Received an update on Le Sueur One Watershed, One Plan (1W1P) from GIS Coordinator Brandee Douglas and passed a motion to bring Faribault County priority issues and plan expectations to 1W1P.
• Voted for the appointment of Julie J. Stenzel to the County Library Board. Stenzel will complete Susan Dundas’ term, which ends on December 31.
• Adopted a motion approving the sale and refurbishment of plot no. 22.241.0650 in Bricelyn in order to correct the burn.
• Approved the request of Brady Rauenhorst, who works in the county appraiser’s office, to attend a general appraiser income course, which he will take online.