BLUE EARTH- The Faribault County Commissioners approved a sale for forfeited buildings to be set in the fall. The board decided they would set a minimum price on the buildings and sent a copy for purchase for the Department of Agriculture.
"How did they get involved?" asked Commissioner Bill Groskreutz.
"It goes back to the owner," said County Auditor John Thompson. "If there's any contamination, it needs to get taken care of. If farm chemicals are on the site, the owners could be liable."
Each town which wants to sell forfeited buildings have 60 days to approve the sale for Faribault County to sell the forfeited buildings. Until an auction date is set, Thompson clarified they would not get any "real money." The board plans to set the auction date sometime in the fall.
In other matters, Central Services Director Dawn Fellows presented her concerns with the PERA change. In 1999, the jailer dispatchers moved to Corrections. PERA had thought the Social Security had been approved, but discovered it needed a vote. Right now PERA must go through Correction members to vote whether or not Social Security benefits would remain a part or opt out.
"What kind of vote?" Commissioner Tom Loveall asked.
"Divided or majority," Fellows responded.
Members would vote and each person who voted yes would maintain their past and future Social Security coverage if the majority vote passed. Former members would keep past coverage after a 218 modification agreement was made. Social Security would be made available to all future members. If the majority vote failed, all eligible members would stop paying in, regardless of how the person voted and current and former members would be in danger of losing Social Security credits up to three years before the vote. Also, future members will be declined Social Security.
In conclusion, the board decided on the majority vote.
"There will be 90 days of silence for the decision," Fellows said.
Before business matters drew to a close, members from the Faribault Historical Society filled up two rows. Mary Schiemk, addressed the need for new shingles on the Society's museum after she thanked them for their help in the past. Currently they have wood shingles tucked under a flat roof. Shingles have blown off from the wind storm and the roof is leaking.
Loveall inquired what future big plans the Society had in mind.
Schiemk replied they are just trying to maintain the upkeep. Currently the Society has 353 members, including those who no longer live in Blue Earth. The Society sends newsletters out and members frequently return to see what additions the group has made.
"Do you have any funding?" Thompson asked.
"Some," Schiemk answered, "but we still need a huge hunk of money."
The board informed Schiemk they would keep her updated as to what their budget would allow.
In other business, the board discussed the issue of where they should put the recyclables and solid waste in the various towns in Faribault County.
"There is no place convenient for people," Groskreutz said.
The debate also included dividing solid waste and the recyclables.
"I think we have an opportunity in Blue Earth," Loveall said. "In Blue Earth and Winnebago, I would like to make it more convenient. The fact of the policy goes by as long as the job gets done. But then that doesn't mean there's a problem with the jurisdiction."
The problem has grown into a county-wide issue, particularly in Winnebago. The court is now debating where it will work best in the county.
"There's no real option for residents to dispose of their waste and/or recycling," Loveall added. "It doesn't matter who recycles... it's not getting contained. It blows across town."
The issue was not resolved but more information will come within the next few weeks.