Goodhue County Board gave final approval to a large and long-planned sale of Highway Bonds at its August 19 meeting.
Doug Green, of Springsted Inc., told the board that there is a very low number of bonds for sale at present. "Investors are desperate to find bonds to invest in," he said. As a result, the County will pay just under 1.79% interest on the $7,760,000 bonds, ensuring that loan payments from County revenue continue below the $2 million per year level. "Highways are a priority for us," noted Commissioner Jim Bryant as he moved the motion to sell the bonds, which was unanimously approved.
Road Project Report
In road project news, Hwy. 24 is now open from the new Hwy. 52 interchange to Hwy. 25. At their August 7 meeting, the Board approved the start of eminent domain proceedings to acquire the last parcels of land needed for the project, after unsuccessful negotiations with landowners that have lasted over a year.
Work on Hwy. 18 in Welch Township is also complete. The Prairie Creek bridge in Stanton Township is complete, with approach grading under way. Work has started on Hwys. 10 (east of Zumbrota), 11 (in Cherry Grove Twp.) and 12 (in Roscoe Twp.). These roads will remain open, with traffic control when needed. Hwy. 6 traffic between Hwys. 1 and 9 will remain diverted until this major rebuild is completed in 2015.
The County Planning Advisory Committee (PAC) presented proposed changes to the County Planning and Zoning Ordinance covering solar energy installation to a Red Wing meeting on August 18.
Speaking for the PAC, Commissioner Dan Rechtzigel told the Beacon that, in the past, a few private solar systems have been approved as an "Accessory Use," but large scale systems have not been very feasible in Minnesota. "They are now much more feasible here," he said, "so we are working on clear language to present to the Board. It is likely that residents who want a system for their own home or business will need a simple permit. Larger arrays, producing enough power to sell, will need to go through the Conditional Use Permit process. Above a certain threshold, arrays would need PUC (State Public Utilities Commission) approval."
The PAC is concerned there are still problems with reflecting energy systems - that is, those involving the use of mirrors to concentrate the sun's rays to a central receiver - so those are unlikely to be approved at this time.
August Primary Turnout
Commissioners Rechtzigel and Seifert monitored turnout in the August 12 primary elections. Countywide, turnout was 15%. Though much higher than the 2012 figure of 9%, it was much lower than the 26% recorded the last time the Primary was held in September. This is important for current debates on whether it is wise to hold the Primaries in the height of summer.