On the county sheriff’s plate:

New radios, Russell contract, emergency plan

Sheriff Eric Wallen got the portable radio replacements he desired despite having to wait an extra month while the Lyon County Board reviewed the cost of the six units.

“I make the motion we make the purchase of six Motorola APX4000 Portable Radios for $3,608.45 per unit from Motorola,” said Commissioner Rick Anderson. Sheriff Wallen present bids for portable radios for his department. At the last meeting, the sheriff presented a bid only from Motorola but the board requested he get more bids so they could compare prices. The sheriff indicated the current radios needed replacement at this time.

Sheriff Wallen previously said Motorola radios would cost $3,608 per unit. After obtaining more bids, including from RACOM of Worthington, with a per radio cost of $2,846.70 for the Kenwood brand and $3,780 per unit for the Harris brand.

However, the sheriff said, “There would be additional costs with the Kenwood and Harris radios, including programing costs.” He told the board, “I am most comfortable with the Motorola brand,” indicating servicing the radios has worked well in the past.

“Motorola is used by 95 percent of law enforcement companies. We feel it’s reliable. This is a lifeline to our staff center and to the officers and it’s the only way they can communicate. I want to feel comfortable with these radios,” said the sheriff.

IN SHERIFF-related action, the board:

•Agreed to continue providing law enforcement to the City of Russell for two years. The sheriff’s office provides about 10 hours per week or 40 hours per month at an annual rate of $23,616 for 2020 and at a rate of $24,326 annually in 2021. “We’ve been in a contract with them for many years,” said Sheriff Eric Wallen. “They voted to extend for two years,” he said. •Renewed an agreement to continue to participate in the Region V Homeland Security and Emergency management Association. There are 18 counties and two tribal nations involved. The new contract includes the addition of the Upper and Lower Sioux Tribal Nations plus an update of the equipment fee schedule. •Approved a grant agreement with the Minnesota Department of Public Safety for the Emergency Management Performance Grant. Lyon County was awarded $22,492 to be used for the county emergency manager personnel wages and fringe benefits. “Each county is required to have an Emergency Operations Plan,” said Sheriff Wallen. The plan was originally maintained by the Lyon County Emergency Manager. Sgt. Matt Hoestra told the board, “It’s changed with additions every year.” The plan lays out the operation of the county in event of tornadoes, floods, blizzards and other natural disasters. Phase Two of landfill construction to begin Finishing the addition to the Lyon County landfill became a priority for the county board on Tuesday. They approved a bid of just over $979,150 from Rachel Contracting of St. Michael for construction of Phase Two of the landfill construction project. Phase One of a new cell of the landfill was done last year and now it’s time to do Phase Two and finish the project. The county board also approved Burns & McDonnell for professional consulting services for the landfill construction oversight and consulting services and engineering for the year 2020.

IN OTHER action the board: •Regarding county government expenses for the coming year the board:

—Approved a new 2020 fee schedule. “A few changes were made, some in the sheriff’s office and several more,” said County Administrator Loren Stomberg. This covers all charges for services in Lyon County.

—Approved a raise in per diem from $65 to $75 per meeting for commissioners with a maximum of $140 for a full day of meetings. The commissioners did not raise their yearly salary.

—Went into special session to discus the salaries of the sheriff and county attorney.

•Delayed until January conditional use permits for a pair of Solar Farms in Lyon County. The board wanted to check on “insurance bonds” and other information regarding the plants near Balaton and a Yankton site in Rock Lake Township in Lyon County owned by Nexamp Solar, LLC. Lyon County Planning and Zoning Director John Biren said, “This is a location in an agricultural district.” The Nexamp Solar, LLC company proposed a one-megawatt ground mounted facility known as a “solar farm”.

The county board was told the property is leased, not purchased by the company. “I’m not against these farms, we need them. But we’ve got to make sure they can be taken out,” said Commissioner Anderson. In the event the solar farms are “decomissioned,” the county board wants to make sure they are properly removed.

•Held a public hearing to consider granting abatements of the county’s share of property taxes for three parcels of land, as requested by land owners. All three abatements were approved by the board. The three applications for abatement included two in Marshall and one in Balaton.

—James Carr of Carr Properties applied for an abatement for single and multi-family homes being constructed at 301 Stephen Ave. in Marshall.

—Brian Swalboski applied for an abatement for new commercial construction or remodeling at 702 E. Southview Drive in Marshall. “This is more of a remodeling project,” said Lyon County Auditor/Treasurer E. J. Moberg.

This is a day care facility and Commissioner Rick Anderson said, “We’re always talking about helping with day care in the county and this is a way we can help.” —The tru-Shrimp Company of Balaton applied for an abatement for its company on their property taxes in Balaton.

“The total abatement over four years would be (roughly) $21,000,” said Moberg. “The work here was done in 2019, so the abatement will be in 2020 and 2021,” Moberg said.

Sheriff Eric Wallen

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