11/21/2012 3:16:00 PM Dodge County Commissioners
Board looks at solar power
By Gretta Becay
Dodge County's transfer station and recycling center will be even more eco-friendly if plans to install solar panels at the site proceed as planned.
Environmental Services Director Mark Gamm told the county commissioners at their committee of the whole meeting Nov 13, 2012, that the department would like to install a 25-kilowatt array of solar panels at the transfer station/recycling center. Annually, this would produce 33,000 kilowatt hours of electricity which covers about half of the electricity needs of the facility, said Gamm.
If the county receives a rebate from Xcel Energy, the net cost of the installation would be $47,500, which would be repaid by energy savings in about 11 years. The solar array would be installed either across 240th Ave from the recycling center, or east of the center in the field of native grasses, said Gamm.
Gamm said the department would select a contractor within a few weeks. The contractor would complete the application for the rebate to Xcel Energy which is due Jan 1. The county will be applying for the $1.50/watt rebate totaling, in this case, $37,500.
In other business, the commissioners denied a property tax penalty abatement on eight parcels totaling $1,078. The taxpayer requested the abatement because the payment had not been scheduled on the business's accounting system.
The commissioners approved a sewer maintenance agreement with the city of Kasson so city staff members can monitor, maintain, and repair the fairgrounds sewer system. The county owns the pump, tanks, and system within the fairgrounds property but the Kasson staff members have been responding to pump alarms on the site. The county will pay the city $30/ month for regular inspections and routine maintenance. The city will bill the county for non-routine repairs.
The commissioners also accepted:
A $2,800 grant from the state Department of Veteran Affairs for operational improveent of the Veterans Service Office.
A $2,298 grant from the state Department of Veteran Affairs for community outreach to local veterans.
A grant not to exceed $10,000 from the state Department of Public Safety for reimbursement of costs associated with the installation of the Next Generation 911 system. This upgrade will allow the dispatch center to receive text and video communications from callers.
A $250 cash donation from Elroy and Sandra Nuss to the county for equipment for the emergency response team.
The commissioners approved the purchase and installation of a new server for the sheriff's department totaling $14,704 so the state's new eCharging system may be installed. The eCharging system allows electronic complaint processing amongst law enforcement, prosecutors, and the courts. The present system requires that data be entered and stored on several systems. The resulting paperwork must be physically passed between departments. With the new system, records may be electronically transmitted.
Jane Hardwick, Director of Human Services talked to the commissioners about the continued progress in the creation of the Southeast Minnesota Human Services Delivery Authority. The program involves Mower, Steele, and Waseca counties as well as Dodge County. The group is trying to redesign human services delivery in the four counties to save money by using the economies of scale and by sharing expertise and infrastructure.
At the meeting, the group also discussed the eventual possible inclusion of county public health services in the Authority.
The commissioners approved:
Conditional Use Permit (CUP) for Frontier Communications to install a fiber optic cable in Ashland Township in the right-of-way starting at Highway 56 running west on the north side of County Road 10 to the corner of 180th Ave. At this point, the route turns north on the east side of 180th Ave and continues to the AT&T cell tower on the Eipers property.
Interim Use Permit (IUP) for a home occupation run by Jeff Franzen in an accessory structure in the Ag District on three acres in Wasioja Township.
CUP for Arvig Enterprises to install fiber optic cable in the Highway 56 west right-of-way starting at the Goodhue/Dodge County line and running south through Concord Township and Wasioja Township to the corner of County Road 16. At this corner, the route turns east on the south side of Road 16 and continues through the village of Wasioja and Mantorville Township to the Dodge/Olmsted County line.
Several major revisions to the county zoning ordinance.
The commissioners' next scheduled regular meeting is at 9:30 a.m. Nov 27 at the courthouse.