10/2/2013 12:06:00 PM Dodge County Commissioners
Wind farm expansion scheduled for Dodge, Mower
By Gretta Becay
In about two years, Hayfield and Vernon townships may have 12 wind turbines built and operational, if the construction schedule stays on track.
Justin Markell, development manager and Sean Flannery, permitting specialist from Renewable Energy Systems America Developments, Inc. of Minneapolis talked to the Dodge County Commissioners at their committee-of-the-whole meeting Sept 24, 2013. The men said a dinner meeting had been held for property owners involved with the company in Austin on Sept 5.
The windmills will be part of a 100-turbine wind farm in northern Mower and southern Dodge counties being built by RES Americas. When the farm is completed, it will be turned over to Xcel Energy, which will operate the facility.
The Danish Vestas 2.0 megawatt turbines are specifically designed to increase energy production on sites considered to have medium or high wind speeds.
The overall structures are about 490 feet tall. The blades are about 160 feet in length.
The county is projected to get about $114,000/year from the 12 turbines, which is 80 per cent of the aggregate production tax revenue. The two townships will get the remaining 20 per cent or about $28,500.
Some roads leading to and from the turbine sites will need to be upgraded because of the heavy truck traffic involved in the construction and maintenance of the turbines.
At the beginning of the regular meeting, Commissioner Erickson called for a moment of silence in memory of 43-year-old county sheriff department Captain Loring Guenther, who died unexpectedly Sept 10.
Kasson Carriage House finds home in Mantorville
The commissioners agreed the Folkestad Carriage House may sit on county property behind the maintenance garage in Mantorville, but the building will stay there only as long as the county doesn't need the land for other purposes.
Karl Huppler from the Mantorville Theatre Company and Lyle Hoaglund from the Mantorville Restoration Association sought a 99-year lease for the vacant lot but the commissioners decided against that.
The building is a unique little structure that is being donated to the two groups by the city of Kasson along with cash and deferred moving costs totaling $16,000 to help with renovation and relocation expenses. The building now sits behind the old Folkestad garage on Kasson's Main Street.
Tri-county partnership shares Dodge human service director
The commissioners approved a 50-50 split of job duties and salary/benefit sharing of county Human Services Director Jane Hardwick with the Southeast Minnesota Human Services Delivery Authority Steering Committee until the end of 2014.
Hardwick is now dividing her time between her duties as county human services director and her new duties as transition director for the committee. The committee is working to launch a three-county partnership to deliver human services to clients in more cost-effective and efficient ways than the three counties performing their duties separately.
Needed repairs for the Dodge County Historical Society museum should be paid for by the county, remarked commissioner David Erickson when commissioner Steven Gray talked about the leaky basement door into the museum which is located across the street from the county courthouse.
The county owns the building and therefore has some responsibility in keeping it maintained, said Erickson. The group also discussed the possibility of applying for a Legacy grant to help fund an upgraded HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) system to help control humidity in the building.
The commissioners also approved:
A donation of a $50 gift card from Sam's Club to the county Drug Court program.
The county joining the Southeast Minnesota Disaster Health Coalition. This group is designed to help its member counties recover from a disaster.
Defining the expansion of the Stussy Quarry as a "connected" action to the quarry's current operations. The quarry's request to expand will now be governed by that action and definition.
The commissioners will meet again at 9:30 a.m. Oct 8 at the courthouse.