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home : government : county August 28, 2014

3/4/2014 11:57:00 AM
Dodge County Commissioners Ice Arena tug of war might be over

By Gretta Becay

Almost since it was built, the use of the Dodge County Ice Arena during the week of the county fair has been an issue.

The arena was originally built and co-managed by the cities of Dodge Center, Mantorville and Kasson, and Dodge County. A few years ago, the other entities dropped out and only Kasson and Dodge County stayed on as partners in the venture.

In the past few years, the county fair board has wanted to use the ice arena during the county fair for exhibits or vendors. However, the city has said the three weeks the arena could not be used for skating would cost thousands of dollars in revenue. The manager has said it takes a week to thaw and take the ice out, then the fair lasts a week, and then it takes a week to freeze the ice again.

At their meeting Feb 25, 2014, the Dodge County Commissioners reached a consensus to approach the city of Kasson with the idea of letting the building become the city's sole responsibility.

At the meeting, county Finance Director Lisa Kramer said it has cost the county about $608,000 since 2002 in capital costs and cost overruns to pay the county's share of the expenses on the building. This included bond payments.

In other business, the commissioners heard a presentation by representatives of Southeastern Libraries Cooperating/Southeast Library System - SELCO.

Librarians from West Concord, Dodge Center, Kasson, and Pine Island along with SELCO/SELS Executive Director Ann Hutton and Clint Patterson, the county's representative on the board of directors of SELCO, were at the meeting.

The county pays about $118,000 annually to SELCO.

Some of the services provided at the libraries include access to the internet through computers and Wi-Fi; help filling out unemployment applications, job applications, resumes and MNSure forms on the computer; book delivery to daycares, schools, and the homebound; proctors for testing; story-time for younger children; summer reading programs; electronic books; a safe place for kids to gather; and a meeting place, among other activities and services.

Hutton talked about the cost of purchasing a bookmobile. She said the new one that Rochester purchased cost about $350,000 and is only used in Olmsted County.

Council member David Erickson said Hayfield and Claremont are not serviced by SELCO since the bookmobile no longer goes there and Hayfield opted out of SELCO a few years ago.

Council member Rod Peterson suggested some type of outreach by the SELCO system to these two communities might be a good idea.

In other business, the county's Emergency Management Director Matt Maas explained the various types of emergency preparedness plans the county has or is working on.

They include a plan for reacting to an agricultural emergency. Maas explained that if there were an outbreak of a disease in another county nearby and an ag emergency were declared, Dodge County might become responsible for stopping the transport of animals within and through the county. Another plan is geared toward responding to a crisis at the Prairie Island nuclear facility because the county is within the 60 air-mile radius of the plant. Another plan focuses on school crisis response.

Maas also said he is waiting for a report from the state Department of Health about mitigating radon levels in the basement of the courthouse when the remodeling of that area begins.

The commissioners approved selling a parcel of land near the courthouse the county had previously purchased to possibly use as a parking lot. The parcel is at 600 Blanch Street. It was sold to Thomas and Carol McNeil for $10,000. The McNeils are the closest neighbors to the property.

No bids were received for another property the county would also like to sell at 20 Seventh St East.

The commissioners approved a donation from the county United Way for $2,500 to be used in the county DARE program.

The commissioners approved the spring weight restrictions for selected roads in the county.

The commissioners will meet again at 9:30 a.m. March 11 at the courthouse. They agreed that the two deferred items concerning the sheriff's hiring more deputies would be on the agenda for that meeting.

Claremont Service

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