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Commissioners establish proposed 2022 levy

NEW ULM — Brown County commissioners unanimously approved the 2022 proposed property tax levy for certification Tuesday.

Action came on a motion by Commissioner Scott Windschitl, seconded by Tony Berg.

The proposed $14,848,728 levy is 5.81% over the 2021 certified levy and based on a $43,418,086 draft 2022 county budget.

“This is in line with what we did other years,” Berg said.

Windschitl said the proposed tax levy will continue to be refined and reviewed until the final budget and levy is adopted at an equal or lower amount by commissioners Dec. 21, 2021 following a public meeting.

Commissioners unanimously approved:

• A public meeting on the proposed 2022 county budget and levy for 6 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021 in the district courtroom in the courthouse third floor and revise the start time of the Dec. 14, 2021 county board meeting to 4:30 p.m.

• Planning Commission recommendations including an application filed by Travis Richert on property owned by Gary Richert, Section 18, Bashaw Township to continue to allow the use of an 855 animal unit wean to finish operation all in the Agricultural Protection Zoning District. Action came on a motion by Commissioner Dean Simonsen, seconded by Jeff Veerkamp.

• A $22,300 quote from GSM (Gag Sheet Metal) to replace the Brown County Historical Society (BCHS) Museum roof with a 20-year manufacturer’s warranty, motion by Commissioner Dave Borchert, seconded by Berg.

The BCHS approved appropriating $10,000 for the roof project. The county share is the remaining $12,300 with an additional amount to be determined, for decking replacement.

Laraway Roofing submitted a $23,995 quote. Sandmann Roofing Systems would not be able to complete the project in 2021.

• Trane’s $116,280 proposal to upgrade HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) controls, contingent on Law Enforcement Center Committee approval, motion by Windschitl, second by Veerkamp. Borchert abstained.

The Brown County LEC had two BCU panel failures this year. Trane replaced one of the BCU panels with a used panel from another site and reset the second BCU panel to regain communication, according to a Sept. 3, 2021 letter from Trane Company Account Manager Russ Prososki to Brown County Facilities Manager Jesse Kral.

“It is highly recommended that an upgrade be performed as soon as possible,” read the letter. “Trane cannot guarantee any used parts and/or availability of these parts. Another failure could result in significant down time with an upgrade is performed, if it is not planned ahead of time. Typical lead times on new controllers is 8-10 weeks.”

The upgrade would be a non-levy factor as the 2022 Brown County budget has $143,500 in the capital improvement fund.

Based on established cost breakdown, the updates would be paid for with $23,256 from Brown County, $22,130 from the New Ulm Police Dept. and $70,894 from the Sheriff’s Office Capital Improvement.

• Accept the transfer of a house as part of an estate recovery and pay an estate attorney to assist in the sale of the home, motion by Windschitl, second by Berg.

An individual living in Brown County received about $250,000 in medical assistance (MA) several years ago. At the time of the person’s death, the spouse remained living in the home and there was no estate recovery. The spouse recently died and the house, valued at about $120,000 is now able to be sold.

The family understands the financial obligation owed to the state and county for MA paid on the person’s behalf. They do not wish to sell the home and are asking the county to accept the home on a transfer.

• An agreement with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for public river access work along CR 11, motion by Borchert, seconded by Berg.

The access had a large amount of damage in recent years due to heavy rain and Cottonwood River flooding. County and DNR staff created a new layout to protect the new access and limit future erosion.

The DNR will supply heavy equipment, concrete slabs, and manpower while the County will contribute rock, steel anchors, railings, and manpower. The work is set to be completed this fall.

Estimated county costs are $300 for 10 tons of ballast rock, $400 for 20 steel anchor posts and railing and 8 staff hours and one Sentence to Service crew.

• Hiring Schultz Plumbing for an estimated $4,083.33 project at Lake Hanska County Park shower house work, motion by Borchert, second by Berg.

Searles Well Drilling inspected the septic system and recommended switching to controlled shower house fixtures. Three companies were asked to estimate the project cost but only Schultz came to the site.

Fritz Busch can be emailed at fbusch@nujournal.com.

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