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home : government : government August 28, 2014

9/13/2013 10:41:00 AM
Welch Village Ski Resort to expand

by Paul Martin

The Goodhue County Board approved new buildings at Welch Village Ski Area, at its September 3 meeting.

Plans call for a 12,000 square foot maintenance and office building, and a 2,400 square foot shed. The site is on a 5-acre parcel on which a home stood until last year.

Planning Officer Mike Wozniak described the main building as attractive and well-designed. It will be raised above any expected flood level. Construction will only go ahead when the County is satisfied that the plans conform to the extra requirements that go with its location in the Cannon River Wild and Scenic River Area. Said Board Chair Dan Rechtzigel, "The ski area is a great asset to the County. We want them to move forward without being hampered by bureaucratic requirements."

Balanced Budget Closer

Before their Board meeting, Commissioners and staff did more work on the 2014 budget. The State has recently imposed a cap on Property Levy increases. Finance Director Carolyn Holmsten has confirmed that Goodhue County will be limited to a 1.72% rise, or $462,355. Since the August 19 Budget Workshop, $339,000 has been chipped away from the figures. However, further savings of $258,000 have to be found, just to reach that figure.

In the full meeting, Commissioners voted 3 to 2 to approve the 1.72% increase as a preliminary figure. Commissioners Ron Allen and Ted Seifert voted No. This frustrated Commissioner Jim Bryant, who argued, "You can't support programs all year long, but then not fund them." Commissioner Rich Samuelson took a practical view. "Our constituents expect us to do our best," he said, "but they realize that there is inflation - and that we have to look after our employees, or we won't have any."

Work on the budget will continue this fall. The final figure needs to be set at the December 17 Board meeting. That figure can be the same or lower, but it cannot be raised after this week's vote.

Residents to State: We want a Voice in Sand Mining Rules

Chief Land Use Officer Lisa Hanni asked the Board to approve and forward a letter asking the State to appoint an Advisory Committee to give input on silica sand mining rules as they are written. "The State will write the rules anyway," said Hanni. "Normally they would appoint an Advisory Committee, but in this case they don't intend to because they are working under a short time frame."

Concerned residents, including Marie McNamara, have asked for their voice to be heard. The Motion to support the petition was approved over two No votes. Samuelson said, "We are just asking the State to make more rules. We have more than enough already."

Planning Reports

The Board approved an application by Ismail Corporation for an Off Sale Liquor License in Frontenac. The owners plan to expand their existing convenience store on Hwy 61 Blvd. Final approval lies with the State.

The contract for replacing a bridge on 147th Avenue in Roscoe Township was awarded. The bridge was damaged in the fall 2010 floods. Work will begin this fall.

The summer road program is nearing completion. Work on Highways 9 (Dennison to Sogn) and 10 (east of Zumbrota) is now complete, as is the 2013 work on Hwy 168 in Zumbrota. The 100th Avenue bridge in Leon Township is complete. The Sogn Valley Trail bridge will open shortly. Surfacing, sealcoating and traffic marking is also done for the summer. Earthwork on the new Hwy. 24 serving the new Mayo Medical Center in Cannon Falls starts this week. The road is planned to open in fall 2014.

Commissioners are delighted with the modified plans for the new Hwy 9 overpass on Hwy 52. They reported that reaction they have heard has been very favorable.

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