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A WATER MAIN BREAK ON HIGHWAY 12 across from the Dairy Queen occurred at approximately 10 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 11. According to City of Ortonville Public Works Foreman, Scott Huizenga, city employees were on the scene repairing the leak until 1 a.m. State employees are on the scene repairing the road. Traffic will be detoured the rest of the week.

Council approves resignations, plans for future road projects

Ortonville City Council members accepted the resignation/retirement of Deputy City Clerk/Billing Clerk Judy Roberts and Deputy Clerk/Administrative Assistant, Susan Lundell, at their regular meeting Monday, Feb. 5.

Both Roberts and Lundell’s last day will be April 30. The council approved allowing for advertising for these positions immediately.

Council members accepted the resignation of Sara Wollschlager as Summer Recreation Coordinator, effective immediately. Wollschlager has served in this capacity for the past 10 years.

Bob Schlieman of Apex Engineering, gave a presentation of future utility and street reconstruction improvements for the City.

Schllieman stated that there are areas within the City of Ortonville that should be considered for reconstruction as a result of the age and condition of underground utility and surface infrastructure.

Apex Engineering, Inc. worked with City staff to come up with areas that are considered to be a priority for reconstruction beginning in the 2019 construction year.

It was recommended the City authorize the preparation of a Preliminary Engineering Report/Facility Plan for certain areas of the City. By doing so, the City would have the option to take advantage of low interest loan dollars from the Public Facilities Authority once the City chooses to move forward with construction of a portion or all of the improvements.

The estimated cost for completing a Preliminary Engineering Report/Facility Plane is between $12,000 and $15,000.

Schlieman presented a resolution ordering a preparation report on improvements for 4th Street NW, Dassel Avenue, Pacific Avenue, 5th Street NW, 5th Street SE, Minnesota Street North, Jefferson Avenue, Madison Avenue, Monroe Avenue, Jackson Avenue and Lincoln Avenue.

“This is just a starting point,” said Schlieman. “This is the beginning point of moving forward. This doesn’t mean we have to do all of the projects. You can pick and choose whatever you want to do. This just helps figure the financial part of things.”

Council members approved the resolution Ordering Report on Improvement to move forward with the preliminary phase of the proposed improvement areas.

Ortonville Police Chief reported that Officer David Lee has joined the National Guard and will be gone approximately 17 weeks for training. The police commission recommended to hire a temporary full-time position during his absence. The council approved unanimously.

Council members approved establishing a one-year eligibility list. This would allow the Police Commission to have a list of candidates to go off of instead of going through the entire hiring process.

A resolution was approved designating March 2 as Rena Bagne Day in Ortonville. Rena will turn 110 years old on March 2. Rena has been a resident of Ortonville since 1946.

The council approved the purchase of a greensmower for the Ortonville Golf Course in the amount of $14,000. There were two bids received with the Toro Greenmaster being the lowest quote. This was in the golf budget for 2018. The other quote was WestcoTurf for $17,750.

In other business, the council approved gambling permits for the Big Stone Lake Area Chamber of Commerce for the Sports and Leisure Show March 18; Big Stone County Pheasants Forever for March 24 at Sioux Historic Pavilion; and for the Big Stone Health Care Foundation for their Gala April 21. A beer license was approved for Casey’s Retail Company.

A hangar-tie down lease was approved for Todd and Sara Verheul of Ortonville. This agreement runs from Jan. 1 through Dec. 31, 2018.

BSC Board Approves Hiring Of Environmental Technician

The Big Stone County Board met for the first time in February on

Tuesday, Feb. 6, at the courthouse in Ortonville.

The commissioners  approved the minutes from their January 16 meeting and an amended agenda. They also

authorized payment of January’s bills and internal transactions.

Several items of interest were

discussed by board members during committee reports.

Commissioner Brent Olson noted that approximately 2,975 people had contacted the Big Stone County

Veterans Service Office in 2017.

He also raised awareness

concerning Big Stone County’s need for a new municipality representative, noting Graceville City Councilman Duane Steen’s departure from the position.

Olson also detailed that the RDC had set its levy at $315,000 for 2018. He noted that the organization brought in approximately $7.3 million in grants to Big Stone and nearby counties last year.

Olson  also mentioned that Prime West signed a contract to do claims for South Country Health Care System. The service will take a year to set up, but is projected to bring in $4 million more in revenue and create 27 more jobs for employees. He also noted Prime West pays on average about six percent above the average medicare rates.

Commissioner Roger Sandberg noted that during his Pioneer Public

Library System meeting the organization approved a two percent increase in pay for its employees. He was also 

informed that books were no longer among the top 10 usage items in the public library. Things like computers, dvds and printers had become more


He also noted that the Big Stone County food shelf is ranked sixth out of 56 similar food shelfs in

Minnesota. According to Sandberg, the group is looking into creating coupons for patrons to use at the farmers


Sandberg also informed other board members that Minnesota has

entered into a compliance services

contract with ATT and is requesting the county’s assistance in identifying

coverage dead spots.  He believes that the deal will increase competition among cell phone services in the area and ultimately bring prices down.

Commissioner Wade Athey noted that the Minnesota River Area Agency on Aging is pushing to close senior meals sites.

“This is a valuable service to our community,” Athey said. “We are going to keep everything the same this year, but we are going to have to make a

decision on what to do after.”

Following committee reports, the county board members approved the EDA board appointment of Harold Dimberg II. Other EDA board members include Jay Backer, Kent Morrill, Kristin Taffe, John Costello, Mark Kleindl and Brent Olson.

The county board also accepted the resignation and phased retirement of Sharon Finke as Deputy Auditor. Finke’s last full day will be March 16 and her phased retirement will start on March 19.

“We accept Sharon’s resignation with thanks for years of diligent and competent service for the past 25 years,” Olson said.

The commissioners also approved the execution an election equipment grant agreement worth $42,734.32. The county received $38,869.70 for

tabulator/assisted voting devices and $3,864.62 for electronic rosters. Big Stone County is required to match a minimum of $40,157.91 for the


“We have until 2019 to purchase the equipment,” Auditor Michelle Knutson said. “We are still debating if we should buy it this year or wait. In the future, the county will have to budget for new voting equipment.”

The Big Stone County board also approved a tobacco license for the new Casey’s General Store in Ortonville. The business plans to open its doors in March.

County board members approved the hiring of Daniel Tuckett Jr. as an

environmental technician in Big Stone County. The position is classified as a grade nine.

“We had several excellent

applicants,” Human Resources Director Dawn Gregoire said. “There were 15 total applications and we interviewed six people.”

The commissioners also approved changing the Veterans Service Officer position to a grade 10 and the Veterans Service Officer’s Administrative Assistant as a grade six job classification.

After having some discussion on retiree plans, county board members made a motion to explore group medicare supplement plans to

accommodate future phase retirement plans.

In their final act of business,

commissioners approved and signed the updated land purchase agreement for the new Highway Department.

The County Board’s next meeting will be on Tuesday, Feb. 20, at 8:30 a.m. in the Big Stone County Courthouse in Ortonville.


The Ortonville Independent can now print posters and