At their May 28 regular meeting, the Fillmore County Board of Commissioners considered a resolution for a conditional use permit (CUP) allowing the Rein Quarry to expand their sand mining operation from 18.36 acres to 50.

The mine, which opened in 2008 and was expanded one time before in 2010, underwent the process to obtain an industrial mining permit. County Zoning Administrator Chris Graves said the mine met all the guidelines under Section 736 in the county's zoning ordinance for Excavation and Mining of Industrial Minerals and Metals. He recommended the board approve it for expansion.

An application for the CUP was submitted after the April 23 board meeting where it was determined that no further environmental impact studies needed to be completed beyond the required Environmental Assessment Worksheet.

The CUP was approved by the County Planning Commission at its last meeting.

Third District Commissioner Chuck Amunrud asked about the road impact fee agreement and if the money would only build up to a certain level.

Graves said there was no cap to the amount the balance could reach, but that any funds left over after reclamation and road repairs are taken care of will go back to the operators. Around 120 trucks per day will be hauling silica sand to Winona, following the designated route on County Road 10 and County Road 37 to State Highway 43 and I-90.

Fourth District Commissioner Duane Bakke said County Road 10 is in good shape, but will have to be evaluated in a few years. He recommended that the county use data gathered in the Minnesota Department of Transportation evaluations done every four years.

Fifth District Commissioner Marc Prestby reminded the board that the road impact fee could be adjusted every two years.

Graves proceeded to go over 16 conditions on the CUP application. The operators will not be allowed to wash or process any of the silica sand mined on-site. They will also not be allowed to use flocculants or other chemicals on-site or bring back any materials to the site containing said chemicals.

The 50-acre mine will be required to begin reclamation of the first 25 acres mined prior to mining the second 25 acres. The mine will also be held to all state and federal agency changes concerning air quality and other standards.

The mine cannot be closer than 100 feet to any groundwater or water table. Operators cannot sell natural materials from the site, which will instead be used in future reclamation.

First District Commissioner Thomas Kaase thanked everyone who had come forward with information. "This has been a good, inclusive process and we've come out with a good solution," he shared, also expressing his thanks to Bakke who took the lead in much of the board's investigation.

Additional CUPs approved

Graves also asked the board to consider approving a resolution for a CUP for the Old Barn Resort. The business is looking to expand the number of seasonal sites they operate by 108. The board approved it, but also included new language requiring the campground owners to put up a sign at the exit of the resort advising traffic to beware of bike and pedestrian traffic on Heron Road between the campground and County Road 17. The language also required the publication and distribution of a safety brochure for all seasonal, weekend and daily users of the campground.

County Feedlot Officer Mike Frauenkron presented two other requests for CUPs for two feedlots that were previously approved by the Planning Commission. They were both for a new total confinement swine finishing building with a below-ground manure pit.

Chairman Randy Dahl explained that there had been problems with manure trucks sitting on the road during loading and unloading processes. "No matter if it is sand or manure, they should keep the roads clear," he said.

The board approved the CUP's with the stipulation that loading and unloading be taken care of off of the roads.

Road construction

County engineer Ron Gregg requested board approval for the final payments on two county projects: the concrete project running from Forestville State Park up to County Road 16 and the segment of County Road 30 heading east out of Rushford Village.

The board approved the replacement of a culvert on County Road 7 after affirming an agreement with Nature Conservancy for an easement.

Gregg explained that work on County Road 23 will begin in mid-to-late September with an October finish. County Road 24 will begin on June 10.

Bridge work on County Road 7 in Chatfield Township has begun on both projects and the Carimona Township bridge project on County Road 15 is underway as well.

The board briefly discussed Gregg's vision on long-term planning with road evaluation with no action taken.

MCIT report

Kevin Balvanc from the MCIT (Minnesota Counties Intergovernmental Trust) gave the organization's 2013 report. He explained the organization is a joint powers entity made up of representatives from 81 of the 87 Minnesota counties and 360 other affiliate members. It pools resources to provide property, casualty, and workers' compensation coverage to members.

Balvanc explained the group does more risk management than risk financing. He broke down numbers involved with property, casualty and workers' compensation claims.

He also presented an analysis of Fillmore County's compensation in 2013, which had cost the county $114,599. This was $18,966 dollars under the base amount that had been calculated using claim totals from 2009, 2010, and 2011. He complimented the board and the county on their work.

Balvanc showed that the county wasn't taking full advantage of the Employee Assistance Program, which provides support and advice to employees on work performance and personal issues influencing their work. He encouraged them to help people not be so hesitant in reaching out.

Software purchase approved

County assessor Cindy Blagsvedt received approval from the board relating to the tax/appraisal software program updates to be completed by 2016. The county will be transitioning from its current DOS system to a more efficient and integrated Windows system between Xerox tax and CAMA (Computer Aided Mass Appraisal) and is in the first phase of planning.

There are 25 Minnesota counties that have switched to the new tax software and 25 counties have made the CAMA upgrade.

Amunrud explained that the money for this project would be coming out of unallocated and allocated funds, which do not come from the levy. The dollars come from land transactions through the recorder's office.

Other business

Pam Schroeder updated the board on their efforts to get a credit card system up and running for payment at the Fillmore County Airport. She said there are still some problems to be worked through, but that it should be ready for the Pork Producers Annual Fly-In Breakfast on July 21.

The board approved a resolution for sponsorship of the Bluff Valley Riders, Mabel-Canton Trail Busters, Hiawatha Sno-Seekers and Tri County Trailblazers for the 2013-14 season.