County assessor Cindy Blagsvedt presented a summary on the 2013 property tax law changes to the Fillmore County commissioners during their meeting last Tuesday, Aug. 6. She noted that an assessment moratorium had been placed on the production of biofuels, wine, beer, distilled beverages or dairy products for 2013 and 2014.

Earlier in the year, POET Biorefining had been assessed for several of their tanks that previously had been tax exempt. The moratorium returned the assessment back to 2012 practices.

The transfer of ownership of a Rural Preserve property will now be handled the same as Green Acre property transfers. Law concerning the organization or reorganization of farm entities and transfers of property to a trust or trustee did not change.

Blagsvedt also reported that any property that has a perpetual easement can't be reduced in value by an assessor if the easements came after May 13, 2013.

A fine of up to $3,000 and/or up to one year in prison will be subjected to people who evade tax obligations by giving false information.

The class rate for low-income housing exceeding $100,000 was reduced to .25 percent from .75 percent.

Highway Department

Two bridges in Fillmore County that were washed out by the June 23 flash flooding were approved by the board to be replaced and to advertise for bids for the project.

The county-state aid highway bridge on County Road 23 and Carrolton Township bridge on Grosbeak Road were the two in question.

Commissioner Duane Bakke asked what the timeline of completion for those projects was expected to be, saying he had heard the roads would be open by the beginning of October.

County highway engineer Ronald Gregg said the bridges would be completed by mid-September.

Bakke asked about the design of the Grosbeak bridge, noting that the previous one wasn't designed for 30 miles per hour speeds. He also asked if the county would scrape more material out of the adjacent hillside in order to open up the sightline around the corner.

Gregg said they would have signage for the bridge.

In a related matter, maintenance supervisor Brent Kohn proposed the county purchase a used 2001 Caterpillar 320CL hydraulic excavator. Kohn said certain features on the equipment, such as an attachment thumb used for cleaning out culverts and clearing trees, made the buy worth it. The machine had been recently serviced. The price tag was $85,000 plus tax and Commissioner Chuck Amunrud asked how it would be paid for.

Gregg said $280,000 had been budgeted for equipment purchases and the county would forego some snow equipment in order to buy the excavator.

Commissioner Randy Dahl commented that the county wouldn't need to budget as much in equipment rentals because of the purchase. The purchase was approved.

The board also approved the 2014-2015 Maintenance and Operations agreement with the state of Minnesota for the Fillmore County Airport. The county gets a 66 percent reimbursement for mowing, snowplowing and other maintenance.

In other business

In other matters, the board discussed and approved the following items.

• The board approved the technology purchase of a Cisco ASA Firewall appliance for the sheriff's office network. As explained by Information Systems manager Jeff Cooper, the equipment will allow a virtual and secure private network for anyone in the office who needs access to the law enforcement network. The upgrade will activate the new record management system and e-charging function through the new provider, LETG.

• The resignations of two intermittent jailers were approved. The hiring of two replacement intermittent jailers was approved by the board, with job candidates first being drawn from the union list.

• Upon recommendation by County Zoning Officer Chris Graves, the board approved a field access permit in Forestville Township on County Rd 12, Section 7.