At their meeting on Tuesday, May 21, the county engineer presented information to the county commissioners regarding building needs for the Highway Department, the options and costs. At a minimum, the maintenance building needs to be replaced.

One option: The whole department can be moved to the 22 acres the county owns out by the Caledonia High School. That would be a multimillion dollar project.

The plan presented is for a brick-and-mortar building to include a heated storage building and a conference room.

The need for the heated storage building is so snow and ice melt off the snowplow trucks after use. Why a conference room is needed wasn't addressed. This option positively means higher taxes for all.

Another option is to stay at the present location. OSHA has visited the facility and a new maintenance building is a must.

Rather than a brick-and-mortar building, Chairman Justin Zmyewski suggested an insulated steel building with an office and restroom. He had obtained estimate information and stated this building can be put up using some of the $600,000 available - no tax increases.

Then as money becomes available, improvements or replacements can be done.

He added that he refuses to go to the county taxpayers for more money, adding we have seen a 79 percent increase since 2005.

Commissioner Judy Storlie accused him of being shortsighted, to which he asked if she would go to county residents asking for more money?

She replied that she is not opposed to it. Do you want taxes to rise?

Chair Zmyewski also suggested the possibility of locating additional offices and work areas in unused space in the old Historic Courthouse.

Ms. Storlie asked, "What unused space?" And, I got the impression that she would feel it an insult to ask anyone to be located in the former commissioner meeting room, as though offices on the lower level wouldn't be good enough.

Maybe since the county needs to do something about it anyway, why not adapt the old jail for re-use of offices or work areas?

A special meeting is planned for Thursday, June 6. Please contact our commissioners so they know your wishes; maybe you have a great idea and know of a good solution.

I'm sure the commissioners will listen to all suggestions. The commissioners are Justin Zmyewski, Houston, (507) 450-8297; Judy Storlie, La Crescent, (507) 895-8994; Steve Schuldt, Caledonia, (507) 724-3639; Teresa Walter, La Crescent, (507) 895-2446; and Dana Kjome, Spring Grove, (507) 498-5676.

Yvonne Krogstad

Spring Grove