Pennington County Board Meets

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The Pennington County Board met Tuesday morning at 10:00 in at the Pennington County Justice Center. 

First on the agenda was Mike Flaagan – County Engineer. He requested the board approve the purchase of a used, 1986 Chamberlain  belly-dump trailer from S & S transport. Cost of the trailer is $8000 and the purchase was approved. The County Engineer’s Office still needs a used semi tractor to pull this trailer and will continue to look for one.

Flaagen also requested approval to advertise for crushing bids for gravel for use on county roads which was approved. The County Engineer also reported on the bridge project. The construction company was pulling forms and backfilling around the pier foundation on Tuesday (2-11-2020.) In a few weeks, they will remove the coffer dam and move it to the other side. The bridge, located south of Thief RIver Falls, will span the Red Lake River and still has a September completion date. Flaagen also discussed extending the cold storage building at the County Shop to the west which would create an additional 66 feet and would be used for storing signs and engineering equipment.

Ray Kuznia – the County Sheriff was next on the agenda. He reports the Sheriff’s Office has interviewed for a part-time dispatcher. Sheriff Kuznia recommended Crystal Carlson to begin February 12th and would include a 12 month probation, the new hire was approved. Also approved was the purchase of two mobile radios for the new cars and two handheld radios. Total bill cost will be $14,058.

The Sheriff and County Commissioners also discussed formalized dispatch training through Northland Community and Technical College. The plan is to create a task force that would include Sheriff Kuznia.

County Auditor/Treasurer Ken Olson also presented information to the commissioners. Pennington County received a letter from the Minnesota Department of Administration-State Historic Preservation Office that the Thief River Falls Auditorium will be considered for registration in the national register of historic places. It will be considered for registration which will open it to loans and present no restrictions by the federal government. Several members expressed concerns of additional environmental impact fees and the cost of construction, demolition and asbestos removal costs. Also time may pass while waiting for a federal environmental impact statement and during which costs may be increasing. Hempel really wanted to know what the options could be after a decade of consideration. Bruce Lawrence will call the “Minnesota Department of Administration- state historic preservation office” and ask questions about what the restrictions or benefits come with being a registered historic place. Another consideration is demand for commercial use of a remodeled building.

Next meeting of the County Commissioners will be February 25th at 5 pm.

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