The deadline is nearing for residents of Stearns County who want to get involved with their local government and serve on a Stearns
County board or committee.
Stearns County is recruiting for appointments to be filled in January of 2014. The boards and committees serve a variety of county departments in a variety of areas. There are openings on the following committees:
• Board of Adjustment
• Community Corrections Advi-
• Dairy Advisory Committee
The meetings schedule is in full flight for me this week, addressing everything from alternative fuels for automobiles, to advances in vehicle safety, innovation in recycling and aquatic invasive species. Here’s an overview:
I recently visited the GE Innovation Center in Eden Prairie. I am interested in more widespread use of alternative fuels in our vehicles and the facility I visited in Eden Prairie is working to accomplish this.
That same day, I attended a luncheon at the Center for Transportation Studies entitled, “Could Crashes be a Thing of the Past.” Seat belts and air bags have reduced automobile injuries and a new wave of technology could do even more to keep us safe by preventing accidents from happening in the first place. These systems, such as “6D vision” sensing technology and smart maps for connected vehicles, could make crashes much less common and bring us toward self-driving cars.
The work is done, and the barricades are finally down.
Only a month late, largely because they had to deal with a lot of ground water at levels higher than expected.
The entire project has experienced delays and setbacks, starting with the very long time it took for MnDOT to approve the project in the first place. Following the prescribed process, construction bids were opened July 16, fairly late in the construction season.
The Kimball city council held its second meeting in November on the 19th. It was a relatively short meeting, much of it spent waiting for the city’s engineer.
State Rep. Jeff Howe attended the meeting, as an observer. The council and Howe were able to share ideas about transportation, the driver diversion program taught by Kimball Police, and other items of interest to our area.
In official business, the city ordered delinquent utilities to be shut off Thursday, Nov. 21. The city will do a rate study before increasing utility rates. And the city needs to re-do its wage scale for pay equity.
The Watkins council is preparing for the annual Truth In Taxation meeting (6:15 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 12). This year’s residential property taxes overall are lower, and most commercial taxes are higher. The council has been working hard to keep property taxes stable.
A number of issues were dealt with at their Nov. 14 regular meeting. The Watkins Ambulance was approved to commit up to $1,000 each month for needed equipment and medications without seeking council approval prior to any purchase. Public works is “ready for anything that can come” when it comes to snow removal. A formal performance review process will be implemented, tried on the newest employee (Virl Liebrenz) to start. A gravel lease payment was received. The Economic Development Authority is collecting survey data for a visioning session to come. Duane Peterson resigned from the Planning Commission. Street lights will be replaced as needed. Properties with delinquent water bills will be shut off.