County Board Voices Support for Sales Tax Renewal

The Freeborn County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday unanimously approved supporting the Shell Rock River Watershed District’s request for an extension of its half-percent sales tax.

The district’s request is to extend the current sales tax for either another 15 years or until $15 million has been collected. The funds are used to improve area lakes.

Prior to approval, commissioners asked for details on projects the Watershed District is conducting.

First District Commissioner Glen Mathiason said he has heard good things about the current Watershed District Board, and Chairman Jim Nelson told district administration to keep up the good work.

The Albert Lea City Council may approve final ballot language to request an extension of the sales tax Monday.

Watershed District Administrator Brett Behnke said $26 million has been leveraged for the district since the sales tax was first passed in 2005.

He said the length of the Fountain Lake dredging process will depend on requests for proposals.

He said he was thankful the board approved the district’s plan.

“We appreciate the support from the county and their recognition of the importance of this project,” Behnke said. “This is another example of the community’s support and helps keep the momentum.”

In other action, the board:

  • Accepted the resignations of Freeborn County Jail Sgt. Scott Aysta and Freeborn County  Jail Deputy Mark Bangert effective March 25 and June 30, respectively, and accepted filling the positions.
  • Approved a donation of more than $2,000 to the K-9 program.
  • Approved an agreement with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to reconstruct the boat launch ramp on Freeborn Lake.
  • Accepted the resignation of county highway worker Bryan Holmquist effective March 31, and approved filling the position.
  • Approved a union contract with American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees that retroactively sets a 2.25 percent raise for 2016 for the county’s union Department of Human Services workers.
© 2015 Shell Rock River Watershed District, 305 S 1st Avenue, Albert Lea, MN 56007