Commissioners make septic system loans more obtainable


County commissioners voted December 27 to make low-interest septic system loans more obtainable for Le Sueur County residents. 
A Septic Low Interest Loan Program has been in place in the county since 2007 in an effort to improve water quality. The recent commissioners’ vote will update the program. 
Thirty-six property owners have participated in the program since 2007, taking out loans of up to $10,000 to cover the cost of a septic system. 
Now, five years later, $10,000 doesn’t cover the average septic system’s price tag.
“A septic system costs between $12,000 and $15,000 today,” Environmental and Planning and Zoning Director Kathy Brockway explained. “Raising the loan max to $15,000 will give citizens the opportunity not to have to come up with the additional $5,000.” 
The commissioners unanimously voted to approve the $15,000 loan max for the septic system program and also approved to change the program’s interest rate from 5%  to 2% over prime. 
The loan granting process was also changed. Loan applicants will only need to provide a deed to their property to be considered for the low-interest loan. Whereas, in past years, the granting of the septic system loan was based on a property’s estimated market value.
“These changes will help people who need the loan qualify for the loan,” Brockway stated. 
Ordinance Changes
Two ordinance changes will impact the county’s campgrounds. 
Campgrounds applying for variances to expand their business will need to submit  written plans for the safe evacuation in times of severe weather to the Emergency Management Director and Community Health Department. 
A proposal to require campgrounds to have storm shelters was brought before the commissioners on Dec. 11, but was tabled at that time. There is no state statute requiring a campground to have storm shelters, and the commissioners voted not to require the county’s campgrounds to have storm shelters. 
Commissioner John Grimm read a letter submitted by Al DeKruif of Elysian, requesting the commissioners allow current campgrounds to be “grandfathered” in under the current ordinance--not subject to the new ordinance. 
The vote went in DeKruif’s favor, with the commissioners voting to require only future expansions of campgrounds to be in compliance with the new ordinance. 
The commissioners also amended the 2007 Comprehensive Land Use Plan to define “buildable area” as 40,000 square feet (.92 acres). Buildable area is “the portion of a lot or parcel remaining after the deletion of flood plain, wetlands, bluffs or steep slopes and/or are below ordinary high water level.”
The new ordinance, which will go into effect in February 2013, also allows for  transfer development rights. 
Out-going Commissioners Honored
The December 27th meeting was the last meeting for three commissioners. 
Joseph Doherty, County Commissioner for Le Sueur County District 3, was recognized for 20 years of service and received a plaque for his dedication. Doherty did not run for reelection. 
Commissioner John Grimm was recognized for four years of service, and Wetzel was recognized for his two years of service, with both receiving certificates.