County board reviews highway projects, approves meth lab cleanup ordinance

By Jake Keohen

The Le Sueur County Board of Commissioners reviewed ongoing and future highway department projects with County Engineer Darrell Pettis during its regular meeting held Tuesday, Dec. 14 at the courthouse in Le Center. The board also approved a meth lab cleanup ordinance, which has been under discussion and review since last summer.

Highway department report

Engineer Pettis reports to the county board each month, updating the commissioners on projects and maintenance underway or planned by the department.

Under 2004 projects, Pettis said County Road 142 Phase 2, south of North Ridge Estates on the north side of Montgomery, was delayed because of soft soil, but the road is now open and will be completed next year.

Other highlights of Pettis' report:

—Several bridge projects slated for 2005 are awaiting a bonding bill for release of funds by the state legislature.

—It is anticipated that CSAH 28 from Highway 13 to Rice County Line and Highway 19 at Lonsdale will be open for the winter on Monday, Dec. 20. There is about three miles of gravel roadway, with work to continue in spring.

—The County Road 136 project is 50 percent complete, with compliments to Barnett Bros. Construction for their finishing work.

—Pettis meets with the Scott CSAH 15 planning group and has learned that petitioners are seeking annexation of land for County Road 144 extension from County Road 29 to 10th Avenue in New Prague.

—Because there is a sizeable shortfall for 2005 funding of highway department projects, Pettis requested a meeting of the county bonding committee to discuss options. Meeting set for Wednesday, Jan. 5 at 10 a.m.

—Accepted low bid of $6,806.20 from Carpet Castle II in Le Center for new carpeting in highway department offices. Other bidders were Wise, Le Sueur; Murphy, Elysian; and Holomek of Montgomery.

Meth lab ordinance

A public hearing was held on a proposed Cleanup of Clandestine Drug Lab Sites Ordinance, after which it was approved by the board.

Director of Public Health Cindy Shaughnessy said her committee is recommending adoption of the ordinance, which is similar to that adopted by other counties, as a public health and safety issue. She said there have been 19 drug lab cleanups in the county since 2000, and under this ordinance the property owner, not the county, would be responsible for the costs and would therefore be more vigilant. She added that based on insurance information they received, most or all homeowner policies do not cover contamination.

Commissioner Bill Stangler said he has a problem with the property owner being totally responsible, since they may not be aware of the illegal activity. This is not good government and I am suggesting a cap on expenses if the owner is not involved

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