Environmental Services Director Rick Frank told the county board at its Sept. 25 meeting that 924 sq. ft. of asbestos was found in the roofing and flashing materials, and it will need to be abated prior to the disposal of a trailer used to manufacture methamphetamine in Caledonia.

"We just run into one brick wall after another," Frank said, adding that the Minnesota Department of Health and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency are now both overseeing the problem. They are giving out somewhat contradictory orders, he noted.

"I want something in writing from both state agencies before we proceed," he added.

By consensus, commissioners asked Frank to have the trailer moved to a secure location as soon as the county is permitted to do so. It will eventually be taken to a landfill for demolition. Members noted that the longer the unit sits in its present location, the greater the risk that contaminated contents could be removed.

FAA sends notice on drag race

Chair Jack Miller read a notice from the FAA's district office in Minneapolis, which stated (in part), "We have become aware of a report of drag racing on the Houston County Airport. This unauthorized non-aeronautical activity is a serious matter and requires your immediate attention.

"As a sponsor of the Houston County Airport, Houston County is obligated to ensure the safe operation of the airport in accordance with its federal grant assurances.

"Of great concern is the fact that no notice or warning was provided to the flying public and users of the airport, constituting a serious risk to the safety of airport operations.

"Failure to take all reasonable actions to prevent unauthorized or unsafe activities could result in a determination that the county is not complying with its contractual obligations."

Airport Improvement Program grants could be withheld for non-compliance on those obligations, the letter also stated.

"The seriousness of the issue cannot be understated," Miller said. In addition, the county would not have had liability coverage for the recent infraction and could have been on the hook for $1.5 million in damages if an accident had occurred, he added.

Currently, the airport receives $150,000 per year from the FAA.

Redesign update on hold

Miller said that the Bush Foundation may help to fund some Human Services Redesign work in southeastern Minnesota, but not without local matching funds.

"What they'd like to see from us is some structure," he added. Walter said that Wabasha County wants to meet as soon as the November election is over.

Sharing on specific projects, such as combining to purchase electronic data management systems and run income maintenance programs are likely avenues for the redesign project, commissioners said.

Another closed session held

County attorney Jamie Hammell asked that the meeting be closed for a time last week.

Following the session, she added, "We went into closed session based on a demand letter that threatened litigation. It was to inform the county board of communications between the attorney who is threatening litigation and myself. There is no claim that has been filed at this time."

No decision on golf carts

Granting golf cart access from Money Creek Haven Campground to the village of Money Creek was again discussed, with no decision.

Money Creek resident Robin Danielson waved a petition, asking the board to deny a request from golf cart users to allow them to use CSAH 26 to reach township roads in residential Money Creek.

I got 38 signatures in one day," Danielson said, "State laws are being broken."

"We will wait for the report from our county engineer," Miller said.

Money Creek resident Dwight Mierau corroborated Danielson's assertion that the carts have become a nuisance.

"I'd like everybody to understand that it's not just a couple of golf carts," he said. "It's non-stop all day long. It's not just Robin and myself (who are bothered), there's about 150 golf carts down there."

"I've had eight or nine go by my house at 10 p.m., hooting and hollering. I just want you guys to understand how many golf carts there are. It's just getting out of hand. We've never had a problem with golf carts until last summer.

"It's just been building and building. I feel like I'm a side-show sitting in my own yard."

Long-time employee passes

Commissioners also noted publicly the passing of Audrey Petersen, who died on Sept. 24. Petersen will be recognized with a letter from the board.

Kruger stated that as a former treasurer, Petersen had approximately 60 years of service with the county.

Fiscal officer hired

Commissioners voted to hire CPA Heidi Hankins as a probationary employee after successful completion of a background check.

Hankins will serve as a fiscal officer with .6 FTE of her hours devoted to Human Services and .4 FTE to the county's Finance Department.