Carver County ties up ends, reflects on 2013

It was a full agenda at the Dec. 17 meeting of the Carver County Board, its last of 2013.
The Board recognized the 12 employees that retired in 2013, as well as two that departed in late 2012. Collectively, the 14 retirees have a combined 270-plus years of service to the county. This year’s retirees included Ron Allen (2012, Administrative Services), David Homorody (2012, Community Social Services), Julie Boden (Sheriff’s Office), James Broucek (Community Social Services), Ken Carlson (Sheriff’s Office), Diane Gerhardt (Community Social Services), Norbert Gomer (Community Social Services), Barbara Klein (Public Works – Parks), Doris Janousek-Krogman (Employee Relations), Laura Mueller (Community Social Services), Cynthia Oraskovich (U of M Extension, Administrative Services), Jan Palumbo (Community Social Services), Gerri Sherman (Court Services), and Michael Tanguay (Community Social Services).
Also on the agenda, the Carver County Board approved a resolution to pay for some trees at a residence on 66th Street in Waconia Township. The trees were damaged as the county was reconstructing the CSAH 10 bridge at Maple in 2011.
In the consent agenda, the Board adopted a resolution to authorize land acquisition by eminent domain for right of way rights on some properties near the CSAH 10 bridge reconstruction project.
A right of way settlement was approved with property owners for easements needed for the Southwest Reconnection Project between Chanhassen and Shakopee over the Minnesota River.
The county has entered into a joint powers agreement with Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott, and Washington counties, along with the cities of Bloomington and Minneapolis for a MetroSHARE Adult Health Survey. The survey would help with some of the statewide SHIP grant requirements, and would provide useful information for the county to assess risky behaviors and overall health status, and be able to prioritize health needs to design programs for the adult population of Carver County.
Chairman Tim Lynch concluded the meeting by presenting the 2013 Year in Review, which highlighted some of the accomplishments of the Board the last 12 months.
• In 2013, Carver County launched CarverLink, the fiber optic network that is being utilized by many county departments, schools, and cities. Another link, this one the transit SmartLink between Scott and Carver counties was finalized, with results including lower costs per trip and increased ridership.
• A successful year for libraries, the Watertown branch was renovated and held a grand reopening while plans are underway to construct a new library branch in the city of Victoria.
• Parks continued to be a favorite of Minnesotans, with over 580,000 visits to county-run parks and trails this year. Seven miles of trails were added this year, including 5.5 miles to the Dakota Rail Regional Trail and 1.5 within Lake Minnewashta Regional Park. The Lake Waconia Regional Park received its last parcel to fulfill the master plan, adding 19.29 acres and 890 feet of shoreline to the property. In addition, the Parks Department provided over 8,000 hours of inspections at 10 area lakes.
• The Attorney’s Office of Carver County has kept busy this year, debuting their Veteran’s Program, which aims to assist veterans who find themselves in the criminal justice system. The program is a collaboration between many entities including the attorney’s office, Veteran’s Affairs, Court, law enforcement, veterans’ groups, the defense bar and probation. The Carver County Attorney also joined with Anoka County and others to educate residents about elder abuse, including a booth at the Senior Expo in Waconia this fall.
• In Public Works, a variety of projects were began and completed throughout the year. The biggest venture was Carver County taking the lead on the Southwest Reconnection Project between Chanhassen and Shakopee over the Minnesota River. Construction is set to begin in June of 2014.
• Twenty three crossroad culverts were replaced, five bridge decks repaired, and 56 winter snow events were taken care of by the highway maintenance staff this year. In addition, the County Road 41 bridge over Bevens Creek was replaced, along with nearly 10 miles of repaved roads in the county and six miles of new seal coating. In 2014, four more deficient bridges will be replaced, including County Road 10 over the Crow River in Watertown.
• The County completed construction of a new piece of County Road 11, which stretches from County Road 61 near the Carver Fleet Farm north to County Road 10. Construction also began on a portion of Highway 101, expanding to four lanes between Pioneer Trail and Lyman Boulevard; construction will wrap in 2014.
• Carver County also received many awards in 2013 including GFOA Awards, a Governor’s Safety Award, a Minnehaha Creek Watershed District “Hero”, and a Sunny Award from the Sunshine Review. The county was also named the No. 1 county in Minnesota in health factors and outcomes, up from No. 2 in 2012.
Lynch thanked the county’s many residents for the opportunity to serve as Board Chairman this year.
“We have accomplished many things and I look forward to our future as a community,” he said.
The Carver County Board will reconvene on Jan. 7 for its 2014 Organization Session at 9 a.m.

Contact Melissa Marohl at melissa.marohl@ecm-inc.com

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