The Carver County Board of Commissioners has been busy at recent sessions, approving a variety of proclamations and making plans for summer projects and initiatives.
At its April 1 session, the Board approved a series of proclamations, declaring various weeks in April and May to recognize those that serve Carver County and its residents. April 13-19 is National Telecommunications Week, designed to recognize those who link those in need of help to emergency services. The first full week of May is National Corrections Officers Week, recognizing those that are perhaps locked in to their buildings each day, supervising the county inmates.
May 5-11 is recognized as National Nurses Week, honoring the nurses and staff that provide quality and safe care to county inmates.
Peace Officers Memorial Day is May 15 and falls during National Police Week (May 11-17). The week, and memorial day, are just one way that counties and cities can recognize law enforcement officers for the sacrifices they make. Carver County has lost three officers in the line of duty: Ronald Kalkes (1973), Richard Lura (1973), and Donald Reimann (1988).
The County Board also proclaimed the week of April 7-11 as Public Health Week in Carver County. Public Health Department Manager Marcee Shaughnessy presented a list of achievements the department had in 2013 and some of the initiatives it will focus on in 2014. This year’s National Public Health Week theme is “Public Health: Start Here.” One of Carver County’s biggest goals this year is to identify the health disparities in the community and work towards health equity throughout Carver County.
In planning for the summer season, the Board of Commissioners approved the 2014 Aquatic Invasive Species inspection program, which will run for 19 weeks from May 10-Sept. 14. The AIS program will continue to service nine area lakes and 10 public access points. In 2013, the program had over 7,000 service hours and conducted thousands of inspections, finding just five cases of zebra mussels. Services for 2014 will total roughly $119,000, with $50,000 in county dollars and the rest from outside funding including the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District, the Friends of Lake Bavaria homeowners association, a DNR grant, and DNR in-kind services.
Also at the April 1 session, the Board adopted a resolution supporting free and open GIS data.
Geographic Information Services (GIS) data, including aerial photography, road networks, property boundaries, address information, and elevation data, are available for anyone to view online and are freely shared with public organizations.
This resolution eliminates a previous data license agreement, has no use restrictions, and will distribute the GIS data via the county’s website. Hennepin, Ramsey, and Dakota counties have already passed this resolution, while Anoka, Scott, and Washington are in the works. Although the county does not currently charge for GIS data, current licenses and copyrights restrict what citizens can do with the data. This resolution will eliminate those licenses and will make the information more readily available.
Board Chairman Gayle Degler noted that in 2012-13, Carver County gained nearly 2,000 new residents, the highest percentage gain in any Minnesota county. In addition, Carver County was ranked No. 1 in overall health for the second consecutive year.
At its March 18 session, the Board heard a performance review of the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District from the Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR). A performance review is routine and required by state statute to be complete once a decade.
The report states that the MCWD met 12 of 14 benchmark standards, considering very good, and also met all but two of the basic practice standards. The MCWD was described as “highly functioning and highly achieving” according to the report, that stated the MCWD can serve as a model for other metro watershed districts.
The MCWD has received two awards in recent months. First, the MCWD was named Watershed District of the Year at the Department of Natural Resources’ annual convention. Secondly, the MCWD recently found out that it had won the Clean Water Champion Award by the Freshwater Society. That awarded will be presented next month.
The BWSR also made recommendations to the MCWD for improvement, which the MCWD is already putting into effect.
Also at the meeting, the Board approved a contract with WSB & Associates Inc. for improvements to Lake Minnewashta Regional Park. The nearly $1.2 million project will be funded by State Park Road Account funding, County Program Aid, and the Parks and Trails Fund. The project will pave a one-mile stretch of road from the park’s main entrance to the beach parking lot, including a bypass lane within the park entrance to ease traffic in and out of the park.
Other work will include the redevelopment of boat access No. 1, consolidating all watercraft at one location, and improving aquatic invasive species inspections.
There will also be alternate bid options to include improvements to the maintenance shop and parking lot, caretaker house,and off-leash dog area. The last major project at Lake Minnewashta Regional Park, besides trails, was the paving of the beach parking lot in 2000.
The next meeting of the Carver County Board of Commissioners will be April 15 at 4 p.m.
Contact Melissa Marohl at [email protected]