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PC board gets good news about road borrowing

ELLSWORTH -- The Pierce County Board of Supervisors got some unexpected good news about highway borrowing on Jan. 22.

For months, it was projected the interest rate for the $7 million project would be around 1.67 percent. However, it was announced the rate will be 1.359.

Joe Murray from Springsted and the county's financial adviser said the county received 11 bids and Robert W. Baird and Co. submitted the lowest rate. Murray attributed the number of bids and the low rate to the county's strong Moody's rating.

"The county is in a strong position to move forward," he said. He added the county will be saving around $66,000 with the changes in the interest rates.

The county has 10 years to pay off the $7 million loan, but is required to spend it within the first two years, so be prepared for repairs this spring and summer.

In other action, the board:

  • Approved the county's contribution not to exceed $200,000 toward the assistance of a fire fighters' grant. In 2011, the seven county fire and six EMS services applied for a federal grant, seeking a region-wide simulcast two-way radio and paging system, used on a daily basis to notify fire fighters, EMS and other first responders an emergency response is required. The total cost was $1,296,500. Last March, they were awarded a sum of $1,000,000. The units asked for the county's help, figuring they could come up with the remaining funds ($96,500) by themselves. Another benefit, it was stated, is this system should resolve the communication problem caused by terrain and the many valleys and coulees in the county.
  • Held another strategic planning session on Jan. 21 and created a mission statement using the acronym STAR - Service, Trust, Accountability and Respect. Another session is scheduled for Monday, Feb. 25, the night before the next scheduled board meeting.
  • Issued proclamations to Doug Claflin, Kim Greske, Dennis Swanson, William Weldon, Harold Gipford Jr., Michael Metcalf and Thomas H. Schutz. Claflin, Greske, Swanson and Weldon all retired from the highway department after serving nine, 33, 13 and 23 years, respectively. Gipford Jr., and Metcalf served solid waste for 16 and 22 years each, while Schutz said goodbye to the sheriff's department after 12 years.
  • Approved Highway Commissioner Chad Johnson as commissioner, with the term now indefinite. In his letter to the board, Johnson said, "I have enjoyed the challenges of being the highway commissioner, but especially have enjoyed seeing the progress and improvements at the highway department and on the county highway system in the last four years."
Jason Schulte

Jason Schulte is a reporter for the New Richmond News since February 2015. Prior to that he spent eight years at the Pierce County Herald in Ellsworth. His duties with the News will include covering news out of Hammond and Roberts along with action from St. Croix County court system. He lives in Roberts. 

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