Board OKs nominating annex to National Register of Historic Places

NEW ULM – Brown County commissioners unanimously approved Tuesday the nomination of the Brown County Museum Annex building to the National Register of Historic Places.

Brown County Historical Society Director Bob Burgess said he anticipated the Annex would require repair work. “This is easier when these properties are on the National Register of Historic Places,” he said.

The 1938 Art Deco style building is located at 12 N. Broadway. It was purchased and re-done for use by BCHS in the 1990s. It was leased from Brown County as the Museum Annex.

Located just north of the Brown County Museum, the annex is used regularly for children’s programming and speakers. It houses collection storage, a transportation exhibit and has space for community programming.

River projects

Commissioners received an update from Kerry Netzke on Area II Minnesota River Basin Projects, Inc. The 2015 budget request remains unchanged from the $12,971 requested in 2014. An Area II Joint Powers Agreement was renewed Nov. 7, 2013 and remains in effect until Dec. 31, 2015.

An update on the Redwood-Cottonwood Rivers Control Area (RCRCA) showed that in 2013 projects included 58 alternative inlet structures, five stream bank stabilization, six drainage water control structures, four drainage management plans and related work The cost-share of the project was $90,300 for $124,600 in completed projects. This year $49,200 in cost-share projects are earmarked to be completed.

RCRCA budget request is $10,050, the same as 2014.

Invasive species aid

Commissioners approved an agreement between the County and Brown Soil & Water Conservation District for facilitating the administration of County Invasive Species Prevention (AISP) Aid. Beginning in 2014, the Legislature approved allocation of $24,762 with no required matching funds. These funds were based on the number of launches and watercraft trailer spaces in the county.

Vote on PERA plan

Commissioners were asked to take a position on preferred voting procedures to conduct a statewide referendum in December.

The referendum is designed to correct a technical oversight made during the creation of the Public Employee Retirement Association (PERA) Local Government Correctional Service Employees Retirement Plan. Recently PERA learned that paperwork done in 2004 did not go far enough to obtain Social Security coverage for the employees who did not have prior membership in the PERA Coordinated Plan as correctional personnel. The referendum is needed to sanction the coverage and extend participation in Social Security to all new employees enrolled in the Correctional Plan.

County Administrator Chuck Enter said this vote should have occurred when the Correctional Plan was created by the Legislature, but was overlooked. Any Correctional Officers hired since 1999 are affected by the oversight.

The Commission chose the majority vote option for the referendum over a divided vote. The voting procedure will be decided on the state level based on the majority of county responses.

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