Central Electric building purchase still on holdHail damage, environmental cleanup at issue as county attempts to complete transaction.
By: Ross Dolan, The Daily Republic
The details of storm damage and environmental cleanup continue to delay the sale of the Central Electric building at 1420 N. Main St. in Mitchell to Davison County.
The county has agreed to purchase the building for $575,000 from the co-op once arrangements for hail repairs are made and potentially hazardous materials have been cleaned up. The county’s use plans for the facility include a county nurse office and a commissioners’ meeting room. No closing date has been set.
PCBs, or poly-chlorinated biphenyls, which were used industry-wide at one time to cool transformers, have been found on a concrete slab in a detached outbuilding, but not in the main office structure.
County Maintenance Supervisor Mark Ruml told the county commissioners Tuesday that he has been in regular contact with Central Electric officials on the cleanup and hail insurance issues. Ruml said he learned this week that environmental issues would be an exclusion on the county’s insurance policy, so a full cleanup of the site is required.
Commissioner John Claggett said the cleanup will not prevent the sale or use of the property.
“We’ve met requirements for EPA testing and we only have to remediate that area,” Claggett said. Central Electric will be liable for the cleanup costs and a retest to determine that the area is clear of contaminants.
Central Electric General Manager Loren Noess said in a later phone interview that his coop will be responsible for the required PCB remediation work, which will be handled by GeoTek Engineering of Sioux Falls.
Noess said working out a settlement for hail damage repairs won’t be an issue. The building was damaged in the May 5 hail storm.
“We’d still like to get it all straightened out by the end of the month,” he said.
In other business, the commissioners:
• Approved the first reading of a 2013 provisional budget of roughly $10 million, an amount that includes a $3.2 million road and bridge budget and a law enforcement and safety budget of $2.9 million.
• Approved the purchase of a Viper Slider 1610E carpet cleanerextractor for $1,858.
• Noted that the county-owned pickup used by Highway Superintendent Rusty Weinberg will need repairs after hitting a deer.
• Confirmed there will not be a commission meeting Sept. 18, when the commissioners will attend a meeting of the South Dakota Association of County Officials in Sioux Falls.
• Heard a quarterly report from Community Health Nurse Natalie Van Drongelen, who said there will be a free flu clinic from 3 to 7 p.m. Oct. 16 at the Corn Palace.
• Discussed possible assistance for Zoning Administrator Dan Sudrla, who also handles issues pertaining to drainage, 911 addressing and Geographic Information Systems. “Dan can use some support; the question is how do we make it work?” asked Claggett, expressing concern over the budget.
• Approved the hire of James Dietz as a part-time corrections officer at a rate of $10.70 an hour, effective immediately.
• Said the county-wide burn ban will remain in force until further notice. The commissioners said they have had to reject several burn requests.
• Cut the weed department budget from $125,332 to $120,332.
• Budgeted $6,000 for LifeQuest, up from $5,000 in 2012, after Director Daryl Kilstrom had requested $10,000; $1,000 was budgeted for the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) program; $6,500 for the Mitchell Public Library; and care of the poor — $351,794 in 2012 — will go up to $383,467 in 2013.
• Approved the hire of two MTI work-study students (the county pays $1.80 an hour as part of the federal program, which will cover the balance of the minimum hourly wage).