MARSHALL - It will take a little longer for new political boundaries in area counties and cities to be established, but they are coming, said Lyon County Auditor/Treasurer Paula VanOverbeke. VanOverbeke gave Lyon County commissioners an update on the redistricting process during their regular meeting on Tuesday.
VanOverbeke said she met with representatives of the city of Marshall last week to discuss redistricting. County staff has been assisting the city in preparing redistricting plans, she said. Based on population changes from the 2010 census, the city of Marshall will need to make some adjustments to the boundaries of its three voting wards. However, VanOverbeke said they shouldn't be major changes, and wouldn't affect current Marshall City Council seats.
Once she gets a feel for the city's final redistricting plan, VanOverbeke said the county can begin putting together its own plan for commissioner districts. Lyon County commissioner districts, especially those representing parts of the city of Marshall, are affected by population growth and ward boundary changes within the city.
"We also have to look at where the growth is coming, and where it might be in the future," VanOverbeke said.
VanOverbeke said she would have more information to present to the board at its first March meeting.
Later in Tuesday's meeting, the board had a public hearing on a conditional use permit for McLaughlin & Schulz to operate a gravel mining pit and hot mix plant in Coon Creek Township.
Lyon County Zoning Administrator John Biren said the hearing was being held Tuesday in addition to a county planning commission hearing held Feb. 14. An error in publishing a notice for that hearing meant a second hearing needed to be held to meet requirements, Biren said. He said notice of the hearing was mailed to landowners affected by the proposal. There are farms and four homes, as well as other gravel pits, neighboring the proposed new pit.
There were no members of the public present to comment at the hearing, but commissioners acknowledged the written comments from neighbors of the proposed gravel pit. Written comments submitted by neighboring landowners had no objections to the new gravel pit, but had strong concerns about dust and road maintenance on 210th Street near the pit. That stretch of gravel road is heavily used by truck traffic, Biren said, and maintaining it remains a challenge. Biren said the county has a gentleman's agreement with the township board and gravel haulers to do maintenance on the road and reimburse the costs to the township.
After discussing possibilities for road maintenance and enforcing the CUP, board members voted to approve the permit.
Commissioners also received an update on the aftermath of a fire that damaged the county highway shop in Cottonwood earlier this month. Tools, equipment and several county vehicles, including a new dump truck, were damaged or destroyed in the fire.
Lyon County Administrator Loren Stomberg said insurance adjusters had been to visit the scene of the fire. While results of an investigation were "inconclusive," he said, it looks like the fire may have started in the new truck. The adjuster for the shop building would be sending some preliminary numbers for replacement costs, Stomberg said. Reimbursements for equipment lost in the fire may take longer, he said.
County Public Works Director Suhail Kanwar said his concern would be finding vehicles to replace those lost in the fire in time for summer projects. The county is planning to buy a new truck to replace one totaled in the fire, but Kanwar said one more truck appears to be unusable, so another replacement is needed.
The county could begin a formal bid process for a second truck, Kanwar said, but it would take time during the public works department's busy season.
Commissioner Steve Ritter said he thought the county should stick to its usual bidding process.
"Local bidders need to have a chance," he said. Ritter suggested Kanwar explore options to rent a truck until formal bids could be awarded.