MARSHALL - The Lyon County Board voted Tuesday to approve an agreement that would help make a bike trail connecting Marshall and Camden State Park possible. However, the agreement didn't find unanimous support among county commissioners.
At Tuesday's meeting, Lyon County Public Works Director Suhail Kanwar and Marshall City Administrator Ben Martig presented a contract between the county and the city of Marshall to build a paved trail in five segments. The trail route would start at Wayside Park in Marshall and run southwest, through the city of Lynd before connecting with an existing trail in Camden State Park.
Under the agreement, the city of Marshall would pay for construction costs for the segments at either end of the trail, while the county would be responsible for construction of the remaining segments. The county would also provide gravel and equipment to the city for trail construction. Once the trail is finished, the county would be responsible for its maintenance outside Marshall city limits.
Commissioners Rick Anderson and Rodney Stensrud asked Kanwar what the trail's estimated cost would be. The total cost estimates came to about $1.5 million, but Kanwar said two segments of the trail could hopefully be paid for by grant funds. The city of Lynd has also pledged funds toward construction, he said.
After more discussion, Stensrud said he couldn't support the agreement.
"I personally don't like using CSAH (County State Aid Highway) money for a bike trail," Stensrud said. "I don't like the idea that we're going to take care of it forever, either."
Anderson said he felt conflicted.
"It's a good project," he said, but he also didn't agree with using highway money for it. Anderson said he also thought the agreement's completion date of 2015 put too much commitment on the county.
In the end, Anderson voted in favor of the agreement. The trail agreement passed 4-1, with Stensrud casting the dissenting vote.
Later in the meeting, commissioners discussed a proposed cooperative agreement for the county planning and zoning department and the Lyon County Soil and Water Conservation District. County Planning and Zoning Administrator John Biren presented a draft agreement, a transition plan and a proposed 2013 budget plan to commissioners.
The possibility of the conservation district and planning and zoning working together and sharing office space has been discussed since the retirement of the SWCD's administrator earlier this year. Biren said planning and zoning's responsibilities would work well together with the conservation district's, which include preventing erosion and preserving water quality.
Under the proposed agreement, the Lyon County ditch department would be in charge of implementing the Wetland Conservation Act in the county, and the SWCD would manage programs for feedlots, sewage treatment systems, local water plans, aeration and the Department of Natural Resources Shoreland Program. During the transition, day to day services would be offered through both the Public Works office and the SWCD office, Biren said.
The partnership "is going to create some more work for other parts of the county," Biren said, but would also free up the SWCD's time to work on projects.
The proposed 2013 budget included funding from both state programs and the county. Biren estimated total costs to the county, including rent, supervisor expenses and pay for a part-time secretary and conservation technician, at about $148,000. Some items in the budget would require cash or in-kind matches.