MARSHALL - Lyon County is getting closer to approving insurance settlements for damage to the county highway shop and equipment lost during a fire in February. However, at their regular meeting Tuesday, Lyon County commissioners still had uncertainties on how to proceed with building a new shop.
Commissioners proposed three different motions on the matter and ended by approving a motion to provide up to a third of the cost for a new shop shared by the county and the city of Cottonwood.
Lyon County Administrator Loren Stomberg presented commissioners with settlement figures for two highway department trucks, a tractor and a pickup damaged in the fire. The total settlement amount came to more than $244,000, Stomberg said. Separate settlements for the shop building and its contents totaled more than $80,000, he said.
Commissioners directed Stomberg to ask about a $105,000 settlement offered for a 2011 truck. Based on the truck's age and condition, Commissioner Rodney Stensrud said, the settlement amount seemed "way out of line."
Stomberg said the shop building in Cottonwood was a total loss and would be demolished. In the meantime, the city of Cottonwood had approached the county about the possibility of a shared shop. Cottonwood was proposing to buy an existing building in the city's industrial park and have the county lease or buy part of it for highway shop space.
Stensrud said the initial proposal would be for the county to provide about one-third of the cost of the building, and occupy about a third of the space, 5,200 square feet. Based on the building owner's initial offer, Stensrud said, the cost to the county could be about $120,000.
"We're in dire straits as far as facilities go. This is our best chance," Cottonwood Maintenance Manager Steve Alm said of the partnership.
Cottonwood Interim City Clerk-Administrator Kathy Dahl said the Cottonwood City Council would also be addressing the topic during its regular meeting Tuesday night. An arrangement to share shop space would have to be approved by the council. Additionally, she said, the city has been asked to hold a public hearing before a prospective financer will agree to issue a loan to buy the building.
Both county commissioners and Lyon County Public Works Director Suhail Kanwar questioned parts of the proposal, including whether the county could be part of real estate negotiations on the building, whether the county should lease space in the building or buy it, and whether the county would be better served by building its own shop. A motion by Stensrud to enter into an arrangement with Cottonwood was withdrawn because it was unclear, and a second motion by Commissioner Rick Anderson to purchase 5,200 square feet of the building space died for lack of a second.
The board voted to approve a motion by Commissioner Mark Goodenow to provide up to one-third the purchase price of a shared shop building through a lease agreement.