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Swift County buys land in Pope County for gravel

BENSON -- Swift County will spend $430,000 to purchase 160 acres of land that will be mined for gravel and used for county highway projects.

In a unanimous vote, commissioners authorized Highway En-gineer Andrew Sander to enter into a purchase agreement with Jorgenson Trust to purchase the land at a cost of about $2,600 an acre.

The property is located in Section 33 of Langhei Township in Pope County, on the northern border of Swift County.

County Auditor Byron Giese said the highway department had been looking for some time for land with a gravel supply to purchase.

Sanders told the commissioners on Tuesday that soil tests in-dicate the site has enough gravel on it to justify the purchase, Giese said.

Currently the county purchases gravel from various entities. The highway department believes having a county-owned gravel pit will save the county money in the long-run, said Giese. Because the department doesn't intend to purchase equipment to crush gravel, the county will still have to hire someone to do that, he said.

The county will use general fund reserves to pay for the property.

In other action, the board:

- Heard from Rep. Andrew Falk, DFL-Murdock, and Swift County-Benson Hospital Director Frank Lawatsch about con-cerns when the General Assistance Medical Care disappears this spring because of Gov. Tim Pawlenty's unallotment. La-watsch is concerned the hospital will end up writing off unpaid medical bills. Falk is attempting to get the program reinstated.

- Approved an ordinance to allow mini-trucks to be driven on county roads. Townships will have to pass their own ordinance to allow the vehicles to be driven on township roads.

- Was informed that Volvo has agreed to replace a "lemon" motor grader with a new one at a net cost of $75,000. The offer includes a five-year maintenance agreement.

Carolyn Lange

A reporter for more than 30 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.

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