Lake County Commissioners learned on Tuesday that the sufficiency ratings for 10 bridges in the county dropped as a result of the September 2019 flooding.

Two are now posted with different weight limits. One is by Stemper Auto Body north of SD-34 on 456th Avenue. The other is by Brant Lake on 462nd Avenue.

Both bridges have sufficiency ratings of 43. Once a bridge's sufficiency rating drops to 50 or below, it is posted.

"There are quite a few that are close to that 50 mark," Shelli Gust, commission administrative officer, told commissioners. "You may see some get to that in the next few years."

She said she had prepared the list for commissioners to review. Among those approaching that mark are: a 1977 bridge on 447th Avenue near the 240th Street intersection which dropped from 79 to 63; a 1937 bridge on 235th Street just south of Madison which dropped from 80 to 55; a 1985 bridge on 227th Street east of Rutland which dropped from 90 to 63; and a 1985 bridge on 225th Street northeast of Rutland which dropped from 79 to 63.

Repairs have been made to one of the bridges with a lowered sufficiency rating after it was identified as a project that qualified for federal funding. The 1956 bridge is located on 463rd Avenue northeast of Rutland and had a rating which dropped from 84 to 51. It has not been reinspected since work was completed.

In making her presentation, Gust noted that the bridge on 241st Street/County Road 52 east of Chester did have an improved sufficiency rating and now stands at 100.

"Let's get excited about this one. That's your first BIG (Bridge Improvement Grant) bridge," she told commissioners.

In other business related to the Highway Department, the commission approved a joint powers force account agreement with the state Department of Transportation which allows the county to receive Federal Aid Emergency Relief funds for 10 projects that were identified following September flooding.

The projects included work such as replacing culverts, gravel, asphalt surfacing, embankments, riprap, sheet pile to protect wingwalls and, in one location, guard rail. The county could receive up to $428,832 for completing the restoration work identified at these sites.

When asked when highway crews would begin work on the projects, Lake County Highway Superintendent Nels Nelson reported that many of them had already been completed. Lake County Auditor Bobbi Janke reported the bills have already been submitted to the state for these.

The commission also approved the purchase of a 2020 Caterpillar 313F excavator. Nelson explained this would ultimately result in savings because the county could do work which is now being done by outside contractors.

"This is a piece of equipment we definitely need," he said.

Commissioners asked about financing, rental agreements and other equipment prior to voting on the request. Nelson indicated he would be presenting a 10-year plan for equipment purchase and replacement when giving his next quarterly report.

"There's a lot of other equipment we need, but we'll have to take one step at a time," he said.

In other business, the commission:

-- Learned school tours scheduled for April 7 have been canceled.

-- Following a short executive session, appointed Wollmann to sit on a committee to enforce a court order against Edward Lee Sasse, whose property in Chester is considered a public nuisance.

-- Received a request from Veterans Service Officer Courtney Van Zanten to work from home. She said she could address most issues by email or phone and could meet with veterans on a one-to-one basis in an emergency.

Van Zanten told commissioners, "I don't think the people I work with should be out and about."

-- Approved a status change and raise for dispatcher Nancy Vickmark, who is now state certified.

-- Acknowledged the retirement of Extension Office manager Glenda Blom effective May 8 and authorized posting the position now.

-- Received a report from Sheriff Tim Walburg, who said he would be advertising for jail meal bids.

-- Approved an application for a commercial solid waste hauler license and permit from Waste Connections of South Dakota, Inc., dba Cook's Wastepaper and Recycling.

-- Approved a plat of Tract 2A of B. Price Addition, submitted by Lee Yager and Donna Yager, which added in more land.

-- As the Board of Adjustment, approved a conditional use permit for Rick Odland to build a 40x125-foot building beside an existing commercial cold storage building along SD-34; denied a variance request from Justin and Kristin Olson who sought to build an accessory pole building closer to the rear property line than ordinances allow; and approved a variance request from Michael and Jennifer Reecy who are building a new home on a nonconforming lot where the previous structure sustained major damages during the September flood.

-- Tentatively scheduled a second Board of Equalization meeting for April 21 should it be needed after the April 14 meeting.

-- Awarded bids for materials used by the Highway Department.

-- Following an executive session, voted to implement measures "to protect the general health and safety of county residents, which includes our county employees." This includes advising the public to do business by email, phone or online whenever possible; requiring appointments for essential services; and giving Wollmann and Commissioner Aaron Johnson the authority to make decisions and take action in response to COVID-19.