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State proposes settlement over Wabasha County feedlots

WABASHA — The Wabasha County Board on Tuesday is scheduled to discuss a proposed settlement with the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources.

The state board is seeking $124,873 from Wabasha County because the state says the county didn't follow state rules when improving two county feedlots.

The matter has been ongoing since late 2011, when the state investigated work done by former county feedlot officer Troy Dankemeyer. The state contends Dankemeyer violated state rules and demanded the county return $115,579 as well as the $9,294 the state says it spent on investigating the matter.

The county has not contested that the grants were improperly administered and has implemented new procedures to ensure it doesn't happen again.

"I think there was a lot of trust put in that position," Wabasha County Board Chairman Don Springer said. "We have controls to make sure that doesn't happen again."


That leaves the matter of the money.

In an Oct. 8 letter to try to settle the matter, David Weirens, acting assistant director of the Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Services, said the state is making a new offer:

• The state will waive the $9,294 investigation fee.

• It will apply the county's portion of the 2014 and 2015 Natural Resources Block Grant for a total of $49,626 to the money Wabasha owes.

• That will leave the county with $65,953 to pay.

"Please consider this a good faith effort to resolve the violations," he wrote.

Dankemeyer's location was unknown for a few years, but Wabasha County Attorney James Nordstrom said he has been located. No charges have been filed against Dankemeyer, according to Wabasha County District Court.

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