YMC Board extends day care loan program

GRANITE FALLS — The Yellow Medicine County Board voted Tuesday to continue the county-wide deferred loan program available to day care providers.

County Human Services Director Rae Ann Keeler-Aus discussed the program with the board, noting that it was not a line item in her 2020 budget. She said the options were to let the loan opportunity expire, restrict it to new day care providers, or keep it available to any facility.

The deferred loans are used for maintenance and equipment expenses necessary to establish or continue a daycare operation.

The loans are forgiven if the day care operation stays in business for five years. They’re forgiven at a rate of 20 percent of the principal each year.

A total of $50,572 was awarded since 2018. In the first year, 11 home-based day care providers were awarded loans of up to $1,500 while a daycare center in Granite Falls received $25,000. Last year nine providers were given a total of $10,100.

Keeler-Aus recommended continuing the program as a way to maintain and hopefully enhance daycare available throughout the county.

“It’s about sustaining the operations as well as getting the started,” she said. “It helps with capital expenses. We had at least one situation where a daycare probably would have closed without the assistance.”

She said loan costs in 2020 will depend on how many providers apply. Her records show 28 day care operations altogether; 12 in Canby, five in Granite Falls, three in Wood Lake, and two each in Clarkfield, Porter, Hanley Falls and the west side of Montevideo.

The board approved continuing the program for at least one more year. County Administrator Angie Steinbach advised commissioners that funding could be drawn from general county reserves if the loan requests can’t be met through the human services budget.

Transportation items also figured prominently at Tuesday’s board meeting, with actions taken on a state road plan resolution, a railroad crossing, and a detour that was requested by the South Dakota Department of Transportation.

The board approved a resolution that originated in Pipestone County to request a concrete base for the stretch of Minnesota Highway 23 between Pipestone and Russell.

The highway section is part of the construction plan for 2024, but thus far only includes an asphalt mill and overlay. The Lincoln County Board approved the resolution last week.

“The highway goes through Yellow Medicine County, so we have an interest in what’s done with this particular section,” said Commissioner Ron Antony. “We’d benefit from having the best possible corridor.”

The railroad crossing on County Road 39 on the southern outskirts of Granite Falls is scheduled for a state-sponsored railroad crossing installation.

The board approved providing 10 percent of the funding as a required local matching contribution. Yellow Medicine County Highway Engineer Andy Sander said much of the construction and maintenance of the crossing will be paid by the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad.

“A certain number of crossings get funded for traffic signals every year,” Sander said. “This one is in need of safety features because of the berm (man-made hill) that’s right next to it. The berm creates a limited site line.”

The board also approved a detour in the Minnesota Highway 68 area near the South Dakota border, which is needed to route traffic away from a bridge replacement.

The detour route runs north from South Dakota Highway 22 (the counterpart to Highway 68) to Gary, South Dakota, and then utilizes Yellow Medicine County Roads 4 and 15 to return to Highway 68.

The detour adds seven extra miles for through traffic. It’s by far the shortest official detour option since the Lake Cochrane area is located south of the bridge project.

In approving the detour request, the board noted that it might have proven more convenient to combine this year’s bridge work with a Minnesota bridge project on Lazarus Creek west of Canby, which detoured Highway 68 traffic in 2019.

“It would have helped to coordinate,” said Commissioner Glen Kack of Canby. “Now the road will be closed again for another summer.”


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