Updates on: Usage of County Services, Purchase of Old Town Estates, Housing Affordability, Safety Training Center, and, Groundwater Quality


People Use County Services 

Year End Totals: The Property Records and Licensing team does a lot of customer service, which means we receive many phone calls. There are five general phone numbers that come into PRL. During year 2023, 44,437 calls came in on the general lines. (doesn’t included direct line calls). This averages 212 calls per day. The highest number of calls per day came in October (263) and November (254) which is attributed to the special elections. The information desk averages 53 calls per day or 11,249 a year, which is included in the number above.

Vital Records; ie, birth, death and marriage certificates are fairly consistent. 37,549 vital records were processed in 2023 which averages to 177 records per day. We are pleased that this area is finally fully staffed with five front facing people ready to help.

Passport processing have increased tremendously over the past few years:

4,500 in 2020

6,200 in 2021

7,500 in 2022

9,000 in 2023

Project Community Connect

Project Community Connect – an event designed to provide services and resources for people who are homeless or struggling to make ends meet was held on Friday, January 26, 2024, at Gloria Day Lutheran Church. The event was sponsored by the Homeless Community Network of Olmsted County.

Purchase of Old Town Estates

Olmsted County Housing and Redevelopment Authority authorized the purchase of the Old Town Estates (607 East Center Street) for $5,000,000.  The Coalition for Rochester Area Housing will provide $1,000,000. Offices in the building are currently leased through May 2025.

The building has 60 affordable units.  New residents could move into available units in the summer of 2024.  This will help to greatly reduce the waiting list of homeless people.

Olmsted Commissioners laid the groundwork for providing affordable housing by setting aside $5,000,000 from ARPA funds.

This purchase was supported by the neighborhood residents.

Building Affordable Housing

The HRA also purchased 10 lots to build affordable single-family homes.  When built, these homes will be placed into a community land trust in partnership with First Homes.  This assures that the houses will always stay in the affordable range.  The cost of the 10 lots was $680,000.

These houses will be a pilot project for a larger project to build more homes.  Olmsted County is working with the City of Rochester and our community partners to take action on a larger project.

Public Safety Training Center

Our warm Winter has allowed construction to move ahead on the Public Safety Training Center.  The precast concrete panels are being put in place.  The building is projected to be completed at the end of August.  This building will allow the maintenance facility for the Sheriff Department vehicles to move to the new facility.  The space vacated by the Sherrif’s vehicle maintenance will then be converted to Graham Plaza, a community focused enhancement at Graham Park (Olmsted County currently has a bonding request for this conversion).

Public Works Service Center

The expansion of the Public Works Service center is progressing.  The precast panels are almost complete and the structural steel is being installed.  Roofing is next.  The projected completion is the end of July.

Groundwater Quality

Our Soil and Water staff assisted state agencies in monitoring groundwater flow.  The staff poured dye into sinkholes and then tracked and mapped where the dye went.

2023 was the first year of the County’s Nitrate Reduction/Groundwater protection program.  The county funded the program with $5,00,0000 from ARPA funds.  Over 100 producers were certified with over 6400 acres in the program.  By changing farming practices to include cover crops, small grains, and haying and grazing acres, over 500,000 pounds of nitrogen were prevented from entering the groundwater.  The program was very successful in its first year and Olmsted looks forward to adding more acres to the program and further reduction of nitrates.

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