Crow Wing County commissioners objected to a suggested minimum sale price for tax-forfeited land in Baxter.
The land in the Ironwood Meadows development is west of Jasperwood Drive in south Baxter. There are 19 tax-forfeited parcels with special assessments that are greater than the appraised land value. The county revised the land value downward after 2012 appraisals and reduced the parcel values from about $25,000 to a range from nearly $15,000 to about $18,000. Baxter special assessments on the property, relating to infrastructure improvements like sewer and water, amount to an additional $19,822.
Kirk Titus, land services supervisor for public land management, suggested setting a starting bid for the tax-forfeited parcels at the cost of the special assessments plus 5 percent to go to the county’s tax-forfeit fund to move the land. With that formula the lots would have a starting bid of $20,814.
Titus proposed added the 19 parcels to the county’s fall land sale in an effort to get them back for the tax rolls. Parcels that don’t sell at auction, are then placed on the county’s unsold list where they may be purchased over the counter. Commissioner Phil Trusty questioned the sale price, suggesting before the discounts were so deep the county should try selling the land at the recently reduced prices.
“I don’t want to sound like I don’t want to put something back on the tax rolls because I do,” Trusty said.
Trusty said it’s been a tough sell for the past three years, but maybe the reduced price would have more interest. With the assessments added, an $18,000 appraised land parcel would actually cost $37,823. The question was whether the market is ready to bear that kind of price.
Commissioner Paul Thiede asked if Baxter was approached to split the difference instead of taking its entire assessment.
“They are unable or unwilling?” Thiede asked.
Administrator Tim Houle said cities typically have the debt to consider for the public improvement and have the ability to wait out the market to recoup incurred costs. The county is responsible for upkeep and mowing on the residentially zoned parcels. Ironwood Meadows lots entered tax-forfeit status beginning in 2008 and continued with more parcels in 2009 and 2010.
Thiede noted the county’s net gain on the sale was about $1,000 and he didn’t think it was a reasonable return for the tax-forfeit fund. With this scenario, Thiede said the county is working to recoup money for the city of Baxter. He said the special assessments are making the land unmarketable while the county is responsible for maintenance such as mowing.
The board voted to remove the land from the fall sale, which is 10 a.m. Nov. 9.
Administrator Tim Houle said the county would work on a stepped down reduction in market price to see how quickly the land could be sold to maximize the county’s return.
In other business, the board:
Accepted Holmvig Excavating as the low bidder for four flood mitigation projects expected to be completed this fall. The projects are on County Highway 1 to replace the Van Sickle Brook culvert, for work on County Highway 10, County Highway 39 at Johnson’s Creek and at County Highway 36 at Ross Brook. Holmvig Excavating was the lowest of three bids at $220,580.72. The engineer’s estimate was $222,196.50.
Assigned county surveyor duties to Paul Kerkenhoff, survey/planning coordinator.
Released a summary of a Sept. 11 closed meeting for Land Services Director Mark Liedl. The board commended Liedl for a transition to a “more customer-focused outcomes-driven approach to managing” land services. His work was credited in regard to key projects such as the future land use map and land use ordinance update.
“His leadership and experience on how best to protect our natural resources while allowing for sensible development in Crow Wing County is noted and appreciated,” the county wrote. “The county board continues to be impressed with Mr. Liedl’s ability to see the larger vision of the type of organization Crow Wing County aspires to be and his ability to help bring that to fruition.”
Approved trail permits between Edgewild Resort and the city of Crosslake.
Proclaimed Oct. 7-13 as national 4-H week. Crow Wing County 4-Hers present to help commissioners with the Pledge of Allegiance. The 4-Hers also served a continental breakfast outside the board room before Tuesday’s session.
There are more than 300 4-H members in Crow Wing County with more than 100 volunteers. The county board urged people to take advantage of an opportunity to be more aware of 4-H as county and state university partnership that serves as a youth development program.
Met in closed session for labor negotiations. Board chairman Doug Houge was absent Tuesday with Vice Chair Nystrom taking over the gavel.