Crow Wing County Board authorized a short-term loan of $100,000 to the North Long Lake Sanitary Sewer District for engineering to upgrade the sanitary sewer system.
Once the engineering is completed, the district expects to seek state grants for a portion of the cost and have the county issue another long-term bond to pay off the $100,000 and finance the construction. Cost is estimated to be $800,000 with a possible $400,000 grant. The county noted the 2.3 percent interest on its return is better than the half percent the county is receiving on the funds now. The district, which covers an area from Birchdale Road by Brainerd International Raceway around the backside of the track to Donnybrook, is all lakeshore with a high water table. The district has 66 hookups.
In other business, the board:
Approved the preliminary plat of Wilderness Center, a planned community development with four units and a common lot on 6.37 acres off Pine Beach Road. Chris Pence, Land Services supervisor, said the plat process allows the county to make sure storm water, lighting, screening issues are looked at rather than a straight permit process. The board split in the vote with Commissioner Paul Koering and Commissioner Rosemary Franzen opposed. Commissioners Rachel Reabe Nystrom, Doug Houge and Paul Thiede voted in favor.
Approved spending $200,000 from the capital improvement budget for revisions to the Land Services Building, near the Crow Wing County historic courthouse. The plan is to expand counter space from three service areas to five and put all the Land Services staff in the same area. The changes involve moving bathroom facilities across to the other side of the main stairway into locker room space that is mainly unused.
Gary Griffin, Land Services supervisor in what was formerly called the assessor’s office, said staff will be able to work with customers using one counter. Griffin said the move from the third floor of the historic courthouse to the Land Services building wasn’t the greatest situation but they’ve made it work. Griffin said spending for the work was approved in the 2013 budget so it has no effect on the 2014 budget.
Thiede praised the department for its cross-training and said while moving the bathrooms wasn’t ideal it was part of an ongoing process to improve efficiency.
Koering said while he understood what they were trying to achieve he had to vote against it. Koering said right now he feels the county has to try to get along with what it has and keep costs under control but he may agree in the future. The board approved the spending on a 4-1 vote.
Voted to cancel the heating ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) contract with Honeywell as of Jan. 1, 2014. Facilities manager Reid Thiesse said an HVAC technician will be hired and services will be managed in-house as a way to save costs and provide better service.
Met in a closed session for labor negotiations.