An earlier vote against an application to withdraw land from the Tree Growth tax status was overturned Tuesday by a unanimous Crow Wing County Board vote in favor of the application.
John Hancock, assistant county attorney who specializes in land issues for the board, advised commissioners the land and subsequent withdrawal from Tree Growth was part of a court settlement regarding an Access Plus communications tower. Part of the court settlement included the county role in issuing building permits for the tower.
By past practice the county board has not denied other Potlatch applications. Larsen noted it was the small size of the parcel, basically 6,000th of an acre, that caused particular concern. While the county could request a minimum withdrawal of an acre, Commissioner John Ferrari said that would just take more land away from the public.
Late in 1999, commissioners voted 3-2 against the withdrawal from Tree Growth of a 50 foot square section of land owned by Potlatch in Lake Edward Township.
Tree Growth and its reduced tax status, which is aimed to promote forest growth and public access to land, has been a cause for concern throughout the past year at the board table.
Larsen said the Tree Growth tax break is not doing what it was set out to do. Ferrari agreed it is not working anymore with rising land prices and development competing for land use.
Two bids were awarded for printing and publishing. The Brainerd Dispatch bid was $7.97 per column inch, an increase from the 1999 bid of $7.70 per column inch. The Crosby Courier publication bid was $7.33 per column inch and $5.80 per column inch for financial statements. The rates were unchanged from 1999.
A closed meeting resolution, originally passed in 1992, was reviewed. Allegations made against an individual may be discussed in closed session using the attorney-client privilege. Any county board member may request an open meeting. Commissioner Jim Hill noted he was pleased 1999 meant few closed sessions.
Payment to Hy-Tec Construction for the jail security upgrade after the inmates escaped was approved, although commissioners questioned why the expenditure was not brought to the board's attention. Glass blocks, tables and window bars were included in the $11,497 bill, of which materials cost about $7,000. Ferrari said the repair was one thing, but the rest of the work should have been brought forward to the board.
Commissioners approved board sponsorship of a WesMin project proposal application to get grant money for area wide training regarding looking at environmental issues along with building permits.
The board also confirmed county sponsorship of the Garrison Kathio West Mille Lacs Sanitary District for Minnesota Counties Insurance Trust participation. The sponsorship is considered a formality.
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