After spending time reviewing possible impacts from sequestration of federal funding (see front page) -- the County Board also took care of some other business: ~ Commissioners supported acquiring an orphaned parcel of land for the Swedish Immigrant Trail, within Interstate Park. The county was advised by state Dept. of Natural Resources staff that it’s a simpler process for acquiring the lot via county condemnation, than if the state tries to gain control of the 50-by-100 foot piece. The county can subsequently “sell” the lot to the DNR and clear up the title. The east end of the biking and walking trail can become connected from Tern Ave. through the park, into Taylors Falls. In 2009 the county accepted a state trail grant of $73,500 for this east portion of the project. County commissioners directed condemnation to proceed on the Reynold Hawkinson lot, only after first exhausting all efforts to determine if anybody still has a legal interest. ~
The commissioners set a hearing date for a variance from the county roadway access rules. There will be a public hearing on the request for multiple driveways, just south of Almelund, on November 21, at 6:30 p.m. Donald Damm wishes to subdivide 38 acres at 36945 Park Trail, and wants driveways that vary from current rules. ~ Polaris is requesting tax abatement for its Wyoming expansion. A public hearing is to be held at the county boardroom December 19 at 7:10 p.m. The county would abate $73,000 annually for a maximum of five years. The abatement is not the total of estimated new revenues from the expansion. Polaris estimates the county’s tax revenue increase (when the new project is done) will be $110,000 annually, so $73,000 of this would be the abatement. It’s been reported by other news outlets that the expansion is “adding 300 jobs.” County HRA/EDA Director Nancy Hoffman clarified that there are 115 new fulltime equivalent jobs promised as part of this abatement application.
Over the five years of the tax incentive, however, it’s certainly possible more jobs could materialize. ~ A preliminary plan for Chisago County to use a fleet management company got the go-ahead to be negotiated into what the county administrator called, a “bona fide proposal.” Government entities are using Enterprise Fleet Management programs and are finding it to be cost-effective, according to County Administrator Bruce Messelt. Vehicles in the county fleet now average eight years’ use. For about the same budget; the county could rotate fleet vehicles more frequently and gain better control over related costs like service/maintenance and fuel. These Enterprise vehicles would be non-pursuit sheriff cars, small trucks and small passenger cars. Messelt will report back. ~ There are openings on a few county boards and commissions. Lora Walker’s District 1 has an opening on the County Park Board and on the HRA/EDA. There are two at-large seats on the water plan policy team also opening at the end of this year. The Public Health Commission has five seats that are all at-large. One at-large and one seat for a person residing in Ben Montzka’s Dist. 4 also open up on the Extension Committee. See the county website or contact county administration or email/ call your commissioner if you are interested in serving.