County Board Briefs: Week of March 15

Purchase of squad cars, pickups

The board approved the purchase of two state-bid squad cars for the Mille Lacs County Sheriff’s Department from Polar Chevrolet, White Bear Lake, at a per car cost of $20,400.45 (with equipment revisions). Each is a 2012 Chev. Impala police sedan with 3.6 liter, 302 hp gas/E85, V6 engine with a power train warranty of five years or 100,000 miles. The board authorized Mille Lacs Public Works to purchase two 2012 GMC Sierra four-wheel-drive, one-ton pickup trucks. One will have a 133.7 in. cab and cost $25,735.32, and the other will have an extended 158.2 in. cab and cost $28,683.74. Both are being obtained as fleet purchase items from Nelson Auto Center, Fergus Falls.


Purchase of three disc mowers

The board also approved public works director Bruce Cochran’s request to purchase three disc-type mowers, with the low bid of three bids awarded to Scharber & Sons in Rogers. The county will receive three mowers for a total of $29,122.17, minus $3,000 of trade-in of two mowers, leaving a cost of just over $27,918 with sales tax.


Discussion of hearing on metal recycler

The board had a short discussion with Mille Lacs County Assistant Attorney Tom Lopez about a public hearing scheduled for the March 12 county planning commission meeting. The hearing was in regard to the board remanding back to the commission a proposed conditional use permit for a metal recycler to collect metals including cars at a site north of the city of Milaca. Cars would be restricted to staying there a maximum of 96 hours before being removed from the premises for processing elsewhere. Among the permit conditions that the board instructed the commission to review again and include in the permit, according to Land Service Director Michele McPherson are: 1. Ability of the Milaca Fire Department to respond to any incident at the site, especially any accumulation of hazardous chemicals. 2. That anything leaking fluids would have to be drained, as well as follow the required laws on draining freon out of refrigeration units. 3. Set a maximum allowable amount of hazardous liquids at the site at any one time. 4. Conduct a qualified analysis of soils at the site for filling a trench that was created at the property. 5. Have the height of the fence be extended to 10 feet from its current approximately six feet.

A woman in the audience at the board meeting asked to speak on the issue. But board chairman Jack Edmonds stated that the board would not take comments that day as residents would have a chance to speak at the March 12 commission hearing.


Approved land deed transaction

The board approved McPherson’s request to straighten out some land property lines in Milo Township through deed work. McPherson explained that through an old survey-line problem, there is a 1.54-acre gap between two properties. The one property is a 60-acre piece owned by the county and once contained a landfill. The other property is an approximately 20-acre piece owned by Dave and Jean Jackson.

The transaction needed to eliminate the gap, McPherson said, will be to deed the Jacksons’ 20 acres over to the county and then the county will deed back to the Jacksons their piece with the proper legal description. The Jacksons will end up with just over 20 acres and the county will have 61.4 acres. The county and the Jacksons have no issues over this plan, McPherson said.


New animal-control contract

The board approved an amended animal contract with On-Line Retrievers for a term of April 1, 2012, to Dec. 31, 2015. The amendment is to include a fee schedule which will be reviewed/approved by the board in November-December of each year for the following year’s services. The contract includes boarding services for the sheriff’s police dog at a rate of $15 per day. The old contract expires this coming March 31.

McPherson told the board that her office and the sheriff’s department have been very pleased with the services of David Russell, with On-Line Retrievers. She noted Russell’s detailed reports, his checking in weekly with the sheriff’s office to obtain incident reports and his providing “good follow-up.”

McPherson provided a summary of animal control contract costs from May 2011 through January of this year. The animal-control contract cost during that time was $7,443.38, plus $1,808.06 for mileage, and $3,967 for impound. The revenue during the same period was $100 from administrative citations, $15.30 from mileage and $311.64 for future assessment, dangerous dog follow-up in the city of Princeton.

The animal control services cover all of the county with the exception of incorporated municipalities and any trust land held for the benefit of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe by the federal government.


Two interim use permits 

The board followed the recommendation of the county planning commission to approve two interim use permits for Gene and Karen Helle at 39099 Sierra Road, South Harbor Township. Each permit is for a vacation rental home with an occupancy of six, is valid for one year from date of issuance, and becomes null and void upon property transfer. Also, the permits are conditioned upon upgrades of the homes to include egress windows, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors by April 1, 2012, and meeting building code requirements. Emergency and contact numbers shall be posted within each rental unit.


Consent agenda business included:

• Approval of a conditional use permit extension for Onamia area resident John Wegner for a construction project.

• Acceptance of the resignation of accounting technician Debra Jensen at the county veterans and services office.

• Adoption of resolution for county’s five-year bridge replacement and transportation plans.

• Elimination of the vacant office support specialist position.

• Approval of a ShoreTel service contract.

• Approval of service delivery evaluation and improvement action plan.

• Authorization of spending $4,000 to send children to summer camp who may be at-risk of out-of-home placement. The county spent close to $3,212 last summer to do this for 13 children from the county.