County Board briefs

The Mille Lacs County Board of Commissioners conducted the following business at its Aug. 5 meeting. This report was written by Joel Stottrup.

Safe routes to school
The board awarded West Branch Construction, Princeton, the contract to construct concrete sidewalks to improve safety for children walking to and from schools on the north end of the city of Princeton. West Branch’s bid was just over $216,398. Three other companies bid, with the highest bid from Standard Sidewalk Inc., Blaine, for close to $280,120. The bid award is pending approval from the Minnesota Department of Transportation.
The project is called Safe Routes to School and is being funded through a federal grant that will cover construction and the engineering. WSB & Associates will be doing the engineering. Mille Lacs County Public Works is administering the project. Public works engineer Bruce Cochran said the plan is to complete it this year. It will result in concrete sidewalks being constructed along Fifth Avenue North between Rum River Drive and 12th Street North, and along 12th Street North between Seventh Avenue North and Rum River Drive to the west.

Loader purchase
The board approved Cochran’s request to purchase a A770 Bobcat all-wheel steer loader from Crawford’s Equipment, Cambridge, for close to $52,282 through a state bid system. It will take over the work that had been performed in Milaca by a 1994 New Holland skid loader, which will be transferred to the county’s north maintenance facility.

Onamia’s tax increment financing
The board received the annual report from Onamia on the city’s four tax increment districts which are labeled Noblewear, Agnew Hardware, Onamia Centennial Ests., and Broiler by James. Tax increment financing allows the taxes on new construction in a tax increment district to be rebated back to the developer or owners for a period of time rather than going to the traditional routes of city, county and school district.

Outlaw Grass Drags liquor license
The board approved a temporary liquor license to Rum River Trail Association for the Aug. 22-24 Outlaw Grass Drags in Princeton Township. The event has snowmobile racing across a grass field, as well as other off-road motorized activities.

Delaying refinancing decision
The board followed County Administrator Roxy Traxler’s recommendation to wait until 2015 to refund certain bonds. The board’s reason for waiting until 2015 to initiate the refunding and refinancing is to be closer to the 2016 call date of the bonds to be refunded.