Houston County commissioners approved the purchase of six acres adjacent to the county airport at the February 28 meeting.
Commissioner Greg Myhre reported that he spoke with Nicholas J. Hoscheit about the property he owns at 17149 State 76, which is adjacent to the airport. The county is interested in purchasing the acreage where the house, farm buildings, and trees are located. Hoscheit is not interested in selling just two acres. Myhre confirmed, “It is all or none.” Hoscheit wants to know by Wednesday if the county intends to buy it as he has other buyers interested in the property. The selling price is $100,000.00.
“High price for six acres. If it was an open field, still a high price for a six-acre parcel even if it was all ag. If we were to buy that parcel, FAA would participate, maybe, in the portion that makes sense to the airport. There’s about 2.8 acres that have trees and whatnot that are in the flight path that we could remove. If we remove those trees, we are able, possibly able, to get our instrument landing certification back again, so the pilots can land on instrument instead of visual sight,” commented Commissioner Robert (Bob) Burns. “We are paying $100,000 for six acres. How much do you think it would take to remove all those trees, the house, the barn, and whatnot. You would have another $50,000 tied up.”
It was mentioned that it would take FAA six to eight months to decide if they would participate, and then it would only be the area in the flight plan. Based on County Engineer Brian Pogodzinski experience with FAA, he was confident is saying yes, that FAA would participate after the fact.
Commissioner Eric Johnson adamantly stated that he “doesn’t like it.” He stressed that it was not in the 20-year plan and was the only nay vote.
Chairman Dewey Severson expressed the importance of the airport to the county’s future economic growth. Flying by instruments is important.
“The pilots who participated in the airport commission have always indicated that the instrument landing would be good. I think it is strange that it hasn’t been addressed in the 20-year plan,” commented Finance Director Carol Lapham.
Commissioner Bob Schuldt agreed, “It is difficult to dip into tax levies.” If there are buyers interested in the property, is there an opportunity for the county to sell it and recoup some of its investment.
Commissioner Greg Myhre stated that once the land is cleared it could be rented back to Hoscheit to farm.
All five board members were in attendance: Chairman Dewey Severson and Commissioners Eric Johnson, Robert (Bob) Burns, Bob Schuldt, and Greg Myhre.
Chairman Severson called the meeting to order at 9 a.m. and led his fellow commissioners and audience in the Pledge of Allegiance. Commissioners unanimously approved the meeting agenda, the minutes from the February 14 regular board meeting, and the minutes from the February 21 workgroup session.
Commissioners went into closed session at 9:18 a.m. under Minnesota Statue 13D.05, subdivision 1(d), attorney-client privilege. Commissioners, City Attorney Samuel Jandy, and HR Director Tess Kruger met with Attorney Margaret Skelton via Zoom regarding a pending employment claim. Commissioners returned at 9:49 a.m. Jandt summarized the closed session, the board desires to “keep moving forward with this litigation.”
The three items listed on the consent agenda were approved with one unanimous motion. 1. Post for a part-time Department of Corrections technical clerk. 2. Accepted the retirement of Lieutenant Trace Erickson, sheriff’s department. 3. Approve advertising for full-time sheriff’s lieutenant.
Commissioner Eric Johnson thanked Erickson for serving the county and wished him all the best with his future endeavors.
In other business, the board:
• Accepted a $185.00 donation from the Brownsville VFW for the Houston County Veteran Services Office. The donation can be used for the needs of any veteran;
• Approved a Peddler License for Scott Allan Gibson. Scenic Concepts out of La Crosse, Wis., contracted Gibson to take aerial photos;
• Adopted Resolution 23-09 – Endorsing the efforts of the AMC Community Supervision Work Group and urging the legislature to pass a new funding formula and significant appropriation during the 2023 legislative session.
Commissioners discussed the plans for the public hearing on the proposed interim ordinance and the moratorium on the “sale of edible cannabinoid products and/or hemp-derived THC food and beverages” Tuesday evening, February 28, at 6 p.m. The hearing will be held in the commission chambers at the historic courthouse. The commissioners are expecting a large turnout.
The meeting was adjourned at 11 a.m.