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County approves tax forfeiture list


Fri, Oct 27th, 2006
Posted in Government

PRESTON - A revised list of parcels to be offered for sale at auction was approved at the October 24 county board meeting. Rushford City Parcel #06.0612.000 was removed from the list. Shirl Boelter from the auditor/treasurer's office explained that the city of Rushford wants the parcel for public use. Commissioner Randy Dahl noted that the parcel can't be developed further with the current city ordinances.

The city of Rushford, in it's application to have the parcel authorized for public use, described the property as lying "within the bluff protection overlay zoning district with marginal capacity as a building site." The city also plans to use the parcel as "a means to install sewer/water infrastructure to serve adjacent residents." The board approved the application contingent on the county attorney's approval of the language in the application. Boelter noted that if the city at a later date sold all or part of the parcel, the county would be entitled to some compensation.

The board also discussed the possibility of removing parcel #03.0309.00 in Preble Township from the tax-forfeiture sale list. Commissioner Marc Prestby stated that the DNR has already given their approval of the sale of the forested land. The timber on the parcel was valued by the DNR at $16,788. The Division of Forestry has some interest in acquiring the parcel to add to the Richard J. Dorer Memorial Hardwood State Forest as it is within the boundaries of the state forest. Prestby suggested that if the DNR wants to bid on the parcel, they should come to the sale. Commissioner Chuck Amunrud agreed. Randy Dahl explained that a few years back the state proposed freezing its own property taxes on state owned lands and therefore shifting the tax load to the county.

Prestby suggested the property should be sold to get it back on the tax roles for the county. Amunrud noted that he wasn't encouraging the logging of the property. Chairman Duane Bakke stated that it will be up to the buyer. The parcel was not removed from the sale list. The Tax Forfeiture Auction will be held at 10:00 a.m. on November 21 in the lobby of the Fillmore County Courthouse.

SEMCAC

SEMCAC Director Terry Erickson thanked the board for their support. Debbie Betthauser noted that the "Meals on Wheels" program has been in operation for thirty-three years in the county in eleven communities. She said that in 2001 state dollars dedicated to the program were cut 15%, that federal dollars are stagnate, and that the local support is what keeps the program going. Currently, 655 seniors are being served.

Barbara Jilk discussed the Senior Caregiver Advocacy Program that aims to help seniors stay in their homes and live independently. Last year 309 people were served. She also emphasized the need for community support to maintain the program.

Erlene Welshons praised the volunteers from Fillmore County. The county has the largest number of volunteer drivers. Amunrud offered a thank-you to all the volunteers. He suggested that we need to be "senior friendly." Amunrud seemed impressed by eighty year olds that volunteer and deliver meals to ninety year olds.

Other Business

• An access permit was approved for Alan and Michelle Hockersmith to County Road #18 in Section 32 of Preble Township. The old access will be removed and the new on e will provide clear sites in both directions.

• Sheriff Daryl Jensen requested and received approval of the Sentencing to Service Agreement. Chuck Amunrud noted that the city of Spring Valley was pleased with the work done at the Spring Valley Fire Department. Jensen said that there was 100% agreement to renew the contract in his office. The contract allows payment for a work crew made up of ten offenders.

• Highway Engineer John Grindeland requested and received approval to purchase new fuel pumps. Commissioner Stafford Hansen said that he had received some calls complaining about the delayed work on County Road 2. Grindeland suggested that work should pick up, that rain has delayed the project and that the contractors will now be committing more equipment to the project. Grindeland said that part of the delay was acquiring the last couple of easements. He explained that these kind of projects should start in the spring and be expected to run into the fall after school starts.

• A Truth and Taxation Hearing is not mandatory this year. County Coordinator Karen Brown stated that the Fillmore County Levy increase was $100,000 less than is needed to trigger a mandatory hearing. The hearing costs money. Brown suggested that information be put on the web site. Duane Bakke said that it should be our goal to make sure that the levy is always below the (trigger) amount. He stated that if the public wants more information that they call the coordinator's office or one of the commissioners. Randy Dahl suggested having links on the web site for public comments.

• Randy Dahl updated the rest of the board on social service costs. Fillmore County has a large elderly population. Administration costs are the lowest of comparable counties. The total net cost of social services in the county is $30,744,349. Of this total, the county is responsible for $1,040,994. Dahl stressed that a 1% cost shift can cause a need for a 30% increase in the levy. He emphasized that if the state mandates a program or service, but doesn't pay for it, that this is a big cost shift to the county.

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