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Board continues budget discussions

December 20, 2012

Murray County Board of Commissioners
By Dorothy Bloemendaal

Staff Writer

The Murray County Board of Commissioners approved ditch petitions for County Ditch #19 Section 15 Dovray Township, CD # 65 Section 30 and 31 Holly Township, CD # 86, Section 9, Lake Sarah Township and Judicial Ditch #14, Section 17, Leeds Township.

The board passed a resolution to postpone the forfeited land sale to January 14, 2013 at 10:00 a.m. as all the necessary paper work had not been received.

An agreement was made with Slayton Solar to set up an escrow account in lieu of the $50,000 Letter of Credit for the decommissioning of the project.

Wendy Krueger, DNR and Be Van Gundy - Ducks Unlimited, presented an update on donated land for wildlife management. The land is known as Klinkerís Slough in the north 1/2 of Section 10 in Cameron Township. The 188 acres was purchased by Ducks Unlimited and then turned over to the Department of Natural Resources. The area has some tillable acres, however, is a very low area and is prone to frequent flooding. County ditch 7 flows through the WMA. This area is the upper end of Beaver Creek and should help with water quality, Krueger said. The 2012 taxes were $3,664 and with the increase in land values the projected taxes are $10,500. The acquisition joins an additional 341 existing WMA acres. With public ownership the area is be enjoyed by all.

Board members commented on the recent AMC annual meeting held in St. Cloud. The various meetings were very good but needed more time between meetings as the discussions often ran over the time limits making it hard to get to the next one on time. Some the topics were legislation funding for counties, mandates with no funds from the state, forest lands, a wheelage tax instead of a gas tax for roads, invasive species entering lakes and streams, etc. They were well informed on the drainage laws with Kurt Deter as moderator. In all they said it was a very good conference and appreciated having it at St. Cloud. Christy Riley, public relations, attended and reported on a web site seminar and said our county is quite up to date with only a couple of additions to be added.

Approval was given for purchase of a laptop for the zoning office.

Several updated employee policies were presented by Aurora Heard, county coordinator. Vacation, personal leave and sick leave were approved along with overnight training requests.

Anyone wishing to be a part of the county citizens committees may fill out an application form. Forms are available at the government center or on line. Appointments are to be made after the new year.

Sharon McClure introduced Marcia Hansen new director at Sunrise Terrace. There are several vacant apartment at this time.

Permission was granted to Randy Groves to purchase a new drill and bit for he highway department. Final payment of $4,808.82 was made to R&G Construction for bridge work in Cameron Township. The board thanked the highway crew for the recent snow removal on county roads. Groves continued they have been able to do more culvert repair and inspections because of the drought and the long season.

Discussion was held to have the government center open on December 24. They decided to leave the policy as is with the staff to work it out as needed.

The meeting was recessed and the board reviewed the ditch levies for the coming year. Each ditch was discussed and an amount determined for needed expenses or to get the ditch in the black. Ditches have two years to get their budgets back into a positive levy. A ditch is usually designated as a judicial ditch if it crosses county lines.

Jim Jens, newly elected commissioner, reported a resident was appreciative of the help from the Ag and Zoning departments for assistance with the regulations for a new swine operation.

A budget review was held in the afternoon with a hearing in the evening of December 11.

A retirement open house is planned for Commissioners William Sauer and Kevin Vickerman on Thursday, December 27 from 1:30 to 3:00 p.m. at the Government Center.

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