A five-acre eyesore in Bradbury Township about 27 miles northwest of Milaca got lots of attention from the Mille Lacs County Board at its July 3 meeting.
The board ended up authorizing an expenditure of up to $5,000 to seal a well on the property that is in the tax forfeiture process.
After the motion was made to seal the well, Commissioner Dan Whitcomb made a motion to amend the motion by proceeding with cleanup of the entire property but there was no second to the motion.
Whitcomb had said during the discussion that he thinks the property will be a continuing problem for the county.
What to do about the property, located a few miles west of Highway 169, was discussed last year but no action was taken.
In fact, Land Services Office director Michele McPherson has on file responses received in 2011 from contractors, in answer to a request for proposal, to clean up the site.
But there are no definitive dollar figures, McPherson said, because of the mess.
“They couldn’t come up with a number,” she said.
Last week’s discussion began because McPherson’s office received a complaint that a deer and beaver carcasses had been dropped or fallen into the well on the site. The well is located in the foundation of a dwelling on the property.
Commissioner Phil Peterson asked McPherson during the discussion if she had any idea of what the cost would be for cleaning up the property.
“There is no number I can give you,” McPherson answered.
She noted that there is an old house on the property, 30 mobile homes, numerous tires, old snowmobiles and parts, asbestos siding and 50-gallon drums full of chemicals.
McPherson said in an interview Monday that she estimates the cost just to remove the estimated 2,000 tires would probably be $5,000 to $7,000.
“The property belongs to the state, right?”asked Commissioner Roger Tellinghuisen at the meeting.
“Yes, but it’s still the county’s responsibility,” answered County Administrator Roxy Traxler.
There was talk of putting up signs on the property, forbidding people to enter and/or dump things on the property.
“It’s easy to get on the property to dump things,” McPherson said, noting that signs probably wouldn’t help.
She said that given the remote location of the site, it would be hard to keep people from dumping things there.
And, she said, it’s obvious items have been dumped there since last year’s discussion.
Tellinghuisen said it would be a good idea to put the site up for auction and McPherson answered that it isn’t possible because the tax-forfeit process is in place at this time.
Commissioner Peterson asked if it was a buildable site and McPherson answered that it was.
Board chair Jack Edmonds said he thought that the well had to be sealed, no matter what else was decided about the property.
The motion was passed to seal the well.