The Mille Lacs Board of Commissioners took the following action at its July 16 regular meeting in the county courthouse in Milaca. Written by Joel Stottrup.
Safe routes to school
The board approved two requests from Mille Lacs Public Works Director Bruce Cochran regarding a federal Safe Roads to School infrastructure grant. The grant is to help build two sidewalks in Princeton, one along Fifth Avenue North between Highway 95 and 12th Street North. The other sidewalk is along 12th Street North between Rum River Drive North and Seventh Avenue North. The sidewalks would make it so a number of children walking to either North Elementary or the middle school could use a sidewalk instead of walking on a street. Some of the work will involve county road right of way (Rum River Drive), but the majority of the improvements will be on the city’s street right of way. The city has agreed to absorb any design and construction costs that exceed dollar amounts and items not eligible for grant funding.
The county board authorized the board chair and county administrator to sign the county-city project agreement and authorized the county to enter into and execute an agreement with the Minnesota Department of Transportation for federal participation.
The board approved tobacco-sales licenses for seven businesses in the Mille Lacs Lake area, plus two more businesses, one each in the cities of Bock and Foreston.
Extending hours of asphalt operation
The board approved amending the interim use permit for Central Specialties that originally allowed the company to extend its asphalt operation hours to 5:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. until Nov. 30 this year. The amended permit will allow the operation located southeast of Isle to have operating hours of 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., also until Nov. 30.
It includes the provision that the plant warm up may occur only between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m. and that truck traffic be limited to between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. Tellinghuisen voted no on the amended permit that still allows extended hours of operation. Those are long hours for the surrounding neighbors, he said.
In related action, the board approved Central Specialties’ request for the county to refund the company’s permit application fee of $350.
Commissioner Tim Wilhelm said it’s difficult to set the hours to balance quality of life issues with the fact that other asphalt operators in nearby jurisdictions can go much longer each day.
Amending permit for Milaca Metal and Iron
The board approved a request to amend condition No. 4 of Milaca Metal and Iron’s conditional use permit so that there shall be no shredding, dismantling or parting out of items on site. The recycling operation is located in Milaca Township and has been controversial. Complaints have come from some of the neighborhood, regarding noise, the view and pollution. In related action, the board voted to rescind the permit revocation that the board had previously put in place for the Milaca Metal and Iron recycling operation.
County Board Chairman Phil Peterson commented during the July 16 meeting that he thought the permit conditions now would be sufficient and that he felt one particular neighbor near the recycling operation would “never be satisfied” with how the operation is run. Responding to complaints of pollution at the site, the board that those kind of complaints would have to be addressed to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.
County Board members received a report from Cade Steffenson, the county’s assistant land services director, about the Milaca Metal and Iron recycling operation, during the discussion of the permit. The board and Steffenson agreed that the supervisor at the operation should train the employees not to slam the backhoe bucket down on the junk cars when placing them into a truck for hauling away. Slamming the bucket into the car bodies creates more noise, the board agreed.
Permit for highway business
The board approved a conditional use permit for Gary Corrigan to have a highway business in Page Township north of Milaca. Among the conditions are that the storage of boats, pontoons, mowers and items to be repaired shall be located within the fenced area noted on the staff sketch dated June 27, 2013. The owner must also provide a visual buffer to the storage area for the adjacent west and north properties. Testing of outboard motors must be done within a water tank or structure to reduce noise.
Fish house storage
The board approved an interim use permit for James Diggins to have dead storage of 11 fish houses at his location in South Harbor Township near Onamia. Only a maximum of 11 fish houses may be stored on the site. Steffenson defined dead storage to mean that the stored fish house are not to be used as sleeping quarters.
The board approved Public Works Director Cochran’s request to purchase an airless sprayer at a cost of just over $1,015. Cochran said he can’t get parts anymore to repair the current, old sprayer.
“I’ve got 125 gallons of paint left, and I need to get it done and move on,” Cochran said of a project for which he needs the new sprayer.
County cash balances
The board received a report on the county’s cash balances for June. The county, at the end of June this year, had the following cash balances: general fund, $9,183,098; road and bridge fund, $2,525,859; Community and Veteran Services Fund (No. 11), $4,113,947; capital projects fund, $2,181,627. The general fund has not varied by much more than $1 million to $2 million in 2004-2012, according to county data.
Gravel contract completed
The board passed a resolution accepting the completion of a contract by Sanders Construction Inc., of Randall, to furnish a stockpile of gravel in Habeck Pit in Isle Harbor Township. The original contract cost was set at $57,300 and the final figure came in at $53,232.