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Wadena County chooses Option 6 for redistricting

At their April 26 county board meeting, Wadena commissioners held a public hearing to take testimony about the proposed six options for redrawing commissioner districts in accordance with the population data from the U.S. Census of 2010.

One member of the public attended the public hearing, but chose not to speak. Commissioners heard testimony from Auditor/Treasurer Char West and elections coordinator Rosalie Miller about the best option for redistricting.

Mrs. Miller said Option 6 would cause the least disruption of current commissioner district boundaries, and would bring the county commissioner districts into compliance with 2010 population data.

Option 6 divides Leaf River Township into two precincts with the boundary line of 190th Street. Precinct 1 is north of 190th Street. Precinct 2 is south of 190th Street. The town board of Leaf River Township accepted the proposed division on April 3, 2012. Precinct 1 will be placed into Commissioner District 1, Lane Waldahl's district. Precinct 2 will be placed in Commissioner District 4, Rodney Bound's district.

Because of the change in boundaries in these two commissioner districts, special elections will be held in 2012 for commissioners of District 1 and District 4. The terms will be for two years, instead of four years, because this will be a special election.

After the public hearing ended, the county board voted unanimously to accept Mrs. Miller's and Mrs. West's recommendations for redistricting. The changes are effective for the 2012 primary and general elections.

Also at the April 26 board meeting, the commissioners held a public hearing to consider an increase in county park camping fees. No members of the public spoke at the hearing. Planning and Zoning Director Deana Skov explained the need for increases in the overnight camping fee from $10 to $12, and in the Old Wadena Park rental fee from $120 to $150. After the public hearing ended, commissioners voted to approve the increased fees, effective Jan. 1, 2013.

In other business, the board:

- approved a Conditional Use Permit for a gravel pit in Section 30 of Leaf River Township on property owned by the Olson family. The permit was approved for a three-year period.

- approved hiring Region 5 Development Commission to update a portion of the county's Comprehensive Plan for a fee of $2,343.

- turned down the request of Ken and Joyce Price, owners of Pine Cove Inn, for an abatement of their past due real estate taxes, and the penalties assessed.

- acknowledged the intent of Benson Air Ag, Inc., of Benson, Minn., to spray BT Foray 48B pesticide from the air to kill tent worm caterpillars around the lakes in Wadena County this spring. The FAA requires that the county commissioners be informed of the spraying, although commissioners do not have the authority to approve or disapprove the spraying.

- scheduled a closed board meeting on May 1 at 9 a.m. to negotiate and contemplate the purchase price of a piece of real property. This is permitted by Minnesota Statute 13D.05 Meetings Having Data Classified As Not Public.

- approved a special permit for the annual Huntersville Enduro Event, to be held June 1-3 by the River Valley Enduro Riders of Buffalo, Minn.

- heard a presentation by Riaz Aziz, regional director, northwest, of the University of Minnesota Extension. Aziz discussed the increased costs of services provided by the Extension Division, beginning Jan. 1, 2013.

- approved a quote from Dave's Floor Covering of Sebeka to remove old carpet in the Highway Department building and replace it with new tile and carpet, for $4,294.16.

- approved for payment to Merickel Lumber for materials for the Home and Hobbies Building roof replacement at the county fairgrounds, of $7,280.50.

- learned that county road weight restrictions were lifted April 20.

- heard a presentation from Dr. Leah Pigatti, executive director of the new entity, Mahube-Otwa, which will replace the Otter Tail Wadena Community Action Council.

The meeting adjourned at 1:55 p.m.

The next meeting of the Wadena County Board will not be held on May 1, as customary, but instead will be held on May 8 at 9 a.m. at the courthouse.