It appears buyers bought up a fair amount of land during the recent county tax forfeited land sale.
So much so, that the county hopes to host semi-annual land sales to continue to get those properties back on the tax rolls.
County Auditor/Treasurer Heather Olson shared about the recent sale of city lots, which included the sale of 38 lots for $36,900. Fourteen of the lots were sold to the city of Staples prior to the sale and 28 lots remain unsold but are available for sale over the counter at the treasurer's office.
County Commissioner Jim Hofer noted that the city of Staples was working with developers to develop those lots.
Lots sold in the March 18 sale include eight in the city of Menahga selling for $50 - $500 a piece. Each sold at minimum bid price; one in Nimrod selling for $3,000, the minimum bid price; one in Sebeka at $200; 24 lots sold in Staples from $500 - $3,000, all were in the Valley View neighborhood and all sold for minimum bid prices; five lots sold in Wadena ranging in prices from $1,100 - $5,000.
Remaining lots for sale over the counter have been marked with signage so buyers can visit the site and know exactly which lot number to ask for.
While Olson suggested a sale could be conducted each fall, including a rural property sale, commissioner Bill Stearns suggested sales could be held every other year, opposite of elections.
Under commissioner report items it was mentioned that discussion was had about finding a place for Someplace Safe inside the Wadena County Courthouse, as it may offer a better location for those using the services.
Commissioner Chuck Horsager mentioned ongoing work with the fair board to come up with a master plan of a possible new fairgrounds. He noted that in terms of planning for the 2019 fair, planning is ahead of schedule.
Commissioner Jim Hofer spoke about the Old Wadena Society. The group has plans of dedicating a bench to Dr. Duane Lund as well as installing a barn quilt at Old Wadena.
County IT director David Hotchkiss said workers removed a huge pile of abandoned wires from the confines of the courthouse ceilings. The wires were recycled and the new wiring will all be labeled and mapped accurately for ease of maintenance in the future.
Commissioner Hofer asked Hotchkiss to pursue quotes to add large screens in the commission board room. The screens would be viewable by the commission and all attending.
In other business, the board approved:
• The hiring of Michael Lillquist, highway maintenance worker III as of April 22, as replacement due to retirement; and April Damlo, payroll and benefits coordinator, as of April 3, as replacement due to resignation.
• A request from Trailblazers, Inc. to sponsor a 2020 grant application to the DNR. The grant request of $64,000 pays for maintenance and grooming of snowmobile trails in the county.
• Notice of proper insurance coverage and approval of special use permits for the annual Huntersville Enduro race scheduled for June 1 in the Huntersville State Forest and a Huntersville State Forest ride Sept. 28-29.
• Accepted a recommendation from planning and zoning to approve a resolution for a conditional use permit for Duininck Bros. to allow a mining and processing of gravel and granular material operation and periodic operation of a hot mix asphalt plant at Section 29 of Wing River Township. The site has already operated such an operation on the property for years. No comments were heard for or against the CUP during a recent planning and zoning hearing.
• A reclassification of a drug task force agent following a DDA study to a grade 54, effective May 11. Following the discussion, County Attorney Kyra Ladd mentioned that it would be wise to have an agreement in place with DDA to continue with these reviews rather than on a job-by-job basis. She felt there could be numerous ramifications of doing these reviews at random. She said in her department a review has never been done to regrade employees.
"Without a plan, I would worry about that process being open ended," Ladd said
County coordinator Ryan Odden said the reviews have cost about $150 a pop. Ladd suggested that the process could be discussed at a department head meeting to engage all departments in the process.