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Social media gets 6-month review

The Crow Wing County Board assessed its work to keep up with social media Tuesday.

Commissioners received a six-month review of the county's social media effort with its Facebook and Twitter pages. Stella Hegg, deputy auditor, reported 286 people are linked to the county's Facebook page and 51 people have daily views of county posts.

Women make up two-thirds of the audience and the largest group is 25 to 34 years of age. Hegg said those younger people were part of the demographic the county wanted to reach. Contacts came from Brainerd, St. Cloud, Fargo, N.D. and Eau Claire, Wis. along with those from Poland, Serbia, Russia and Turkey.

Hegg said the social media sites help draw people back to the county's website for more information. Peak draws that brought people to the social media pages sites included tax forfeited property sale, a county board meeting in June, requests for customer feedback and a job posting.

The county has nine people following them on Twitter for short updates. Staff time for the social media project involved six people and about 11 hours over an eight-week period.

Board Chairman Phil Trusty said technology is changing and the county needs to try to stay up with it.

In other business, the board:

Noted preliminary estimates to certify the Black Bear/Miller Lake levee are about $55,000, meaning taxpayers in the area may have an increased cost to pay for the required certification.

A proposal to set a public hearing related to the costs was tabled with the concern the meeting be set at a time when more seasonal residents would be able to attend. The increase is significant as an annual parcel assessment spread out $1,000 across 69 taxpayers.

The county noted it could be handled as a road assessment giving residents three to five years to pay at 8 percent interest. The county board approved seeking requests for proposals for the levee.

Agreed to add an item to the agenda at the request of County Attorney Don Ryan and then spent time discussing whether it merited board consideration or even needed to be dealt with Tuesday.

Ryan's request came from a settlement for an appeal, which followed a denial for a variance. The property owners now have two years to move two cabins, which the county previously offered before the variance was appealed.

Commissioner Paul Thiede questioned why the issue was before the county board and what made it an urgent add-on to the agenda. The court referred the settlement to the Board of Adjustment, but Ryan said the county board is the authority. As for waiting, Ryan said that was fine but he was just trying to get the work done and the item arrived too late to be on the county's agenda. Administrator Tim Houle agreed with Ryan, noting it was dangerous to say committees the board creates can settle lawsuits.

 Trusty said he could see Thiede's point about adding items working against running smoothly. Houle noted the board needs to leave a little wiggle room to add significant items, but if the board feels it can wait the issue could be tabled. Thiede motioned to table and the board approved.

Heard there may be some county redistricting that could affect the 2012 elections. More will be known in 2011 after the county has a chance to look at numbers and get information from the Legislature as state redistricting may have a domino-effect on the county commissioner districts.

Set a public hearing for the county department fee schedules at 9:30 a.m. Dec. 28. The fees will be presented at the Dec. 14 board meeting, which begins at 4 p.m. County offices are closed Thanksgiving and Friday.

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
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