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Crow Wing County seeks special legislation to sell waterfront property

Crow Wing County is seeking special legislation to sell tax-forfeited land next to protected water.

There were three land tracts in question. The tracts are on the Mississippi River in Brainerd, on Pelican Lake in Breezy Point and on Adney Lake in Perry Lake Township.

Special legislation is required to sell tax-forfeited parcels with more than 150 feet of water frontage. Kirk Titus, land services supervisor, reported the three tracts were isolated and do not fit the county’s long-term land management plan.

The Brainerd Rotary Club approached the county about purchasing the Mississippi River tract for future expansion of Rotary Park. The land covers 16.4 acres and Titus reported the Rotary club would pursue grants to fund the purchase.

The Breezy Point land was described as a non-conforming irregular shape on 1.9 acres that would be divided and sold to neighboring properties dealing with encroachment issues. The 200-foot lot on Adney Lake covers 7.38 acres and is bordered by private land and would be offered for sale to the public.

Commissioner Rosemary Franzen wanted to know if the Mississippi River land was going to be offered to the general public or just sold to the Rotary club. Franzen said selling to the public may bring in a better price.

Titus said the land would go to the city to expand a city park and the sale would be based on estimated market value.

Franzen said that was what she was trying to get at, adding she wanted to make sure the county was getting the best price.

The board approved seeking special legislation

In other business, the board:

Approved hiring Adam Loberg as a property assessor in training, Frank Bonsante as a 911 communications officer and Jay Sikkink as information technology director. In addition, Nick Erdrich was approved to move from part-time to full-time as a maintenance custodian. Darleen Wood, long-time staffer and administrative specialist, was promoted to an administrative coordinator in the land services department.

Franzen opposed the hiring motion.

“I want to be on the record,” Franzen said, adding she has reservation and thought there was someone more qualified in the interviews for information technologies supervisor.

The rest of the board approved the motion. Commissioner Paul Thiede was absent.

Heard the senior management team is looking at a media relations policy regarding how to handle inquiries from the media and add that to the personnel policy. The county noted it has made a requirement to get more news releases out.

Talked about how a pay for performance system will work and how to guard against evaluating employees as Administrator Tim Houle said in a “horns or halos” fashion looking at the last thing they did bad or good, making everyone a superstar or being too hard on everyone.

Houle said there was a certain trepidation in getting feedback on employee reviews using other supervisors to avoid bias. However, Houle said the session with senior managers turned into a nice supportive coaching development exercise. Auditor-Treasurer Laureen Borden said she had been dreading the session, but the group learned from each other and she’s now looking forward to it. Borden added they found out how easy the step and grade system was but had a good discussion. County Attorney Don Ryan said it was helpful to come to a closer understanding what defines terms such as exceptional. Overall, Ryan said, it was a pretty positive experience.

Approved travel for Deputy Scott Friis, new bomb squad commander, to attend a commanders class in Huntsville, Ala. Expenses, other than wages, are eligible for grant reimbursement. Set the timber auction at 10 a.m. March 22 in Meeting Room 2 in the lower level of the Land Services Building.

Set the next committee of the whole meeting on Feb. 19 in the Jinx Ferrari Meeting Room, on the second floor of the historic courthouse in Brainerd.

RENEE RICHARDSON, senior reporter, may be reached at 855-5852 or Follow on Twitter at

Renee Richardson
Richardson is a Pacelli High School graduate from Austin, Minn., who earned an applied science degree from the University of Minnesota, Waseca, with an emphasis in horse management. She worked extensively in the resort industry. She received an associate’s degree from Central Lakes College, where she was editor of the Westbank Journal student newspaper, as well as a summer intern at the Dispatch. She graduated from St. Cloud State University summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications and interned at the St. Cloud Times covering business while attending SCSU. She's been with the Brainerd Dispatch since 1996.
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