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Board tables talk on leasing government office space

Anticipated discussion on a leasing policy for vacant government office space was met with silence Tuesday as Crow Wing County Board Chairwoman Rosemary Franzen moved to table the issue until the first week of May.

In addition to tabling the tenant and lease agreement policy, the board tabled discussion on a potential lease with The Nature Conservancy until May as well.

In other business, the board:

Set a public hearing to amend the ordinance regulating sexually oriented businesses at 9:30 a.m. on May 13. Changes were suggested by the county’s legal consultant Scott Anderson. Those changes include moving a space definition from a business that devotes more than 40 square feet to a sexually oriented business to greater than 30 percent of total sales floor or more than 30 percent of total gross sales. This doesn’t apply to theaters, concert halls or art centers or museums. Other recommended changes put the onus on the business instead of earlier language of the licensee to restrict access to minors.

Scheduled a public hearing to adopt the new alarm ordinance to 10 a.m., May 13, in the county board room on the third floor of the historic courthouse on Laurel Street in Brainerd.

Entered an agreement with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources for the 2014 state boat and water safety grant of $70,018.

Agreed to authorize the administrator to send a letter to state representatives expressing concern for proposed law changes restricting the definition of a confidential employee. Such an employee may have access to labor relations information used in employment or labor negotiations. Currently the definition is an employee who “has access to” and the change would be to an employee who “is required to access and use” labor relations information.

A second issue related to new employee protections when a joint powers agreement is created or when one group acts on behalf of multiple local government units and employee jobs are affected. With the pending bill, existing collective bargaining agreements remain when a joint powers entity is formed.

Approved a letter from the board chair to the governor in support of equitable funding for corrections. Commissioner Rachel Reabe Nystrom said there is concern for different funding formulas for three funding streams, which affects Central Minnesota Community Corrections as the state probation system is funded more than the county options. Nystrom said there is a feeling the commissioner of corrections either doesn’t understand the disparity or doesn’t want to understand it.

“We just want our voices to be heard,” Nystrom said.

Learned Nystrom will attend a session on sexual exploitation and trafficking in Minnesota Thursday in Alexandria to learn more about the implications for rural parts of the state and the Brainerd area in regard to efforts to lure young girls to prostitution.

Heard the county is working on an update to its website, mobile access and its “Peoples Report.”

Approved an application for a grant for architectural services for the historical society museum building not to exceed $16,000. The application is due May 2.

Approved replacement staffing to hire an assessor in training and two social workers or public health nurses. New hires include: Antonette Gall, a financial worker; Krisann Gray, social worker; and Mike Smith, seasonal watercraft inspection coordinator. Sam Bedard, senior commercial/industrial property assessor was promoted. Carol Heuberger and Julie Goshey, public health nurses, are leaving the county in April.

Approved a new tobacco license to the Family Dollar Store in Crosby.

Accepted a $500 donation from the Brainerd Jaycees to the dive team.

Approved a Miller Hills off-highway motorcycle trail expansion project plan in Oak Lawn Township to the Northern Lites Cycle Club. The plan calls for an 8-foot-wide right-of-way for the trail, which will be used from April 16 to Oct. 31. The club will designate and identify a trailhead parking area. The trail will be open to the public.

Approved the all-terrain vehicle trail permit for the Miller Black Bear Area Trail project plan. The trail is in Wolford and Irondale townships, is open to the public, 20-feet wide and is open May 1 to Oct. 31 but may be closed during the spring thaw.

Approved a memorandum of understanding with the Thirty Lakes Watershed Board. The county noted it has provided administrative services to the watershed board since September of 2013 from answering mail and phone calls to preparing agendas and recording meeting minutes. Now the county will review, issue and inspect all stormwater permits for the district. The watershed district was created in 1971. The county is being reimbursed by the hour at $30 to $40 to $50 depending on the employee doing the work whether an administrative specialist, land services specialist or the land services supervisor.

Scheduled a public hearing at 6 p.m., June 10, at the Fairfield Town Hall in Emily to discuss revoking jurisdiction for County Road 114 from the county to the township. The road, the county reported, is scheduled to be resurfaced in 2015 and the town board agreed to take over jurisdiction.

Noted costs for the 2014 landfill coupons mailed to residents were accomplished this year at a reduction of $6,524. Coupons were mailed in April and may be used by residents to defray the fee to drop off an appliance for instance or other items. In 2013, postage was $10,454 and printing was $11,983. For 2014, postage was $9,124 and printing was $6,788.

RENEE RICHARDSON 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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