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Brainerd City Council: Members decline north Brainerd property tax relief

The Brainerd City Council opted Monday not to assist a property owner with property tax assessment relief for a property on Beaver Dam Road. Eli Mackereth approached the council for the possibility of relief on the assessments or other options re...

An aerial photograph of the Beaver Dam Road area located in northeast Brainerd. The property in question is identified with the lined box. Request Documentation / City of Brainerd
An aerial photograph of the Beaver Dam Road area located in northeast Brainerd. The property in question is identified with the lined box. Request Documentation / City of Brainerd

The Brainerd City Council opted Monday not to assist a property owner with property tax assessment relief for a property on Beaver Dam Road.

Eli Mackereth approached the council for the possibility of relief on the assessments or other options regarding his property on 15262 Beaver Dam Road, directly west of Northtown Development. Mackereth, the owner of Elite Property Concepts LLC, stated in a request document that the property had been assessed at $25,472.75 in 2007, with $14,812.37 accrued in interest over 10 years for a total property tax assessment of $40,812.37. Taxes on adjoining properties had been deferred in light of construction projects on Beaver Dam Road in recent years.

At this time, Mackereth wrote, paying these property taxes based on these assessments would be unattainable.

"I am looking at possibly doing some development on this parcel, however this large assessment puts me in a hard position," Mackereth stated in his request document.

During discussion, council members compared the proposal to the Brainerd Oaks housing development-a housing initiative by the Brainerd Housing and Redevelopment Authority prior to the Great Recession that, along with Del-Mar Estates and Serene Pines, resulted in the sale of 113 properties when developments stalled.

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At the time, early to mid-2016, Paxmar-a developer corporation based out of Anoka-requested the city of Brainerd to forgive assessments on the properties, reduce the sewer and water hookup fees and to waive the per-lot park dedication fee.

By voting in accordance with this plan, the council decided to forgive $1.77 million in costs associated with the developments-although, all but $290,000 of the city's cost had already been assessed to city taxpayers and paid in debt service.

However, the Beaver Dam Road-Brainerd Oaks comparison is a false equivalence, said council member Kelly Bevans, who voted in favor of forgiving the Brainerd Oaks assessment.

"I would not liken this to Brainerd Oaks in that Brainerd Oaks was something like one-hundred-and-something properties? Properties that went forfeit, that went back to the taxes. This is somebody who has bought the property with every intent of making money and knowing these assessments," said Bevans, who characterized the Brainerd Oaks-Serene Pines-Del-Mar Estates issue as one of the "worst financial hardships" for the city. "If you start one this, I can only imagine what would happen with the rest of them. I would be really hesitant under these circumstances."

In other news, the council:

Approved a $12,175 quote by Northwoods Landscaping for the purpose of landscaping and maintenance in downtown Brainerd, which includes weeding, pruning and trimming, replacement planting, spring cleanup, among other services.

Approved an application for event/street closure for the yearly Lowell School Walk-a-Thon for May 22.

Approved an application for event/street closure for the Brainerd High School Triathlon for May 19-with the stipulation that the school should continue to consult Resource Officer Troy Schreifels in regard to this event.

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Approved a request by the Crow Wing County Historical Society to install a monument consisting of bridge railing and a plaque to commemorate the Laurel Street historic bridge. The historical society has already created funds for sandblasting and powder coating the railings. The monument would be built on the Brainerd Fire Department property. The city would assist with installation.

Approved the revolving loan program, as adjusted and proposed. The revolving loan fund-containing about $145,000-would provide loans up to $25,000 to prospective commercial property owners or private properties. The funds would revolve at 1 percent below prime, or just below market value. The funds would be matched, dollar for dollar, with the exception of code violation citations. The eligible target area for commercial property would be from Kingwood Street to Oak Street and from the Mississippi River to 13th Street including the Northern Pacific Center.

Approved the submittal of a liability coverage form-League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust Liability- with "does not waive" the monetary limits on municipal tort liability established by Minnesota statutes.

Passed a resolution establishing polling places for the 2018 midterm elections. The city also has set aside $30,000 for the election season. As per the request document, these polling places include:

• Ward 1, Precinct 1 at Trinity Lutheran church,1420 S. Sixth St.,

• Ward 1, Precinct 2 at church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints on 101 Buffalo Hills Lane,

• Ward 2, Precinct 1 at Essentia Health Sports Center on 502 Jackson St.,

• Ward 2, Precinct 2 at the Center on 803 Kingwood St.,

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• Ward 3, Precinct 1 at Northeast Brainerd Fire Station on 1301 Mill Ave.,

• Ward 3, Precinct 2 at Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church on 418 Eighth Ave.,

• Ward 3, Precinct 3 at Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church on 418 Eighth Ave.,

• Ward 4, Precinct 1 at Carefree Living on 2723 Oak St.,

• Ward 4, Precinct 2 at St. Andrew's Catholic Church on 1108 Willow St.

Passed a resolution for compensation of election judges-$12 for election and trainee judges and $15 for head judges for the 2018 election. Judges are reimbursed at the standard mileage rate. No meals would be provided.

Approved the appointment of Hara Charlier, president of Central Lakes College, as a member of the Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee.

Approved a final payment for the Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport utility extension project-initially contracted at $8,591,721.58, with a final quote at $8,164,205.96. The final payment is a 3 percent retainage that was left, plus any final quantities and minus the liquidated damages and Minnesota Pollution Control Agency administrative penalty for a total payment of $125,083.41. This payment is contingent on the contractor submitting all final documentation including consent to final payment, release of liens and a contractor affidavit.

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