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County offer to purchase lake lots stands, for now

At the regular Hubbard County Board meeting, the commissioners discussed the City of Park Rapids' decision regarding the purchase of property adjacent to Deane Point Park.

The county had offered to purchase three lots on Fish Hook Lake and resell the property to the city at a discounted rate.

The county would purchase the lots for $265,000 and sell it back to the city at half price with a five-year payment plan, interest free.

The city council voted two in favor of the purchase and two council members opposed, with Mayor Pat Mikesh absent, and the council declined to purchase the property from the county.

"How long do we leave it open-ended as a board? Because we've had a number of other requests," Commissioner Cal Johannsen questioned. "If we're not going to spend money on that project then maybe we can help out these other cities that are looking for help."

According to Commissioner Char Christenson, who attended the city council meeting, Councilmember Ryan Leckner claimed he was not opposed to the purchase but that the city needed to look at their 2018 budget to determine whether the funds were available for the purchase.

"I have no idea when the budget meeting takes place," Commissioner Christenson said.

She added that Councilmember Dick Rutherford was vocally opposed to the purchase because he felt the funds would go toward the purchase price, leaving no funding for the other parks.

"I get that. I understand where they're coming from but they need to make a decision. I think we gave them a pretty generous offer," Commissioner Johannsen responded. "They just recently started doing work on Deane Park and that park is long overdue for having stuff done. I can't see the county just buying it and giving it to them and having it set there forever. I don't think the county needs another project."

The commissioners directed the Land Commissioner Mark "Chip" Lohmeier to attend the Park Rapids City Council meeting July 11 to again discuss the potential purchase of the property and report back to the board.

"Hopefully, they'll make a decision before we have to," Johannsen said. "Now is the time to do it if it's ever going to happen, because if it sells to some other family it'll be 30, 40, 50 years."

Government Center Security Grant

Hubbard County Sheriff Cory Aukes reported to the commissioners that the county has successfully received the grant in the amount of $14,998 for improvements to the courthouse. He explained the grant requires a 50/50 match by the county which will be used to purchase an X-ray machine.

"Earlier this spring we applied and the board passed a resolution in support of matching up to $20,000. We didn't get the full $20,000, we were awarded $14,998," Aukes said, adding that they had applied for an estimated $40,000 project. "With the resolution I'm assuming the board would have intended to match the $14,998. My request is if you would still commit the full $20,000. With that, we'd probably be able to get the full project done, if not, mostly done."

The commissioners expressed their support of dedicating the original $20,000 to be used for modifications to the existing bailiff station for the proposed X-ray machine installation and possibly in the installation of "phone lockers" outside of the courtroom as well.

In other business, the commissioners did the following:

• Adopted the AIS Rapid Response Plan as presented by AIS Program Coordinator Bill DonCarlos.

• Approved obtaining the services of AAA Roll-off Services, Inc. out of Sebeka in the amount of $550 per trip for the transport of recyclables from Hubbard County Recycling Center to Fosston.

• Accepted the proposal from JLG Architects out of Fargo, ND for the Camp Wilderness Safe Room Development with a seven percent fee totalling $103,000 as included in the grant.

• Approved Environmental Services Officer fill the vacant position within Environmental Services as GIS Technician or GIS Supervisor, but not filling both.

• Authorized the signature of the Always There Staffing agreement providing extension personnel from July 1 to Dec. 31 as recommended by the Human Resources Director.

• Delegated the payment of the Extension Office bills to the County Auditor/Treasurer Kay Rave.

• Appointed social worker Bob Kaumans to the Benefit Committee as the Teamsters representative as per the union.

• Approved all county employees attend the MCIT Resilience II Training to be held on Oct. 24.

• Accepted the resignation of maintenance technician II, Roger Geimer effective Sept. 8.

The next regular Hubbard County Board meeting will be at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, July 18 at the Hubbard County Government Center.

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