After reviewing two bids, the Hubbard County Board approved the Park Rapids Enterprise as the legal newspaper for 2020.

Like last year, there was a 75-cent difference between the newspapers’ ad rates for printing delinquent tax lists and other legal notices. The Enterprise offered $3.75 per column inch, while the Northwoods Press offered $3.

For first and second publication of county financial statements, the Enterprise quoted $3.75 for both. The Northwoods Press bid $3 for first publication and $7.50 for second.

By statute, legal notices are also posted on a newspaper’s website at no charge to the county and are accessible to all readers.

According to a verified audit, the Enterprise reaches 2,388 households in Hubbard County, but the online circulation is much higher, said Diann Drew, controller for the Enterprise.

The Northwoods Press’ circulation is 1,100, including online, said owner Tim Bloomquist, who was reached by phone during the Jan. 7 meeting.

County commissioner Dan Stacey recommended the Northwoods Press, based on its ad rate, with county commissioner David De La Hunt agreeing it was the lowest responsible bidder and a 20 percent difference.

County commissioner Char Christenson pointed out that the Enterprise’s audience is greater, noting an article about a Menahga dairy farm reached people beyond the community and was read in Crookston, Grand Forks, etc. “I think that’s something we have to take into consideration,” she said.

County commissioner Tom Krueger agreed, saying, “The Enterprise has a circulation several times as much. To me, it’s more than just meeting the requirements of the law. It’s wanting to be transparent and reaching as many people as you can. … It’s the outreach.”

Krueger said he interprets “‘responsible’ as reaching the most people.”

County commissioner Ted Van Kempen said, “That’s what I look at, too – the number of people.”

Stacey said the Northwoods Press reaches toward the Cass Lake and Walker area. He reiterated that Nevis is cheaper. If circulation is part of the board’s consideration, he recommended that bidders be aware.

Christenson asked County Coordinator Eric Nerness if circulation could be taken into account.

“It can be a factor,” he replied.

The vote to accept the Enterprise’s bid passed 3-2, with Stacey and De La Hunt opposed.

In other business, the county board did as follows:

  • Scheduled a public hearing at 9:45 a.m. Jan. 21 for amendments to the county’s nuisance/dangerous animal ordinance, which was adopted in 2018. Nerness explained, “There was a ruling by a judge that he felt part of it might not pass Constitutional muster. It’s a very small change.”

  • Reviewed the results of the Jan. 6 timber auction, which yielded $196,318 in sales. All 10 tracts sold, said County Land Commissioner Chip Lohmeier.

  • Approved a one-year services agreement between the Hubbard County Sheriff’s Office and the Lakes Area Dive Team. The team will provide underwater dive support, rescue and recovery for $5,000.

  • Approved a service agreement with the Hubbard County Sheriff’s Mounted Posse, which will provide search and rescue services in 2020 for $343.

  • Renewed a contract with Rural Minnesota CEP, effective Jan. 1 2020 through Dec. 31, 2021. Using $217,501 in grant funds from the Minnesota Department of Human Services, CEP provides employment and training services to Hubbard County residents who are recipients of the Minnesota Family Investment Program.

  • Accepted a $10,000 operational enhancement grant from the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs. According to the agreement, the funds must be used to provide outreach to Hubbard County veterans, assist in the reintegration of combat veterans into society, collaborate with other social service agencies, reduce homelessness among veterans and enhance operation of the county veterans services office.

  • Approved a $1,995 quote from Midwest Machinery of Wadena for a hydraulic chute for a highway department snowblower attachment.

  • Authorized the hiring of a new child support officer and social worker.