By Dan Reed
Moose Lake Star Gazette 

Carlton County bond refinancing to save money

 


The Carlton County Board of Commissioners authorized refinancing of two bonds used to build the Carlton County Health and Human Services building in Cloquet at their meeting on May 23.

“The time is right to do this,” commented Paul Gassert, auditor/treasurer. “With an October bond sale and lower interest rates we will save $50,000 per year on one financing bond and $40,000 per year on the other. I dragged my feet for some time to do this, thinking we could roll some of the possible building upgrades to the Transportation Building into this bond refinancing but planning is still not completed for that move.”

The refinancing was authorized 4-0 with Commissioner Dick Brenner absent.

Members involved with the expansion of sewer services to the Big Lake Area Sanitary District (BLASD) presented their proposal to the county board. Carlton County would be needed as a joint-powers partner to oversee BLASD finances such as protecting participating homeowners from overbilling for services,.

John Frederickson, chair of BLASD, said the sewer line would be extended along the Big Lake Road from existing WLSSD lines in Cloquet. Sewer services in the area would be 30 percent tribal property and 70 percent non-tribal. The Fond du Lac Band has already given an easement for the construction phase. The planning process has been over a 10-year period since the district was formed.

Funding for the project comes from the state 2014 bonding bill, $4.5 million, a forgivable USDA grant of $4.5 million and a loan of $2.94 million; $1.5 million in additional 2016 state bonding has been requested. At this time the Minnesota Legislature has adjourned with no action on the bonding bill. The homeowner will have to cover the cost of transporting household sewage to the local pumping station. It is estimated the monthly bill to the homeowner will be $95-$100.

In questioning from Commissioner Gary Peterson it was noted by Frederickson that Sawyer and Torchlight Lake areas are not in this proposal at this time. Sewer users would have to join right away, not when their current septic system fails. Completion is anticipated by the summer of 2019.

No action was needed from the county board at this time.

IT Director Peter Gould requested the new positon in the technology department and the job description be for an IT project manager. County Coordinator Dennis Genereau commented after numerous meetings and input the consensus was to name the new hire an IT coordinator senior.

After much discussion Commissioner Marv Bodie made a motion to approve Genereau’s position saying, “Let’s get this unstuck.” The motion was quickly seconded and passed.

Land Commissioner Greg Bernu requested an easement exchange at no cost to either party from County Road 132 east through parts of Sections 21 and 22 in Kalevala Township to provide access to Carlton County for timber management and landowners Andrew Wyckoff and C. Job Cooper to their otherwise land-locked property. This is not a public easement. The request was approved.

 

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