Concerned neighbors on the Bromfield Rd., Atkinson Township, voiced concerns about the proposed Enbridge staging yard at the Carlton County Board of Commissioners Regular meeting on October 13. The Atkinson Town Board approval of Enbridge’s use of the road for access and the Carlton County Planning Commission’s clearance for the yard site had seen little public input until now.
Alex Omar has property on the Bromfield Rd. which has been leased by Enbridge for the staging yard and has a proposed access road about 500 feet from CR 61 off Bromfield. The proposed use of the Omar property is requested in the permit for three years and during the height of construction can see truck traffic 24 hours a day. Atkinson Township Board had given their approval for the use of the Bromfield Rd. the evening of their October 12 meeting.
Northern Natural Gas has been doing some line work during this summer. Residents feel the noise and disruption from that work has been tolerated because it is occurring for just a short time. Activity at the Enbridge construction yard for a three year period is a concern.
“Such activity would impact a peaceful neighborhood,” commented Mr. and Mrs. Robert Calhoun. “We have not chosen to live on the Bromfield Road and be affected by a construction zone.” The group from the Bromfield Rd. area asked for another hearing to voice their concerns.
Zoning Administrator Heather Cunningham said that there were no phone calls or letters to her office after letters were sent to any residence and landowner within a quarter mile of the construction yard site and no input was given at the Planning Commission hearing after official notice was published in the local newspapers.
Cunningham cautioned the Board, “We have followed process and no concerns were voiced until the last few days. Please do not de-legitamize a process we use regularly and I believe is fair. If there are issues let Enbridge call for a meeting to address these issues.”
Enbridge responded that their firm will meet with each of the affected parties on an individual basis and a County Commissioner and an Atkinson Township official can be included.
“Hearing the concerns over the weekend and the input today,” stated Commissioner Mark Thell, “I make a motion to table the decision for the October 26 meeting until all the input is in from the township and the people affected.” The motion to table passed with only Commissioner Proulx abstaining without comment.
Justin Kroeger of Gallagher Benefit Service reported on the progress the County’s Insurance Committee has made in the last three years. Kroeger heads that committee and negotiates directly with the insurance companies to get the best coverage at the most reasonable price. The committee is made up of County administration and union representatives to get input from all parties.
The average medical cost savings for the years 2018 to 2021 is $280,562. Dental savings for 18 months is $35,600. Total life and accidental death/disability savings for the last four years is $60,000.
Kroeger also explained that the committee has studied whether the County should begin a self-insurance program, but it has been decided that this move is not advisable at this time because of the Covid situation.
In other County news: County Engineer JinYeene Neumann was given the authority to charge $85 per sign for any new 911 signs that are installed. Sign replacement with the landowner installing the sign themselves will be at a lower price.
Carlton County Highway Department has been working with the MNDOT to establish a detour using CR 123 Four Corners Road and CR 120 for car traffic. Work will be done on the intersection of Highway 73 and 210 in Cromwell this next season. Truck traffic will take another route. Part of the cost of upgrading CR 123 will be covered by the MNDOT.
Approval was given for a shut off valve installation at the Barnum shop involving the sewer line from Barnum. It has been known for some time that the old septic system for the old shop had failed. The only other alternative to hooking up to the Barnum sewage system would have been to install large holding tanks. So much water is used for cleaning the County equipment that a tank system would require pumping out every two weeks and be quite costly.
Sam Huhta and Byron Kuster were reappointed to the Carlton County Planning Commission for their last three year term.