Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Dan Reed
Moose Lake Star Gazette 

Sandpiper Pipeline issues discussed


Carlton County Land Stewards, led by Janaki Fisher-Merritt of rural Wrenshall, pressed the Carlton County Board of Commissioners on issues relating to the construction of the Enbridge Sandpiper Pipeline through Carlton County and its effects on private land holdings. "The county board is asked to take a position on the route and safeguards for the pipeline," Fisher-Merritt said to the board, "and the wording of the letter should reflect negotiating from a position of strength, not weakness. Wording should be strong to help ensure the safest line possible."

Heather Cunningham, Planning and Zoning Officer, stated, "Some negotiations are possible during this period but Carlton County does not have the power to stop construction of the pipeline."

"Cass and Aitkin counties have mentioned that the Soo Line recreational corridor would be a possible route," Land Commissioner Greg Bernu commented. "It is a possibility. I have heard that those county boards have been reluctant to push too hard for that route due to resistance from private landowners that would receive payments for the proposed line. Surveying crews are working on the Carlton County proposed route as we speak."

Dick Brenner, county commissioner, said, "The land commissioner should work with Fisher-Merritt to strengthen the wording of the letter on the pipeline construction. The proposed letter should come back to the board for final approval."

Other business

Randy McCuskey, foreman for the transportation road crew, was given a plaque commending 30 years of service to Carlton County.

September 16 is the deadline for letting the State of Minnesota know what a proposed property tax levy by the county is for the coming year. The law requires the county to set a preliminary figure at this time. The figure to be reported is a 6.5 percent levy increase.

"I am not comfortable with that increase," commissioner Gary Peterson stated. "The figure is too high. Some counties are setting a 0 percent increase in their levy. We need to work on this and bring it down."

Chairman Bob Olean responded, "We expect the figure much lower as we work the budget process." County Coordinator Dennis Genereau supported that view. "It is going to come in at 1.68 percent increase or lower," he felt.

A UCare grant of $50,000 has been awarded to Carlton County reported Dave Lee, Director of Human Services. "The county has a very high population with disabilities," Lee explained, "and this grant will enable us to better manage the health issues of this group." Commissioner Brenner asked, "Do we have to hire additional staff?" Lee responded, "No, we will handle this program with existing staff time."

A rezoning request for Bear Lake shoreline in Barnum was discussed and approved. Additional residential lots and one commercial parcel adjacent to an existing commercially-zoned lot are being created. It had been approved by the Planning Commission.

Cunningham explained two proposals for the handling of used oil at the Carlton Transfer Station. Como Oil had handled the used oil in the past. Costs involved with the program they provided were about $1,500/year at the county's expense. East Side Oil will provide new handling equipment for the same products at no cost to the county. The system they are using is more customer friendly. The board approved the East Side proposal.


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