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

By Ailene Croup
Moose Lake Star Gazette 

861 acres removed from county tax rolls


Pine County commissioners approved removing 861 acres from the county’s tax rolls last Tuesday as part of two separate land transactions.

These two property transactions with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) would be added to the 17 Wildlife Management Areas in Pine County that already total 5,801 acres.

Chris Balzar, area wildlife manager for the DNR, explained the process to the board.

The first property transaction required the board’s approval because it was being purchased by the DNR and taken off the tax rolls. It is 381 acres of land owned by Danford and Kathleen Erhart in southern Pine County along the Snake River. It has a combination of high quality wetlands and forested wetlands. It consists of seven taxed parcels with an estimated market value of $470,200 and would produce $6,162 in taxes in 2015. The DNR’s purchase price for the property is $900,000. Through the state’s payment in lieu of taxes (PILT) program, the county will receive $9,180 per year, reimbursing the county for the loss of taxes.

The second piece of property is near Rutledge in Norman Township. It is also seven taxed parcels adding up to 480 acres of brushland. The property, owned by Jamie Slade, has a 2016 estimated market value of $215,500 with 2015 estimated real estate taxes of $1,688. The estimated PILT on the recently appraised value of $324,000 is $2,430.

This land would be purchased by a private party — Pheasants Forever — and donated to the DNR so no board approval was required. But, the DNR wanted to make sure the board was in support of creating more state-owned land in the county according to paperwork submitted by the DNR.

Commissioner Curt Rossow of Willow River said he was concerned about the property being taken off the tax rolls and asked if there was a guarantee the PILT money would be there each year.

Pine County Auditor/Treasurer Cathy Clemmer said there was no guarantee. She said the net benefit to the county is on the plus side.

Policing contract

with Pine City schools

Pine County Sheriff Jeff Nelson said the Pine City School District would like to expand its deputy’s hours as school resource officer from 20 to 40 hours per week.

Commissioner Matt Ludwig of Sandstone, a former Pine County deputy and investigator, asked Nelson if using a deputy to cover those hours would leave the county short on road deputies.

Nelson said it could. The deputy would be pulled back to cover the road when they were in need. The school district would not be paying for those hours. They would pay only the additional hours the deputy worked as a resource officer.

The board approved the request.

County attorney

prosecution services

As part of the consent agenda, the board approved an agreement with the city of Askov for prosecution services.

The agreement states that the county attorney’s office will charge $100 per case file submitted to the office for review or charging of violations of blight and city nuisance ordinances. Either party may terminate the agreement with a 90-day notice.


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