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

By Lois E. Johnson
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Moose Lake City Council approves rebate tax


The Moose Lake City Council approved the proposal to offer tax rebates to residents who build new homes in the city at the meeting of the council on Wednesday, May 9.

The new Moose Lake EDA (Economic Development Administration) had studied what other communities are offering to spur housing development and came up with the two-year tax rebate, explained City Administrator Tim Peterson.

The document that will be presented to new residents who build homes within the city states: “For homes started in 2018 or later, the rebate is calculated based on the assessed property value on January 2 of each of the two years following the date the new home is completed. Land value is excluded in the rebate calculation.

“The rebate is also available when an existing home is demolished and a new home built. The rebate will be calculated based on the increased Carlton County taxable market value to the property.”

The council passed a motion to approve the proposal.

Peterson added Welcome Packages will also be offered by area businesses to introduce new residents to the community businesses and encourage them to patronize the businesses. The EDA will be working with the Moose Lake Area Chamber of Commerce to assemble the packages.

New banners for the streetlights are being created. Peterson explained that 40 banners of two designs of 20 each are in the process of being created at a cost of $4,600. A test banner has faired well, he said.

The banners are made of a mesh fabric expected to last longer, he added. The American flags will be displayed all summer.

Two facilities in Moose Lake are now being used by the Department of Motor Vehicles for testing drivers.

Tests will be conducted for Commercial Drivers’ Licenses in the arena parking lot, and the Soo Line Event Center is the new site for drivers’ license tests, stated Peterson.

“Thursday was the first test day and it was very busy,” he said.

The council decided to opt out of a new contract with Friends of Animals.

The city has had a contract with FOA and stray domestic animals were taken to that shelter in Cloquet in the past. But the cost of the contract has increased. Peterson is going to check with Animal Allies regarding the cost of its services, he said.

Finishing work will be completed in the next month along the newly paved streets, Arrowhead Lane, Third Street and South Kenwood Avenue, before the projects are closed out, it was said. There is an additional charge of $20,045.

Peterson said it was a reasonable amount; the funds have already been paid.

The council approved the additional expense.

Peterson explained the city has retained payment of some of the funds until the projects are completed and approved. After that, there is a one-year warranty on the projects.

There was discussion about moving the speed radar sign located near the traffic lights at the Highway 73-61 intersection. It had been moved closer to the traffic lights after the construction project last year and it was said that it was not as effective at slowing the traffic.

Moose Lake Police Chief Bryce Bogenholm said he would like to move that sign to County Road 10 by the school to slow the traffic.

“It belongs to the city,” he said. “It was purchased with Safe Routes to School funds. The school is still working on Safe Routes. Maybe there will be more money for other speed signs.”

Street Superintendent Phil Entner suggested checking with the state about moving the sign to a different location on its right-of-way.

The council approved repaving Earl Ellens Drive, which runs alongside the arena.

It was explained that there are three portions of the street where the pavement had been removed for earlier projects. Bids will be called for.

The proposal to earn extra income for the city for street repairs by charging residents and businesses a franchise fee for natural gas services is on hold.

Peterson explained the franchise fee for the school was unusually large, and the proposed fee was questioned.

“Minnesota Energy has looked at the numbers and saw that the cost estimates are wrong,” said Peterson. “We haven’t talked to the others yet.”

The city is going to apply for a grant to treat the city’s trees against an infestation of Emerald Ash Borer, it was said.

“A contractor would come out, drill holes in the trees and insert the treatment,” he added. “It would cost about $100 per tree and the treatment would have to be repeated in two years.”

Peterson also told the council that the company purchasing the old school has asked for dock space along the lakeshore for its potential residents to use. The company is planning to create living quarters in part of the old school, it was said.

In exchange, the purchaser would give the land with the tennis court to the city.

“There are a number of ways to handle the request,” said Peterson. “We could expand the dock at the boat landing. They want slips where people could keep their boats as well.”

However, the exchange was not favored.

“It would cost $80,000 to redo the tennis court,” said Mayor Ted Shaw. “What are the costs to tear it out?”

Peterson was instructed to continue talking to the purchaser.

First National Bank has proposed spearheading a group to update the bath house at the park.

“We can approach contractors and get cost estimates,” said Peterson. “We can give those cost estimates to the group who gives us the money for the project.”

Peterson also said there have been complaints that the city’s 120 picnic tables are in need of repair or replacement.

“If we can get someone to build them, the city will pay for the lumber,” he said.

In other business, the city approved the cost of installing a fiber optic line to the campground and agreed to meet with the Moose Lake Township Board to discuss orderly annexation procedures of properties bordering the city. No date was set.

The next monthly meeting of the Moose Lake City Council was set for Wednesday, June 13, at 4 p.m. in the council chambers.


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