By Dan Reed
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Shaw Building fate TBD in Dec.


November 8, 2018

Carlton County Board of Commissioners set their regular session in early December for a decision on funding the Carlton County Historical Society for budget year 2019 and where to house the Society’s future activities. The board met on October 22, deciding on this course of action, after the Committee of the Whole earlier in the month had unanimously recommended withholding Society funding for 2019 until a home for the organization was found.

Earlier the Carlton County Historical Society had sued the County Board to let them stay in the Shaw Building. An architectural firm has offered $50,000 for the building and is willing to commit to a major upgrade to the building, resolving major structural issues. Major water damage occurred in the 2012 Flood.

Carlton County Historical Society President Ed Kavanaugh announced at the October 22 meeting, “We are confident we will accept the Shaw Building for a dollar and will care for the building for the time being. We will be looking for other options in the near future.”

Commissioner Tom Proulx of Cloquet observed, “I don’t hear a commitment to keep the building permanently.”

Commissioner Gary Peterson added, “I am afraid we will end up getting the building back and lose the current buyer. I would like to see a financial status report before we take any action to leave the Historical Society residing in the Shaw Building.”

In other county board news, a large delegation of neighbors to the Northland Gravel Pit and Asphalt Plant at the junction of CSAH 4 and 5 came to complain about the heavy asphalt smoke and odor.

Spokesman for the group Dennis Mickle explained, “Eighteen families live within 3/4 mile of the asphalt plant. Noxious clouds of asphalt smoke have created 3 1/2 years of problems. If the smoke is traveling their direction, one out of five days families in the affected area have to leave their homes. A change in wind direction, it has been observed, has caused grazing cattle to seek a smokeless area in the pasture.”

Zoning and Environmental Administrator Heather Cunningham commented, “Our office has been very responsive every time we have received a call from the area. This smoke problem is unacceptable. We are looking for a solution.”

She went on, “We have had asphalt plants in several areas of the County and never had this smoke problem before. This is a unique topographical issue. The pit is at a certain elevation and the smoke settles into the surrounding valley.”

A press release has come from Carlton County on the unfolding story of a struggle in court between the utilities in Minnesota and the Minnesota Department of Revenue. In a nutshell, the State of Minnesota has the responsibility to calculate the value of the utilities and what is their share of the property taxes to be raised each year. Most of the formula for calculating the value is determined by Minnesota Statute but in the end the local governments — county, township, and school districts — will have to pay back amounts that appear to be over taxed. Minnesota has higher taxes on energy and utility providers than any of the surrounding states. The State of Minnesota would not have to pay back the over tax unless legislation was addressed in the State Legislature.

The greatest impact will be to the county budget and townships and school districts in the northeast corner of the county. Enbridge Pipeline, for example, for the years 2011-13 (and still being appealed) has a burden of $1.1 million on the County, $200K townships affected, $400k school districts affected, and $700k of the State. 2014-2017 obligations could be refunds in the $3 to 3.5 million range. Added value of Line 3 could help offset this.

Settlements with the remaining utilities and energy providers will be high since they are our largest taxpayers. If you have any questions call Kyle Holmes County Assessor or Paul Gassert County Auditor/Treasurer.


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