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

By Dan Reed
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Holmes, Thell testify at hearing for utility tax abatement legislation

and Carlton County Emergency Medical Service honors local community members


February 21, 2019

Dan Reed

EMS President Cassandro presented plaque to Nicole, an employee of Cars Towing.

Commissioner Mark Thell and Assessor Kyle Holmes spoke to the Carlton County Board of Commissioners on Feb. 12 about their appearance at a hearing at the State Legislature in support of State of Minnesota reimbursements to local governments for over charges in property taxes for utilities, pipelines, and other energy transmission entities as determined by the Minnesota Tax Courts in recent rulings.

Thell explained, "Prospects do look hopeful. Several counties and local governments testified for the reimbursements. Several utilities also testified in support. This is not a partisan issue and the message for action was heard."

Assessor Holmes added, "The impact of an anticipated Enbridge case ruling could on its own reach $100 million. Sherburne County is hit particularly hard. 70% of their taxable base comes from utilities and pipelines in their taxing district. With no action by the State the County will go bankrupt."

He continued, "Catching up with past over charges on utilities is only half of the problem. Future reductions on the tax liability of utilities will cause a shift in the tax burden to all the other property tax payers in the taxing district. The impact could be severe in my estimation. The State of Minnesota will soon realize that a cost to the State budget would be at least ½ billion dollars."

At the beginning of the Board of Commissioners meeting on February 12, the Carlton County Emergency Medical Service (EMS) Council gave their annual awards. Cars Towing of Cloquet was honored with the Friend of EMS Award. Chris Cassandro, President of the Carlton County EMS Council and a leader in the Blackhoof Fire Department, read, "They are always willing to give us a helping hand from auto wrecks to helping get our trucks out of the ditch. They also are willing to support department fundraisers with donations."

Carlton Fire Chief Derek Wolf honored the Carlton County Dispatch Office as the Carlton County EMS Unit of the Year. He said, "The Carlton County Dispatch Office is an essential part of emergency services and rarely receives the recognition they deserve. It is a honor to recognize their outstanding performance and excellence in public safety."

Cassandro introduced Royce Lattu, the Fire Chief of the Blackhoof Fire Department, as the Person of the Year Award. Lattu has been in Firefighting and EMS service for 20 years in Carlton County. Cassandro wrote, "Royce is a very talented and educated firefighter that can run a fire scene with perfect balance of foresight and execution. Royce, a gifted grant writer, has provided our Blackhoof department with $150,000 in grant monies."

Dean Wolf of the Carlton Fire Department and Ambulance Service was honored as the Carlton County EMS Lifetime Achievement Award. Cassandro spoke of Wolf volunteering with the Carlton Fire Department and Ambulance in 1978 with roles as EMT, firefighter, medical officer, and CPR instructor.

Cassandro read, "Dean has been a phenomenal mentor, teaching many new EMT's everything from making a good first impression, patient assessment, scene management, treatment, and intervention. Dean can never be repaid for the knowledge and experience he has passed on to others."


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