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

By Dan Reed
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Hearing on July 9 for funding a new Barnum Shop

 


A new/renovated shop building is needed at the Carlton County Transportation Center in Barnum with estimates running as high as $10 million for renovation/addition construction. At the June 11 Regular Session of the Carlton County Commissioners, the Board called for public input at a hearing to be held at 9 am on July 9 during their regular monthly meeting.

Funding sources for the Transportation Garage from a wheelage tax or using monies coming in from the ½% County Sales Tax would have to cover a bond payment of $600,000 a year. If the wheelage tax is used $10 paid at the time of licensing your vehicle will raise $300,000 annually and $20/year will raise $600,000.

“All funding sources are being considered,” remarked Commissioner Gary Peterson per a phone conversation. “We as Commissioners are in a difficult situation – a perfect storm, in which not only do we have to consider State pressure to build a new jail at the same time we are needing to upgrade the Barnum Garage and renovation work is needed in the present courthouse.”

He went on to say, “The Barnum Garage was built at a time when the County’s road equipment was much smaller. Now, whether summer or winter, some work has to be done outside by our crew because the equipment with attachments, such as our snowplows, will not fit in the building. The present building by itself needs renovation on old plumbing, electrical, and even the locks on the doors. The technology for equipment maintenance has far outpaced our capabilities in the room we currently have.”

The Commissioners are looking at all funding sources. There are some bonds that are soon to be paid off. Public input at the July 9 hearing is being encouraged in person or by writing a letter.

In the past few years the ½% Sales Tax has raised on average $1.8 million yearly that has been dedicated to certain road projects with numbers larger than 100. At its inception almost five years ago, then County Engineer Mike Tardy promoted the ½% Sales Tax as funding aging roadways that had little hope of repair because of the funding restrictions from limited State monies available. A dedicated list was approved by the County Board and has been updated periodically since.

Assistant County Engineer Milt Hagen recently commented, “I have worked for the County Transportation Department for 28 years and the ½% Sales Tax has made it possible to repair our roadways more in the last four years than was done in the rest of the time I have worked here. The list of road upgrades is long for both tarred and gravel roads numbered above 100 and will take years to accomplish. Then, of course, repairs on the newest upgrades will start again one day.”

In other County Board action, the Carlton County Auditor/Treasurer’s Office was authorized to hold funds for each ambulance service in the County until a new ambulance was purchased by one of the services. The $15,000 budgeted each year is earmarked by the County to each ambulance district and is dedicated for ambulance purchase only.

It was reported at the Board meeting that Cloquet buys a new ambulance every other year. The North-Western Ambulance District based out of Cromwell recently put into service a new ambulance in 2018 and due to rising costs may not buy another one for many years. This ambulance will be upgraded as technology changes.

After a hearing and approval by the Planning Commission and County Board action, Ramona Laveau was given permission to subdivide 55.7 acres at 560 CR 4, Wrenshall, amending the Official Zoning Map of Carlton County. Family members are going to buy or build on the three parcels. Part of the acreage will be switched from A-1 Agricultural/Forest Management to A-2 Agricultural/Residential yet is consistent with the zoning in that neighborhood.

A cabin and lot at 3982 Little Hanging Horn Circle, Barnum was forfeited for non-payment of property tax in December 2018. The former owner has been notified that the personal property of a pontoon and three kayaks will be sold through a local auction house.

The Oldenburg Arts and Cultural Community received funding from the Regional Sustainable Development Partnership and is sponsoring a number of events during the summer to encourage public awareness of how pollinators such as birds, bats, bees, butterflies, beetles, and other small mammals sustain our ecosystem and help produce part of our food. The County Board gave approval to use County parking areas for some events with the condition that insurance was provided and no harm was done to the areas.

 

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