Douglas County changes septic regulations
A new septic ordinance will be instituted in Douglas County as of August 1. The ordinance includes additional permit requirements and adjustments in fees charged by the county for septic services.
Standard systems, holding tanks and privies, alternative systems and restaurant/bar/hotel systems will be affected by the change in fees.
After August 1, all new systems will require soil verification, that cost has been added to the permit fee.
"What we have done essentially is tried to make this so that the folks don't see any kind of significant increase in the fees that they would pay for a septic system," said Douglas County Land and Resource Management Director Dave Rush. "However, there are some activities that there are some additional fees for."
On-site inspections take approximately 1.5 hours to conduct and average 30 miles of driving. Labor for the service costs the county $29 an hour and $16.50 in mileage.
Fees collected from the septic services pay for inspections and are used to enable the Land and Resource Management office to process permit applications, review and input records, review applications and inspect work.
"We don't make any money off of these fees," Rush said.
A draft of the septic ordinance outlining the types of systems and regulations can be found on the county's website.
SEPTIC FEE SCHEDULE
Holding tank and privy installation permit (Type II) - $150
Initial operating permit - $100
Expired/revoked operating permit renewal - $50
Operating permit renewal - $5
Septic installation permit with verification (Type I, III, IV and V) - $250
Soil verification - $75
Systems Affected by Change in Fees
Standard system - $250
Holding tank or privy - $250
Alternative system - $350
Restaurant/Bar/Hotel - $600
IN THE FRIEND ZONE
A resignation in the zoning office in Pope County has left the office a little ill-prepared. The timing of the vacancy and the hiring of the new zoning administrator has opened up an opportunity for Douglas County to extend a couple hands. Rush has offered his services to help out the neighboring county.
Rush said because Douglas County has an adequately staffed office, including an assistant director, he will be able to provide 15 hours a week to Pope County temporarily.
"I'd like to see us help out our friends in Pope County," Rush said.
Commissioners approved Rush's services to Pope County through the end of this calendar year.
PARKS, TRAILS AND ROADS
Douglas County Park Superintendent Al Lieffort presented the commissioners with two land acquisition possibilities at the July 24 county board meeting.
Grants available in the Parks and Trails Legacy Grant program with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources can aid in funding the acquisition, development, improvement and restoration of land.
Lieffort said $7.4 million is available outside of the metro area.
Lieffort's first suggestion was 56.75 acres of the Wayne Lee property that is intended to join Lake Brophy Park. LaGrand Township has expressed support for the project but will not fully endorse obtaining the parcel due to concerns of long range cost to tax payers in Douglas County.
The second venture Lieffort proposed is 84.4 acres along the south shore of Eng Lake on the John Johnson Trust property adjacent to Kensington Rune Stone Park. Lieffort's plan is to plot a trail linking the park to Solem Lutheran Cemetery where Olaf and Karin Ohman and their family are buried.
A tie vote on applying for a grant regarding the Brophy Park land between commissioners in which Jerry Johnson and Norm Salto voted no and Bev Bales and Dan Olson voted yes resulted in a request for Lieffort to bring the request to apply for a grant for both properties back at the August 14 board meeting for a vote from the full board. Commissioner Paul C. Anderson was absent from the July 24 session.
Two contracts were awarded to Central Specialties Inc. of Alexandria for work to be done on County State Aid Highways (CSAH) 20 and 44 and County Roads 90 and 106. Central Specialties bid 32 percent under budget on the CSAH 20 project; $443,079 and 26 percent under budget on the remaining roads; $667,923.
NEW WHEELS FOR PUBLIC HEALTH DEPT.
Commissioners approved Assistant Public Health Director Kathy Werk's request for authorization to purchase a new vehicle for the public health department.
A 2012 Chrysler 200 LT has been added to the fleet. The vehicle was purchased from Juettner Motors for $18,840. The dealership offered $800 in trade for a 2000 Dodge Intrepid with 145,705 miles.
In June, a 2012 Malibu was purchased from Alexandria Motors for $17,490 to replace a 1999 Ford Taurus wagon with 130,000 miles.
CliftonLarsonAllen out of Brainerd and Alexandria has been selected as the firm that will conduct Douglas County audits for 2012, 2013 and 2014.
The decision to use a private firm strays from the general practice to use the service provided by the Office of the State Auditor. CliftonLarsonAllen is the only local company to bid on the request for proposal and offered the lowest cost to the county at $62,000. The county had budgeted $75,000 for the audit in 2012.
Crystal Dey Crystal Dey is a staff reporter for the Echo Press. Originally from Minnesota's Iron Range, Dey worked for newspapers in North Dakota, Florida and Connecticut before returning to her home state to join the Echo Press in October 2011. Dey studied Mass Communications at Minnesota State University Moorhead with an emphasis in Online Journalism. Follow Staff Reporter Crystal Dey on Twitter at @CrystalDey_Echo.