Douglas County parks department preps for grant season; social services needs new car
Douglas County Parks Superintendent Al Lieffort is pursuing a 56-acre tract of land in LaGrand Township to broaden Lake Brophy Park. The project was listed on a Legacy grant application last year and did not receive funding.
Lieffort also has plans for 17.5 acres on the south boundary of the park. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) would like to purchase the land to improve public access to Lake Brophy, but it is not in the state's land purchase plan at this time, Lieffort informed Douglas County commissioners at their regular meeting on Tuesday, June 25.
Adding 17 acres to the application will enhance the probability of grant funding by the DNR, Lieffort said. If the county is able to purchase the lakefront acreage, the DNR will likely lease a portion of the land in the future.
Commissioners voted to allow Lieffort to proceed with appraisal of the properties. The 56-acre tract was valued at $227,000 last year. Both acquisitions will be listed on a Legacy grant application. Applications are due in late September.
"Based on the last couple of years of discussion, trying to finish up this land acquisition out there is a high priority to us," Lieffort said. "We want this application to succeed this time."
Kensington Runestone Park land was also discussed during the meeting. An archaeological survey must be proven or conducted before Douglas County can move forward with acquiring 84.4 acres of undeveloped land for the Kensington Runestone Park addition. The Minnesota Historical Society recommends the survey based on the nature and location of the project. If artifacts are found, they must be preserved.
Last year's appraisal on the acreage was between $9,000 and $16,000, Lieffort said. The property was purchased earlier this year.
SOCIAL SERVICES NEEDS NEW CAR
Commissioners approved Social Services Director Mike Woods' request to purchase a new vehicle for his department.
Recently, a Ford Taurus with approximately 125,000 miles on the engine had to be towed back from Fargo because the transmission failed.
"This wasn't a vehicle that was scheduled to be replaced," Woods said.
County Auditor/Treasurer Char Rosenow said many departments haven't had cars replaced in years. Woods was given permission to shop locally for a reliable vehicle costing no more than $15,000.
"Personally, as a manager, I want to make sure that the cars are safe," Woods said. "We have clients and children in those cars."
Another vehicle, with approximately 125,000 miles, is scheduled to be replaced next year. It currently has transmission issues that will cost at least $2,500 to repair.
LAND AND OFFICE ASSESSMENTS
The Douglas County Assessor's Office entered into a four-year agreement with Brandon, Leaf Valley and Moe townships and the cities of Brandon, Carlos, Forada and Nelson for personal property parcel assessments. Beginning in 2014 and concluding in 2017, parcels will be assessed at a rate of $7.25.
After assessing the situation in Pope County's Land and Resource Management Office, commissioners have agreed to allow Douglas County Land and Resource Management Director Dave Rush to assist Pope County through the end of the year. Pope County commissioner Larry Lindor attended the June 25 Douglas County commissioner meeting and read a letter of thanks from Pope County for Rush's service while the land and resource office has been short staffed and reorganizing in past months.
PUBLIC HEALTH UPDATE
Commissioners accepted $883 in donations to the hospice program from the month of May. Governing board and advisory committee bylaws for Hospice of Douglas County were also approved. Four uncollectible public health accounts totalling $476 for services received in the first half of 2012 were written off.
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.