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Water patrol awarded grant for depth finder

Douglas County commissioners accepted grant funding and agreed to allocate money to the county Housing and Redevelopment Agency during their regular county board meeting on August 27.

The Douglas County Sheriff's Office received a $3,810 federal boating safety grant from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The grant will be used to purchase a depth finder, GPS scanner, maps and a pedestal seat. Sheriff Troy Wolbersen said the depth finder is fairly high tech and will allow the sheriff's office to locate non-moving items under the surface of the water. The DNR grant will fully fund the purchase.

Commissioner Bev Bales commended Wolbersen's team for their work during the Douglas County Fair. She said Sergeant Brad Brejcha's performance with the K-9 unit was of particular interest.

"We appreciate [the sheriff's office] doing that every year. I don't think we always realize how much help we get," Bales said.


Douglas County commissioners approved a funding request from the Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA) of Douglas County in the amount of $485,000 for 2014. The amount remains flat from the 2013 disbursement.

The HRA levy is a separate line item on property tax statements and is not included in the county budget, explained Jeffrey Schiffman, HRA executive director. The HRA board of commissioners approved the budget in July.

Douglas County provides funds to the HRA in order for the authority to offer public housing options. The HRA was developed in 1971 through special legislation (Minnesota Statute 469.001 to 469.047). Per statute, the HRA is allowed to levy and collect a special benefit tax up to .0185 percent of the taxable market value of Douglas County based upon all taxable property.

The amount requested from the county is .009 percent of the taxable market value. The HRA's operating expenses amount to $674,535.


Commissioners also reported that the Lakes Area Recreation (LAR) lease agreement remains the same as agreed upon last year. In 2014, LAR will pay the county a rent of 59 cents per square foot. LAR is responsible for some janitorial maintenance. The county will receive $9,000 in rent for the year. Last year, commissioners passed a motion to gradually increase LAR's rent from 39 cents per square foot to $1.

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 @Crystal_Dey.

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