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DNR tightens restrictions on appraisers

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) increased its requirements for appraisers needed to provide appraisals on properties the county wishes to purchase using Lessard Sams Outdoor Heritage Council state funding, Land Commissioner Joshua Stevenson reported to the county board Tuesday, Jan. 8.

This tripled the appraiser bid prices the county received, he said.

The county then sought a second request for proposals from appraisers and received somewhat lower bids, but the bids still ran $500 per parcel more than previous averages, Stevenson said.

The DNR change requires the county to use Level 4 rather than Level 2 appraisers.

Jan. 8, the county board awarded a contract to Lawrence Valuation Service to appraise seven parcels for $10,800. These appraisals will be preliminary to any purchases the county would make.

“We can’t see that the product (appraisal) is different,” Administrator Robert Yochum said of the differences between work Level 2 or 4 appraisers do in determining the land value.

The board approved a resolution to seek continuing grant-in-aid trails money from the state. Stevenson said the county gets $9,200 a year for the Soo Line ATV Trail, between $260,000 and $290,000 for snowmobile trails and $9,200 for cross country ski trails maintenance.

Funding comes from user fees and licenses the state collects.

Cass sold 2,131 cords of timber at a Dec. 20 auction, netting $36,590 revenue. One plot of timber offered for sale did not sell.

The board approved an updated bridge priority list, citing 11 bridges in the county that the highway department believes could stand to be improved or replaced. Ten of the 11 rate lower than the 80 out of 100 required to qualify for state funding.

The single bridge that rates 90.8 is sound, but narrow compared with the road leading to and away from it. The highway department sold three used fuel oil tanks to a Dilworth area resident through an auction process, netting $13,741.98 after auctioneering costs. County Engineer David Enblom said he expects the county will convert four more county garages to propane from fuel oil in 2013 and will auction the fuel tanks at those garages later this year.

Enblom obtained board approval to attend the National Association of County Engineers conference in April in Des Moines, Iowa.

Sheriff Tom Burch obtained board approval for the county to contract with Working Together Coalition to conduct training for businesses serving alcoholic beverages and for the coalition to conduct compliance checks to verify the businesses do not sell to minors.

Minnesota Sheriff’s Association donated $200 to the Cass County Sheriff’s Honor Guard. St. Agnes Catholic Church in Walker donated $1,500 to Health, Human and Veterans Services (HHVS) to be used for gift cards selected HHVS clients can use at some Walker businesses. An anonymous Walker donor gave $750 worth of grocery gift cars to HHVS.

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
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