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Breezy Point: Mayor pledges to remedy city's tax-forfeited lot problem

Tax-forfeited lots are a problem in Breezy Point, but Mayor Tom Lillehei is committed to finding a solution. "I've been working on this for at least a couple of years now and not really getting much headway on it," Lillehei said at the Monday, Ap...

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Breezy Point Mayor Tom Lillehei said there are around 1,200 tax-forfeited lots in Crow Wing County, and Breezy Point has 462 of those. In comparison with area communities, Ideal Township and Nisswa each has two tax-forfeited properties, Pelican Township has three, Pequot Lakes has one, and Crosslake does not have any. Screenshot from Crow Wing County GIS mapping.

Tax-forfeited lots are a problem in Breezy Point, but Mayor Tom Lillehei is committed to finding a solution.

"I've been working on this for at least a couple of years now and not really getting much headway on it," Lillehei said at the Monday, April 2, city council meeting. "I would like to get started again on some sort of working group."

Lillehei said there are around 1,200 tax-forfeited lots in Crow Wing County, and Breezy Point has 462 of those. In comparison with area communities, Ideal Township and Nisswa each has two tax-forfeited properties, Pelican Township has three, Pequot Lakes has one, and Crosslake does not have any.

Breezy Point has nearly $130,000 in special assessments tied up in its tax-forfeited properties.

Lillehei said he wants to form a work group that can work closely with county officials.

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"We need to do something, and we need to get creative," Lillehei said.

Council member Gary Bakken applauded the mayor for his drive to address this issue and agreed to help in whatever way he can.

Critical incident response policy

The League of Minnesota Cities developed a model critical incident response policy for cities to use, and Breezy Point approved an adapted version to suit its needs.

The policy's purpose is to establish guidelines for responding to critical incidents within the city and identify tasks and priorities that should be addressed during such a time.

Police Chief Kevin Merschman said the city made minimal changes from the league's policy, such as the use of body cameras, which Breezy Point police officers do not have yet.

Public safety

The Breezy Point Police Department responded to 157 incidents in March, including two crashes, two traffic arrests, two thefts and one fire.

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In other business April 2, the council:

• Agreed to send comments to Crow Wing County on the proposed ATV ordinance, which would allow all-terrain vehicles to drive on county road shoulders. The city is against the ordinance unless it changes to include golf carts as well, as Breezy Point has more than 400 licensed golf carts that are allowed to drive on city streets.

• Approved a routine annual transfer of funds from the general fund to the revolving capital fund and from the sewer operating fund to the sewer capital fund.

• Approved the 2018-19 fire contract with the Pequot Lakes Fire Department for $89,335.03, which is an increase of $2,609.99 from last year, as the PLFD's budget increased by more than $10,000 this year. Breezy Point budgeted $93,000 for fire services.

• Appointed David Drown Associates as the city's financial adviser for the upcoming Whitebirch Development project.

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Related Topics: BREEZY POINTBREEZY POINT CITY COUNCILCROW WING COUNTYPEQUOT LAKES FIRE DEPARTMENT
Theresa Bourke started working at the Dispatch in July 2018, covering Brainerd city government and area education, including Brainerd Public Schools and Central Lakes College.
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