Archived Story

County has new wildlife preserve

Published 10:14am Friday, January 11, 2013

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has accepted a 553-acre land donation in northeastern Freeborn County that will be turned into a wildlife management area.

The land, in the central part of Newry Township, will be available for the conservation of wildlife and wildlife habitat and for outdoor recreational activities, according to a letter from the DNR to the Freeborn County Board of Commissioners.

The donation is nearly equal to the size of a square mile. There are 640 acres in a square mile.

The land will be open to public hunting, trapping, wildlife study and nature observation.

The letter stated DNR officials will plant native grasses and wildflowers and restore wetlands.

As a government parcel, no taxes will be paid to the county for the property.

Freeborn County commissioners heard an update about the land from Area Wildlife Manager Jeanine Vorland at their Tuesday board meeting.

In other action, the board:

• Elected 1st District Commissioner Glen Mathiason as chairman and 4th District Commissioner Chris Shoff as vice chairman of the county board.

Mathiason and Shoff will be in the positions for one year.

• Voted against waiving a late property tax penalty of almost $2,600 for Mrs. Gerry’s for taxes turned in 24 days from the second half of 2012.

The first half of the company’s property taxes were paid timely on May 11 for $32,248, according to a letter sent Nov. 20 to the county by Mrs. Gerry’s CEO Alan Oliver. He stated the remaining $32,248 was paid Nov. 8 “immediately after it was realized that the payment had not been made due to an oversight.”

Representatives from Mrs. Gerry’s said as a result of the oversight the company has made changes to its internal accounting procedures to make sure it does not happen again.

Second District Commissioner Dan Belshan voted to waive the property tax penalty because he said he thought it was too excessive.

The penalties are set by the state.

• Voted against waiving a property tax penalty of $626 for Dick and Janet Eastvold because of property taxes turned in 19 days late in the second half of 2012.

Janet Eastvold said she and her husband simply forgot to pay the taxes.

Belshan was the sole vote to waive the tax penalty.

• Authorized a maintenance agreement with the city of Albert Lea for maintenance of portions of county roads 20, 22 and 48, within the city limits.

• Authorized a maintenance agreement with the city of Albert Lea’s Utility Department for the lift station near Poet Biorefining north of Glenville.

• Authorized Freeborn County Engineer Sue Miller to give advisory assistance to the cities and townships in the county.

• Approved an agreement with the Minnesota Department of Transportation for payment of $6,500 to the county for the use and maintenance of Freeborn County roads 14, 17 and 46 as a detour route during the reconstruction of U.S. Highway 69 this summer.

• Authorized the banks the county will do business with in 2013.

• Authorized petty cash funds for 2013 for six county departments and the associated custodians of the funds for each department.

• Authorized a $25,000 loan from the general fund to the License Center to create a reserve balance.

• Renewed terms of members to the Freeborn County Board of Adjustments and the Freeborn County Planning Commission.

• Accepted a resignation of Highway Department mechanic James Larson.