5/28/2009 8:36:00 AM County Board splits township requests for funding pending Ki-Chi-Saga Park Plan revisions
BY DENISE MARTIN
Chisago Lake Township Board asked the Chisago County Board last week to release township park fees in order to add a ballfield at Ki-Chi-Saga Park and to re-build the roof of the house at Moody Round Barn Park. The two requests nearly wipe out the Chisago Lake Township account now at a balance of $13,225. The Moody funding request is $5,000 and the ballfield allotment is $5,000.
The roof subsidy was approved on a 5-0 vote while the ballfield item was held over until after a public hearing can be held. Parks Director Laird Mork explained that the County Parks Comprehensive Plan should be revised to reflect additional ballfields in the plan, before County Commissioners act on this funding.
Township supervisors state in the application they support Lakes Area Recreation Association (LARA) adding ballfields. The funding is in addition to what LARA has already contributed towards preparing the corner of the park for field development. One new field was developed by LARA just recently, within the scope of the park plan. This field is in addition.
LARA is also building a parking lot nearer to these fields, which lies in the southeast part of Ki-Chi-Saga Park.
State law provides for townships to get 75 percent of park fees generated from subdivisions platted within townships, but the fees are held in an account overseen by the county. Townships that have adopted their own park plans can submit funding requests for expenditures that qualify under state legal guidelines on spending park fees.
Commissioner Mike Robinson asked Mork about related future costs. Robinson said he expects LARA to fund more bathrooms at Ki-Chi-Saga and provide maintenance of the fields. "We can't be cutting (county budget) one week and adding costs the next," Robinson declared.
Commissioner George McMahon said he wouldn't support any more liability placed on the non-profit LARA, especially to maintain county park amenities. He said county parks staff are out there anyway.
County Board Chair Ben Montzka noted the commissioners can't really vote on this matter, until there's a public hearing to find out if citizens support this intensified use of Ki-Chi-Saga. There was no action on the ballfield funding.
Watch the paper for informationwhenever the public hearing date gets scheduled on the Parks Plan revision.
Sparks flew again between McMahon and Robinson. The Board was asked to adopt a resolution recognizing a businessperson in McMahon's district. Myron "Pinky" Morrison recently celebrated over 30 years as a restaurant entrepreneur. The Board was to being asked to accept a certificate to be presented to Morrison.
Robinson balked at the item, saying it smelled of "campaign" tactics.
McMahon said he assumed commissioners embrace giving pats on the back publicly to longtime community figures. "That's part of what we do," he observed.
Commissioner Lora Walker noted the Board has frequently issued proclamations naming a day to honor someone who has given longtime service to the community or made a notable achievement.
The certificate of recognition was given the Board's blessing 4-1, Robinson voting no.
Robinson questioned a request from Commissioner Walker if there was consensus to send a thank you letter to state lawmakers for their efforts on the LS Power taxation exemption bill.
Robinson asked who on the County Board supports the electric station project? He wanted a vote that moment on the project.
Chairman Montzka pointed out that all Walker wanted was to let Rick Olseen and Jeremy Kalin know their work at the capitol was appreciated. The LS Power project is under Lent Township zoning authority and while there will be county involvement in wetland issues, etc. the permitting of the facility is not a county matter.
Walker said she'd be happy to just send a personal note if the Board couldn't unanimously support official correspondence.
On motion by Robinson the Board accepted the new county engineer contract for services. Joe Triplett will be county engineer for four years, starting at $99,070. County Administrator John Moosey explained that Triplett is classified slightly below what former engineer Bill Malin was at. Malin's wage was approximately $102,000 when his contract was not renewed a couple weeks ago by the Board.
The vote on Triplett was 3-1-1. Montzka continued to abstain for confidential reasons and Walker continued to state she wanted only a year contract.
Commissioner Walker's been having scheduling conflicts, and asked if the Board could appoint somebody else to the East Central Regional Library Board as liaison. On McMahon's motion Chairman Montzka was appointed unanimously.
Three planning commission items were approved unpon recommendation by county planning commissioners.
A WEI Spiritual Retreat, the Tiller Corp. gravel "washing" operation and the Janssen equestrian facility all were given final okays. (See County Press planning commission report May 14 edition.)
A public hearing was scheduled for June 17 on amending the local water management plan ordinance.
The county proposes to add wording that the county "supports construction of community wastewater treatment systems in the unsewered rural village centers." Once included in the county's plan, as a "priority item" a rural village center system could gain five points in the MPCA priority projects listing.
Crack seal bid for county roads was awarded to Northwest Asphalt Maintenance of Goodridge, MN for $67,000. The only other bid, according to County Engineer Triplett, was for $178,000.
The County Board meeting included an annual update by Forest Lake-Comfort Lake Watershed District managers Jackie Anderson and Jon Spence and WD Executive Director Randy Anhorn.
The district helped last year with eight wetland restoration projects and put into place "more formal management tools," said Anderson, who is Watershed District Board Vice Chair. See www.flclwd.org.