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December 16, 2018

5/11/2018 11:13:00 AM
Board welcomes sheriff; expresses trail damage concern

The full Chisago County Board, with Commissioner Lora Walker on Skype,  oversaw installation and the oath of office for new Chisago County Sheriff Brandon Thyen and approved his recommendation that Justin Wood serve as Chief Deputy,  and then the Board handled a brief business meeting.

Sheriff Rick Duncan retired as of Friday, May 4.  The County Board acknowledged his service of seven years, or almost two terms, as sheriff.  Sheriff Thyen is sheriff until regular 2018 elections will seat a successor, and filing doesn’t open for weeks, but two candidates have announced already. With no “incumbent” seeking re-election more candidates are likely.

The Chisago County Attorney verified that Duncan was the subject of a complaint filed with the county and said that an independent investigation had concluded. The focus of this, what was learned and what the complaint alleged are not being made public at this time. The county is reviewing which details are allowed to be released and what remains confidential.

Meeting items include:  
~ Medical Examiner Dr. Quinn Strobl gave her annual report.  In 2017 the county  had 392 deaths and of these 271 cremations were approved (reviewal of death certificate.) Of 35 autopsies performed by her office the cause of death for a vast majority was cardiovascular.

There were nine reported suicides in 2017, the highest number she has seen in several years, she said.

Six persons died in motor vehicle crashes in the county and there were two homicide deaths.

~ County Commissioners discussed the state grant-in-aid applications the Board acts on every year for pass through snowmobile trail/ grooming costs.  

Commissioner Mike Robinson suggested the county forego this because of damage done by snowmobiles to Sunrise Prairie Trail.  As county park board liaison, Commissioner Robinson said the park board has talked about not allowing snowmobilers to use the trail’s grassy shoulders anymore.  He asked, “What if they don’t want these guys (snowmobile club groomers.) What then?”

Staff suggested the County Park Board will submit a written recommendation and the Board can meet with law enforcement for input on snowmobile offenders and action on grant funding could be on an agenda at a later date.

Commissioner Rick Greene noted the Board was only being asked to process all the state grant-in-aid paperwork. No actual distribution of funds to any club is needed right now.   Greene said, “There are trails all over the county” that stand to lose their funds if this one combined application isn’t acted on.  The Board approved the application for the Sno Drifters, Sno Bugs and Wild River snowmobile clubs’ grants.

~The commissioners set a  public hearing for June 6 at 7 p.m. in the Board room on a tax abatement agreement revision for Peterson Companies on Wyoming Trail.  Peterson Companies and MMP Co. LLC want to include tax abatement of $52,000 (or $13,000 annually for four years) to facilitate a new addition to their site at 8326 Wyoming Trail (most of the project is in Wyoming City, the parcel is split between Wyoming and Chisago City.)  

Wyoming City Council is slated to review  its share of the rest  of the abatement request May 15.  Wyoming is asked to agree to an estimated $80,000 abatement.

Peterson Companies have an existing tax abatement agreement from when the company rebuilt after a fire in 2011. The original agreement is for a maximum of $8,000 in redirected tax payments back to Peterson Companies annually.

 ~ Health and Human Services Director Nancy Dahlin spoke about the county’s newly-hired fiscal and operations manager and that the department is re-vamping efforts on some cases.  She said commissioners “may get calls” due to changes in collections procedures.   Detox debts are the priority right now, Dahlin added.

She also explained that IRS files and state HHS data are interfacing with local application information and notifications on how county applications align with other tax databases has been improved.

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