Letter to the Editor
To the Editor:
When I went on the board there was a question, should Wadena County be absorbed into larger surrounding counties? My answer was that if we knew that in 20 years we would still have among the highest tax rates, and more importantly have high poverty rates and all the issues that go with that statistic, it would be something to consider.
So for now we continue efforts to hold the levy down, as we have been able to do for the last few years. The legislature has increased some funding which should help, but I believe the costs/consequences related to that money will exceed any temporary benefit. And I believe that the next regular legislative session will bring more of both.
Real growth is the one thing we can do to change the future.
The abatement committee will bring forth a recommendation for a countywide abatement to encourage single, twin, and ADU homes in the near future. We also hope to have a policy encouraging small business and commercial development. Any policies or abatements efforts need to be spread around the entire county.
A committee has been formed and will start to meet shortly re-examining current zoning laws which have been in place for 40 plus years. We recently changed one thing that triggers a septic inspection. Adding or deleting a spouse from a land title will no longer trigger a septic inspection.
Current laws have a goal to discourage non-farm growth and protect forest lands. We certainly need to protect the right to farm in the county, and other natural resources, but it seems to me we should be able to, at the same time, be pro-growth. A good thing related to farming, in current law is that farmers, as business people, have the ability to do what they feel they need to do to maintain profitability. That should apply to all businesses asking for a CUP variance.
Our road improvements continue to be aggressive. Many current projects are getting done this summer. Our engineer has posted a five-year plan for paving and gravel online. Most expensive projects are done with state grants and having planned, shovel-ready plans is a benefit in getting funding. The funds to replace the bridge on #23 in Shell River Township will cover 90% of the cost.
The 2024 valuations were a big issue across Minnesota, due to the dramatic increases in what people paid for property in ‘22 and ‘23. The board granted decreases of around $13M to three jurisdictions. And even after the state came back with $7M of increases on land valuations in three townships.
My number is in the phone book.
District 4 Commissioner