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County board updates

County board revisits gravel pit procedures

On May 27, the Lake County Board of Commissioners discussed changing its gravel pit policy to allow some private contractors to use gravel from county-owned sites.

“Currently we only allow our resources to be used for projects that are related to public ... infrastructure,” county administrator Matt Huddleston said.

In the past, former highway engineer Al Goodman would bring special private projects to the county board for approval. Huddleston said the board should consider making a policy that spells out exactly when, why and how non-county workers can buy gravel from the county and how those projects get approved. He said the county has some types of rock that aren’t available in the private sector and they want to make it accessible.

Commissioner Rick Goutermont said the county should make a comprehensive inventory of its gravel before venturing into selling the product. He also said he wanted to avoid what the county did in years past, which was selling gravel at rock bottom prices and subsequently taking away business from private pit owners.

“I think definitely we’re heading in the right direction,” Commissioner Brad Jones said.

The board and county officials will be gathering more information before they take any action.

Abatement meeting scheduled

The board will hold a public meeting on June 24 to field questions from constituents regarding a planned tax abatement, which will funnel money from almost 100 parcels of land to finance county broadband system improvements and debt payment. Senior financial

advisor Bruce Kimmel of Ehlers and Associates spoke to the board about the abatement.

He said a package of bond sales to refund currently held bonds will allow the county to get lower interest rates and save over $50,000 in the next five years.

“This is really a mechanism to get the cheapest interest rate and doesn’t have any impact on people,” he said.

The meeting will take place at 1 p.m. on June 24 at the Lake County Courthouse, 601 Third Ave., Two Harbors. It will be held in the chambers of the county board.

County seeks commission members

The county board is looking for members to join a commission charged with deciding where Minnesota’s Legacy Amendment dollars will be spent.

“We want to be at the table to push for what we think are good and important projects. We’ve got to remain active in it,” said Huddleston.

The Legacy Amendment was passed by voters in 2008. It allows for an increase in sales tax, with the funds going to various pots for distribution throughout the state. About $8.5 million of that money is designated for parks and trails outside the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area.

The board is hoping to get representatives from Lake County on the board to decide which grant applications receive that money. The Greater Minnesota Parks and Trails Commission will have two representatives from the Arrowhead, District 1. However, grant applications are filtered through a smaller, local group before they reach the GMPTC. The district planning committee, made up of all District 1 residents, gets the first look at grant applications and sends on its recommendations to the GMPTC.

For an application to join the DPC and more information on what it entails, visit or pick up an application in the News-Chronicle office. Applications must be submitted to and are due June 23.

LaReesa Sandretsky
LaReesa Sandretsky is a Two Harbors High School graduate and Duluth native who began working at the News-Chronicle in 2012 as a reporter. She took over as editor in 2014. She covers County Board, including the Lake County broadband project.
(218) 834-2141