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County board extends lease on courthouse annex to end of 2008

Though the addition to the Becker County Courthouse is still slated to open next spring, the County Board has extended its lease on the Courthouse Annex through Dec. 31, 2008.

The county will continue to lease the 7,000-square-foot annex, adjacent to the Washing-ton Square Mall, under the same terms as the existing agreement, which was signed in October 2005 for a term of 26 months, at a rate of $7 per square foot.

The reason for the extension, according to County Administra-tor Brian Berg, is that the county will not be done with the courthouse remodeling project until near the end of 2008 -- at which time those departments in the annex will be moved over to the courthouse.

At its Tuesday, Sept. 25 meeting, the board also approved a cumulative list of change orders for the courthouse project, completed as of Sept. 25. The list of mechanical, electrical and construction change orders totals just over $68,000.

Berg reported to the board that all the underground lines are now in place in the alley behind the courthouse, and the concrete is scheduled to be poured next week. The alley should be reopened shortly thereafter.

In other business, the board:

• Approved an extension on the options for two homes to the south of the Berean Baptist Church property, which is the proposed site for the new courthouse parking lot. The extension, which runs through March 28, 2008, will cost the county an additional $1,000 per property ($2,000 total).

• Re-appointed Ellis Peter-son to another three-year term on the Cormorant Lakes Watershed District Board. Peterson is a retired teacher and has 28 years of experience as a campground/resort owner. This will be his third term on the board.

• Approved a request to hire four seasonal, part-time snowmobile trail groomer operators for the Becker County Parks and Recreation Department, at a cost of $12,350. Funding to maintain the county's 250 miles of snowmobile trails comes from a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Trails Assistance Grant.

• Approved a quote from Wayne A. Nelson, Inc., of $4,700, for a snowmobile trail improvement project in section 7 of Lake Park Township. The other quote submitted for the project, from Hough, Inc., was $5,660.

• Approved three tax abatement requests, totaling $274, for properties in Cormorant Maple Grove and Shell Lake townships.

• Approved a request from the Becker County Sheriff's Department to fill a vacancy in its secretarial staff, at a projected cost of $18.82 an hour for salary and related benefits.

• Approved a conditional use permit for Michael and Barbara Johnson to operate a motor vehicle service and repair business on their property in Detroit Town-ship, at 25674 Brandy Lake Rd. The property is zoned as agricultural.

• Approved a conditional use permit for Steve Halstensgaard to have a second dwelling -- a double-wide mobile home -- on his property in Erie Township. The mobile home will allow his elderly parents to live independently while still enabling him to keep an eye on them, according to the application.

• Approved a request from Keith Danks for a change of zone from agricultural to residential, and approval of a preliminary plat of four lots with conservation easement on his property in Round Lake Township.

• Approved the final plat for the Sunrise on Little Floyd multi-unit residential development, on Little Floyd Lake, based on the fact that it had met the criteria of the zoning ordinance and subdivision ordinance, and has met the stipulations placed upon the MURD.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454