Board approves appointment, lease agreements

           The appointment of a Lake Elmo resident to a Washington County advisory board and separate leases totaling more than $81,000 with farmers to use county-owned land and wiuth  the city of Stillwater for the county’s old Olive Street tower building were approved Tuesday by the Board of Commissioners.

Steve Moeller was appointed to the county’s WorkForce Investment Board for a term expiring June 130, 2014.

Required by state law, WorkForce Investment Board members are area residents representing business, organized labor and public agencies who oversee the county’s employment and training programs and designate administrative entities, grant recipients and program operators for the WorkForce service area.

Two farms submitted winning bids to lease undeveloped county parkland for agricultural use. David See Farms bud $238.75 per acre to lease Lake Elmo Park Reserve agricultural land for a total of $49,278.

Gordon Tank and Myron Tank bid $294 per acre, or $32,604.60, to lease St. Croix Bluffs Regional Park agricultural land.

Seventy percent of the combined revenue from agricultural land rentals goes into the Washington County Parks stewardship fund created for non-recreational revenue. Those funds are used for rental property expenses, natural resources restoration and development of park and trail master plans. The remaining revenue is used for “in-lieu-of-tax payments.

The ag land rental bids were almost $14,000 more that expected in 2013.

In the lease agreement with Stillwater, the city will pay $1 a year for a 20-year lease on the Olive Street Tower. The Stillwater Water Department has equipment at the tower site that operates an on-site well and water tank and the department wants to move that equipment inside the building.

The lease calls for Stillwater to maintain the building and assume all risks and liabilities.

The county and city had an agreement to have a radio tower and equipment building at the West Willard Street site since the 1960s.

In 2002, Qwest agreed to replace the old tower with a new tower for public safety radio systems and lease tower space to cell phone companies. Revenue generated from tower use was equally divided between the city and county.

However, the county’s move to an 800 MHZ communications system means the tower is no longer used for a public safety radio system. Sprint leases tower space for its cell phone system and the new county lease with the city has no impact on Sprint’s lease.