County to receive compensation for damaged trees

WashCo_logoWashington County will be compensated for herbicide damage to trees at two county-owned sites after the Board of Commissioners agreed Tuesday to accept the funds.

The county will receive almost $33,700 after filing claim for trees damaged by the use of the herbicide Imprelis. The affected trees were at the Lake Elmo Park Reserve and the Historic Courthouse in Stillwater.

DuPont created Imprelis for professional use on residential, industrial and institutional lawns and golf courses as weed control. In mid-2011, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency received reports from Minnesota and other states that Imprelis might have damaged certain species of evergreen trees, particularly spruce and pine. Imprelis was pulled from the market after the EPA issued a stop-sale order in August 2011.

The agreements proposed by DuPont provide more than $7,600 compensation for damaged trees at the Lake Elmo park and almost $26,000 for damaged trees at the Historic Courthouse. By accepting DuPont’s offer, the county waives its right to file or participate in any lawsuit related to Imprelis, agrees to bring remaining disputes to arbitration and waives the right to a jury trial.

The proposed settlement will pay for replacing damaged trees at the two county-owned locations.

Board approves leasing county-owned property

Washington County will continue to lease county-owned property that includes a home in a county park and office space at the Historic Courthouse in Stillwater under agreements approved Tuesday by the Board of Commissioners.

The county agreed to extend a lease to a renter living in a Denmark Township home at a county park site. The lease runs through Dec. 31 and the tenant pays for utilities. The rental revenue supplements park operation funds.

When the county buys land for regional parks, homes on the land are typically leased until the park is developed.

The Youth Services Bureau and Valley Travel will continue leasing offices at the Historic Courthouse. YSB has leased offices at the Historic Courthouse since 2000 and Valley Tours leases a 306-square-foot office at the building since 1995. Both leases run through Dec. 31.

Historic Courthouse rental revenue is used for building operations. There were no changes to the courthouse rental rates from 2012.

Mental Health service pact OK’d

Washington County will continue working with a Duluth company that provides access to mental health treatment services at Willow Haven in Lake Elmo for uninsured county residents under an agreement approved Tuesday by the Board of Commissioners.

Rule 36 Limited Partnership of Duluth III oversees the facility that offers intensive residential treatment services and residential crisis stabilization services to uninsured patients authorized by the county.

Willow Haven offers provides two services under the contract. One is short-term stays of less than 90 days focusing on medically necessary treatment to stabilize mental illness symptoms, help patients learn new skills and connect with community resources. There are 12 beds available with this service

The second is a one-week crisis stay to assist patients with immediate psychiatric crises. There is one bed available with this service.

Fifty-eight clients were discharged through Willow Haven’s short-term program through November 2012. Another 30 patients were admitted to the crisis bed and 12 of those patients transitioned into the longer-term program. Both services prevent hospital stays and allow patients to return to independent living.

The county has budgeted $25,000 for the services for 2013 and 2014.

Commissioners approve 3-lot plat

A three-lot plat and development agreement for a Stillwater Township site was approved by the Washington County Board of Commissioners Tuesday.

The Belle View Ridge development is on almost 40 acres at a site northwest of St. Croix Trail North, (Minnesota Highway 95) and south of 95th Street North.

State law requires the county to approve plats in townships.

Board selects official publications

The Stillwater Gazette is one of Washington County’s designated 2013 publications named by the Board of Commissioners Tuesday.

The Gazette will publish the second publication of the county’s financial statement. Summary of proceedings, delinquent real estate notices and the first publication of the county financial statement will be published in Lillie Newspapers.

The board also designated the county’s website as the official publication for transportation projects.

State law requires certain notices about county business be published in local newspapers. County officials estimate it costs $30,000 to publish notices in the newspapers this year.