County Notes 10/3/13

Board, Stillwater Township to work on land purchase

The Washington County Board of Commissioners agreed Tuesday to join Stillwater Township in an effort to buy several acres in the township in a preservation effort through the county’s Land and Water Legacy Program.
In Stillwater Township, the county would provide up to $84,000 from Land and Water Legacy bond proceeds as a portion of the cost to buy 17 acres of land owned by Central Bank at the intersection of Manning Avenue and Minnesota 96.
The county would retain an easement along Manning Avenue for trail and road projects and the township would retain fee title to the rest of the property, subject to a conservation easement for the county.
In a separate action Tuesday, commissioners re-affirmed setting aside 20 percent of any proceeds the sale of tax-forfeited land in the county for parkland.
State law requires the county to manage and dispose of of tax-forfeited land the County Board to approve the set-aside of sale proceeds. Financial implications for the county vary annually depending on the amount of sale proceeds from tax-forfeited land and maintenance costs.

Well-sealing program funds sought

Washington County will seek funds from the Board of Water and Soil Resources to continue the county’s well-sealing cost share assistance program.
The application seeks $25,000 with a $25,000 county match to continue a 100 percent well-sealing cost-share assistance program initially started with a Clean Water Fund grant. The grant covers three years and requires a 100 percent in-kind or cash match.
Residents with abandoned and unsealed wells in drinking water supply management or contaminated areas can apply to receive 100 percent cost-share reimbursement up to a certain amount. The 100 percent cost-share program is operated along with an existing 50 percent cost-share program open to other areas of the county.
The program has successfully sealed more than 15 wells in 2012 and 2013, and approximately 16 residents are on a waiting list, with another four or five expected to receive funds out of the 2012 grant before it is spent. The remaining applicants with wells ready to seal would be eligible for the new round of funds.
County officials hope an additional 25 wells in contaminated areas or near public water supplies would be sealed with the county successfully obtains the grant.

County receives program grant

The Washington County Board of Commissioners Tuesday accepted a $68,000 grant from the state for the County Attorney’s Office victim-witness program.
The money will be used to offset personnel costs of the county’s victim-witness coordinators.

Board reviews economic program

The Washington County Board of Commissioners sent a letter to their Ramsey County counterparts Tuesday expressing the board’s “excitement” regarding a grant application to the McKnight Foundation “Moving the Market” program to fund the East Metro Strong initiative.Commissioners have heard to presentations on the East Metro Strong program at past meetings. The program is envisioned as a public-private partnership positioning Washington, Ramsey and Dakota counties to maximize their economic development potential.
In the board’s letter, Chairwoman Lisa Weik writes: “The East Metro Strong initiative complements local initiatives that the County Board has begun and other regional partnerships the county currently supports. The County Board recently kicked off a study and planning process to identify additional opportunities and roles for the county as it relates to economic development. We are currently working with our cities, townships, schools and individuals within the business communities to develop options for the board to consider.”

Compiled by Erik Sandin – erik.sandin@ecm-inc.com

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