County briefs: County will work with Stillwater to try to acquire Aiple property

The Washington County Board of Commissioners agreed Jan. 14 to work with the city of Stillwater to acquire land along the St. Croix River, using voter-approved Land and Water Legacy Program bond funds.

Any potential purchase is contingent upon agreeing on a price with the landowner.

The parcel under discussion is the 15-acre Aiple Property, along the St. Croix River in Stillwater. In the summer of 2012, Elayne Aiple informed the county that she was interested in selling her property to the public to preserve as open space. The property includes approximately 3,500 feet of St. Croix River shoreline.

The city of Stillwater has agreed to own and manage the property as a public park. The county will purchase the property and subsequently convey the land to the city. The city will pay the county the purchase price, minus the amount of the county’s contribution and minus any grant funds the county secures for the purchase.

Prior to conveying the property to the city, the county shall record a conservation easement over the property, and the city shall prepare a concept plan for the recreational use and the natural resource management of the property.

The county is not obligated to complete the purchase of the property if the county is unable to reach a purchase agreement with the landowner at a value acceptable to the county and the city, if the county is unable to secure state grant funds, or if the city is unable to secure the additional funds needed.

The city of Stillwater approved the agreement at its council’s meeting Jan. 7.

Land for groundwater protection

The Washington County Board of Commissioners approved an agreement Jan. 14 with Stillwater Township to work together to acquire interests in land owned by William McDonald for groundwater protection.

The county would use funds from the voter-approved Land and Water Legacy Program. This land is part of the Land and Water Legacy Program’s top 10 priority conservation areas and would be secured to protect groundwater, one of the main goals of
the program.

Washington County’s interests include a conservation easement over approximately 108 acres and fee title to 4.5 acres. Subsequent to the purchase, the county would convey the fee title to Stillwater Township, at no cost to the township, to manage as a public park.

The county is not obligated to complete this purchase and convey the land to the township if the county is unable to reach a purchase agreement with the landowner.

County agrees accepts grants for preparedness

The Washington County Board of Commissioners agreed Jan. 14 to accept grants for the sheriff’s office that will support public safety preparedness programs in the county.

The agreement is with the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, to receive funding through the Department of Homeland Security, Urban Area Security Initiative Grant Program.

The $220,000 grant will be used for:

• Chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and high yield explosives preparedness, which will fund the purchase of a deployable remote video surveillance trailer.

• Interoperable communications, which will fund the mandated reprogramming costs for the 800 MHz radios throughout Washington County.

• Strengthening planning, which will provide funding to include a public education campaign and promotional materials, training, seminars, grant-required exercises and management of the grant.

• Public notification, which will fund a public outreach campaign with the capability to notify and alert a larger, diverse population.

• Emergency center operations center, which will provide for sustaining, maintaining and enhancing incident management resources, emergency operations center equipment, communication equipment and more.

Contract approved with dispatchers, jail workers

The Washington County Board of Commissioners approved a labor contract Jan. 14 with county employees who provide dispatching services and work in the county jail and who are represented by the Minnesota Public Employees Association.

The provisions of the contract are:

• A two-year contract effective Jan. 1, 2014, through Dec. 31, 2015.

• A 2.5 percent general raise effective Jan. 1, 2014, and a 2.5 percent general raise effective Jan. 1, 2015.

• For 2014 and 2015, employees below the maximum of the salary range shall be eligible for a 3 percent increase not to exceed the salary range maximum on their classification date.

• A 10-cent-per-hour increase to night shift differential.

• A decrease in the 911 dispatcher clothing allowance from $530 per year to $450 per year and an increase in correctional officers’ clothing allowance from $530 per year to $600 per year.

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