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Tax-forfeited properties in Summit Hills set for public sale
MARCH 12, 2012

By Kristen Miller
News Editor

MEEKER COUNTY, MN – Meeker County Board of Commissioners Tuesday discussed the tax-forfeited parcels in Summit Hills and set the public sale of the land for Tuesday, April 24.

Auditor Barb Loch explained the three steps that were taken.

The first step was granting the city of Dassel six parcels of land to be used for park land at no charge. These properties are located on the south side of Hilltop Drive.

The next step was classifying two out lots as conservation property for Dassel to purchase for $1, to be used for storm water management.

The final step was setting the date for public sale of the 82 parcels for 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, April 24 in the Meeker County Board room (level 4). The price has been set at $397,400, plus additional standard fees for tax-forfeited property, Loch explained.

Benoit addresses EDA refinancing

At the end of the meeting, Commissioner Tim Benoit (District 3) read a statement to the board regarding action taken at a special Meeker County EDA meeting Feb. 21 for refinancing bonds currently held by Center Bank in Litchfield.

He said that he came across two bids, one from Northland Securities, “a highly respected provider of public financing services” in Minneapolis, and one by Center Bank.

“Northland offered a fully- loaded cost of 3.63 percent and carried callable features to pay off early. The awarded Center Bank bid is variable rate and approximately 3.93 percent,” Benoit’s letter read.

He continued by stating that going with Northland Securities would have saved taxpayers “$1.2 million over the remaining life of the bonds.”

Benoit then asked the commissioners serving on the EDA Board, Roney Kutzke (District 5) and Dave Gabrielson (District 2), for an explanation “as to how the EDA’s actions are the best and highest use of taxpayer dollars.”

Following the meeting, the newspaper contacted Suzanne Hedtke, EDA executive director. She said that Center Bank was chosen because there was no penalty to pre-pay and refinance was possible if rates go down again. Northland Securities, however, had an eight-year callback and could not be prepaid in that time, she said. The difference between the two was $30,000, she said, adding that the EDA also wanted the money to go to a local bank, where it could be turned around to further economic development in Meeker County.

The next meeting, which was scheduled for March 15, has been canceled due to a lack of board members able to attend.

The discussion will be brought to the EDA committee at its next meeting, Thursday, May 17 at 5:30 p.m. at the Meeker County Courthouse Community Room A.

Odds and ends

In other business, the board:

• approved hiring PFM (Public Finance Management) to look into refinancing of the 2006 general obligation highway capital improvement bonds. Bids will be brought back to the board for consideration at its Tuesday, April 3 meeting.

• approved the purchase of additional radios with remaining grant money for the county’s ARMER communication project.

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