Doug Carlson and John Wright

Pine County Commissioners John Mikrot and Matt Ludwig hold up pictures of former commissioners Doug Carlson and John Wright that will be displayed in the North Pine Government Center in Sandstone. Commissioners Steve Hallan and Steve Chaffee look on as the photographs are shown during the Oct. 15 board meeting.

Pine County will be looking for a new property tax and computer aided mass appraisal system. At its meeting Oct. 15, the board of commissioners voted to opt out of the current contract.

The company with which the county had contracted has changed ownership several times, and though the county has paid $50,830 to the company toward the updated system, as well as $36,000 in project management fees, Kelly Schroeder, county auditor/treasurer reported that no progress has been made on the new system in six years despite many meetings to discuss what was needed.

“We need the tax system to talk to the assessing system,” said Commissioner Steve Hallan of Pine City.

 Hallan said, “The worst thing you want to have happen is to send out the wrong tax statements.”

Pine County has utilized the current software as a member of the Minnesota Counties Computer Cooperative (MnCCC), and most of the 26 counties had opted out, said Schroeder. Opting out means the county avoids paying an additional $288,037 for a software system that doesn’t function as required.

The cooperative has been going through a bidding process that will be completed in February of 2020. The board will wait to see what is recommended from that process before making a decision on a new software. Schroeder said the rollover takes 18-24 months, so the old system will still be used while new software is hoped to be in place by 2023.

Other business

The county denied a repurchase of tax-forfeited property application.

Schroeder said those applications are being reviewed on a case-by-case basis according to state statute on whether or not the repurchase is in the public’s interest and the forfeiture causes no undue hardship or injustice to remedy.

Probation Director Terry Fawcett introduced a new probation case aide, Justine Ward.

Administrator David Minke said the county is about the same as last year three-quarters into this year’s budget.

The county recently joined the Greater Minnesota Parks and Trails (GMPT) Council and Minnesota Rural Counties (MRC). Commissioners John Mikrot and Hallan were appointed as county representatives.

The county board will meet as a committee-of-the-whole at 1 p.m. on October 29 in the Pine City boardroom. Slated for discussion are Health and Human Services topics of transportation for MA clients, area transit, job training transitioning to Central Minnesota Jobs and Training Services, and the Assessor’s Office update.

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