OTC Community Development Agency to have full authority in 2024

By Tom Hintgen

Otter Tail County Correspondent

The County Board of Commissioners was briefed in mid-August by representatives of the Minnesota Inter-County Association (MICA), of which Otter Tail County is a member.

MICA Executive Director Matt Massman, Transportation Liaison Steven Novak and Health and Human Services Director Nancy Silesky of MICA provided a 2022 end-of-legislative-session briefing for the board. 

MICA staff reviewed the historic budget surplus of $9.3 billion that was mostly unallocated at the end of the 2022 state legislative session. 

Bills that did pass included broadband funding, which will directly benefit Otter Tail County, as well as mental health funding and frontline worker payments. Many omnibus items did not pass including increasing county program aid. 

Funding proposed in bills for transportation, local road improvement, bridge rehab and replacement, and wetland replacement did not pass. 

Relating to solid waste, the legislature did not pass an annual SCORE funding increase. SCORE refers to the Select Committee on Recycling and the Environment.

MICA will continue to reach out to the governor and legislators urging legislation that will serve Otter Tail County and the entire state.

CDA to have full authority in 2024

The county board, also in August, approved the granting of housing and redevelopment authority powers to the Otter Tail County Community Development Agency (CDA).  

A motion by Commissioner Wayne Johnson of Pelican Rapids and seconded by Commissioner Lee Rogness of Fergus Falls was unanimously carried to approve the Otter Tail County ordinance to dissolve the Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA) in and for Otter Tail County.

One year’s time is provided to give the CDA time to build the internal infrastructure and capacity and to assimilate a better understanding of the programs.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2024, once the HRA has dissolved, the CDA will have both housing and redevelopment authority powers and its economic development powers.

Also voting in support of the changeover were Commissioners Betty Murphy of Maine Township, Kurt Mortenson of rural Underwood and Dan Bucholz of rural Perham.