County approves township road agreements

By Tom Hintgen

Otter Tail County Correspondent

A motion by County Commissioner Kurt Mortenson of rural Underwood and seconded by Commissioner Dan Bucholz of rural Perham was carried unanimously to authorize appropriate county officials’ signatures for the Emergency Management Performance Grant Contract Agreement.

This agreement between Otter Tail County and the Minnesota Department of Public Safety sustains and enhances countywide emergency/disaster preparedness efforts. This is an annual calendar-year grant that was extended.

Township road agreements

The County Board of Commissioners and County Attorney Michelle Eldien held a brief discussion about township line road agreements. 

“If there is a disagreement and no resolution between townships, the county board can be called upon to resolve a dispute,” Eldien said.

Pursuant to Minnesota Statutes, the county board of commissioners is designated as the government entity assigned to resolving a dispute. A township also has the right to request that the board’s decision be reviewed by mediation, arbitration or other dispute resolution.

MICA legislative priorities

The Minnesota Inter-County Association (MICA) requested feedback from Otter Tail County commissioners about the county’s legislative priorities for 2023. 

The county board reviewed legislative priorities established for 2022 and confirmed the importance of that legislation continuing to be moved forward. The legislature failed to act on numerous important county initiatives in the last session.

“We appreciate MICA’s continued work to achieve goal priorities through legislation,” said Otter Tail County Board Chairperson Betty Murphy of Maine Township.

Key issues include increasing county program aid, prioritizing transportation and bridge infrastructure, comprehensive support for mental health, affordable housing, adequate state funding for county corrections and funding improvements for solid waste. 

Spitzer Lake resolution

A motion earlier this month by County Commissioner Wayne Johnson of Pelican Rapids and seconded by Commissioner Lee Rogness of Fergus Falls was unanimously carried to authorize another 30-day No Wake Zone on Spitzer Lake, southeast of Battle Lake.

This action is due to the ongoing high-water emergency. County Sheriff Barry Fitzgibbons was authorized to contact the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for feedback. 

No Wake Zones are for temporary situations. Currently there is no known mitigation plan regarding Spitzer Lake.