Local Gov't Accountability Roundup: 9/20/11

BRAINERD: County Considers Eliminating Dysfunctional Human Rights Commission  The Crow Wing County Human Rights Commission hasn’t been able to muster a quorum since June. The commission has been the subject of controversy for much longer. So the county board has voted to hold a public hearing on October 11th to gauge whether the public thinks the commission should be abolished once and for all. Stay tuned.

WILLMAR: Woman Pleads Guilty to Welfare Fraud  A 36 year old woman pleaded guilty to felony charges related to wrongfully claiming welfare and public housing assistance. She agreed to pay restitution of more than $20,000 and will be sentenced in November. Her husband has pleaded guilty to a felony charge of forgery for using a false name and will appear in court in October.

BEMIDJI: Costly New Rental Ordinance up for Discussion New fees and requirements on rental property proposed earlier this summer were so controversial the city council went back to the drawing board. Round two starts next with a city council discussion Monday of revised new regulations and fees. There would be a first-time registration fee of $500 with an additional annual fee of from $100-300 depending on the size of the property. Inspections would be stepped up, along with other changes bound to create controversy.

GRANITE FALLS: City Gets $660,000 Surprise Check FromTaxpayers The unexpected call came in from the DNR. The city of Granite Falls would receive $660,000 in additional funding for flood mitigation because a watershed district that was supposed to spend the money failed to meet its timeline. The city still expects to receive the full $2.4 million requested earlier this year in the $50 million state bonding bill earlier this year. The funds will go to relocating two businesses, a residence and levee building.

CALEDONIA: Houston County Board Hikes Airport Fees The county board decided earlier this year the county airport should be financially self-sustaining. Commissioners voted to increase the rent for hangar space by an average of $160. A newly formed group of aviators is working to finalize the details and help pay their own way.


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