Local Gov't Accountability Roundup: 9/23/11

CROOKSTON: City Sign Enforcers Consider Exceptions to Off-Premises Ban City officials will consider whether to allow exceptions to businesses and other entities that request permission to advertise their services with signs off-site of their location. The issue cropped up again when Crookston Cab Service, which has no central office, was ordered to remove an advertisement that was erected downtown. The Crookston Farmers Market also requested reconsideration for a sign to notify its location. If adopted, the new ordinance will permit a case-by-case determination based on whether the sign promotes the public health, safety or general welfare.

MILACA: City May Increase Tax Levy $2,000   City councilors passed a proposed levy increase of less than one-quarter of a percent for 2012. The increase will total about $2,000 and will go toward debt service. City officials announced no major changes in the budget and complimented the city manager for keeping a lid on spending. The city plans to continue closely monitor local government aid payments and budget conservatively due to the uncertainty associated with the program.

MOORHEAD: Homeowners in Flood Area Balk at County’s Buyout Offer  Clay County has offered to buy out 18 flood-prone properties in Moorhead and 13 others elsewhere in the county at 87.5 percent of the highest market value over the last three years. Some residents say they’re being low-balled compared to previous buy-outs locally and in other areas. County officials defend their offer as fair and prudent given current budget concerns. The state has spent $5 million for buyouts in Clay County already in 2011 with the stipulation the county provide up to $1 million in matching funds.

IVANHOE: Lincoln County Removes Objection to Feds Land Deal  County board finally okays the federal government's purchase of private land for public hunting in exchange for $35,000 in payments to offset lost tax revenues and other concessions.

PARK RAPIDS: County Auditor Suspended for “Disciplinary Matter” Hubbard County Auditor Pam Heeren was suspended without pay on Wednesday for an unspecified “disciplinary matter.” Several co-workers were stunned at the development, which was a last minute addition to the county board agenda. 

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