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Beltrami County Board: Logging appeal recommendations slated to be heard

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A Beltrami County logger's appeal of an order that the firm not log on county property for a year will be considered Tuesday by the Beltramik County Board.

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Loren Loch Logging Inc. made its case Oct. 19 before the board of Land Commissioner Greg Snyder's ruling to suspend the firm's permit to log on county lands for a year. The board directed County Administrator Tony Murphy to review the facts and make recommendations to the board.

Snyder's decision was to remove the firm from the county's Responsible Operators List, from which loggers must be on in order to bid for county timber work.

The board will hear those recommendations when it meets Tuesday for its regular meeting at 5 p.m. in the County Administration Building.

"The county administrator will share the results of his investigation and will provide findings/recommendations for the County Board to consider," according to a memo to commissioners.

Snyder based his decision on the company's work on a county timber sale in the rain, which was a violation of the firm's contract with the county and which resulted in extensive damage to the timber sale haul road.

Snyder said Loch refused to pay to repair the road, nor for timber left standing that wasn't harvested.

"Review of Loren Loch Logging's performance shows repeated violations of their logging contracts and an unwillingness to take direction from the timber sale administrator," Snyder said.

Brandon Loch of Loren Loch Logging told commissioners on Oct. 19 that the firm had always followed county regulations and alleged that the County Natural Resource Management Department showed favoritism in working with loggers.

"We think we are responsible loggers," Loch said. "It's a family business and we've been doing it for years."

A motion to rescind the penalty against Loren Loch Logging failed on a 3-2 vote, and Murphy was directed to conduct an investigation.

Also Tuesday, commissioners will be asked to consider a resolution setting a 2011 market price for municipal solid waste.

The new market price of $37.92 per ton is higher than the current $34.75 per ton. The market price will be used to set the tax rate for solid waste, a figure which wasn't discussed in agenda materials.

The board's 3 p.m. work session will again go over 2011 county department budget proposals. On tap Tuesday are County Highway Department, Health and Human Services, GIS/Mapping Department, County Sheriff's Department and county jail budget.

The board's consent agenda includes county bills and warrant payment listing, approval of county defender contracts, approval of an agreement to provide computer services to Mahnomen County, and approval of a Beltrami Electric Cooperative easement request in Eckles Township.

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