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County Board: Beltrami SWCD to ask for $25,000 to consolidate

The Beltrami Soil and Water Conservation District is asking for $25,000 in emergency funds to provide services to northwest Beltrami County.

"The Marshall-Beltrami SWCD will be closing its door at the end of March, leaving 479 Beltrami County landowners without access to technical assistance through a local SWCD, and without elected representation to participate in working for a better future," Jay Backstrom, chairman of the Beltrami SWCD, says in a memo to Beltrami County commissioners.

County commissioners will hear the Beltrami SWCD's request for $25,000 to transition the former Marshall-Beltrami SWCD work into its work during the board's regular meeting 5 p.m. Tuesday at the County Administration Building, 701 Minnesota Ave.

The Beltrami SWCD is itself transitioning into the county's Environmental Services Department, with the proposal calling for the elected SWCD board to become an advisory panel to the Beltrami County Board.

Backstrom said the agency is asking for an emergency grant request for funds from the county's Red Lake Game Fund. The monies "will ensure the Beltrami SWCD can remain a viable partner through these two very critical transitions which are envisioned to be completed before July 1," Backstrom said.

Funded would be two projects that Backstrom called critical. The first is the consolidation of Marshall-Beltrami SWCD duties to the Beltrami counterpart. The second is to allow the Beltrami SWCD "to assess the capacity and ability to be a functional partner to effectively consolidate the Marshall-Beltrami SWCD and continue providing conservation services to the area's affected Consolidated Conservation area landowners."

The grant request states that the effort "will be most successful if the ongoing effort to partner the Beltrami SWCD and the Beltrami County Environmental Services Department is successful."

Also during the board's 5 p.m. regular meeting, commissioners will designate $13.9 million of county reserves for specific purposes (mostly cash flow), consider contracts for a Beltrami Works pilot project, consider a $275 donation to the Bemidji Area Chamber of Commerce's Bemidji Day at the Capitol event, a Tamarac River dredging proposal and approval of a Board of Public Defense lease for space in the Courthouse Annex.

The County Board, at its 3 p.m. work session, will learn of the discontinuation of a southeast deputy program due to lack of state funding, hear a remonumentation plan for 2010, review County Park and Trail Advisory Council bylaws, and hear an update on adult mental health transportation.

Also, commissioners will hear a 2010 proposed parks and recreation proposed projects list. Among them are $5,000 for a historic marker at Rognlien County Park, $30,000 for a cross country ski bridge and $10,000 for a shelter at Three Island County Park and $14,000 to the Beltrami County Shooting Sport Park.

In total, $70,107 is requested for capital projects, with $3,000 for maintenance operations.

The commissioner's consent agenda includes county bills and warrant payment listing and approval of application and commitment to participate in the Minnesota Cities Participation Program for housing.

The County Highway Department requests a resolution to add a Shooks Township bridge over Cormorant River to the five-year Transportation Improvement Plan and approval of a U.S. Highway 71 South detour agreement with the state Department of Transportation.

Also, commissioners will be asked to approve a resolution for a grant application for the development of a Three Island County Park south trailhead at $30,000.

The consent agenda includes County Health and Human Services monthly reports and licensing, and approval of bills, plus approval of a Nursing Services Compliance Accepted Professional Standards and Principles Statement.