Weather Forecast


Beltrami County administrator vacancy discussed

BEMIDJI - The search to replace Tony Murphy as Beltrami County administrator will begin with a job posting scheduled to hit the Web after Independence Day.

Dave Unmacht, director of Springsted's Organizational Management and Human Resources Group, spoke to Beltrami County commissioners Tuesday night, asking the County Board to approve a position profile and give support to moving forward with the hiring process.

Upon Unmacht's request to release a job posting on July 9, the County Board agreed to extend the position's start date to the first week of November, keeping Interim Administrator Kim Mack in the position for now.

"People don't necessarily look for work over the vacations or holidays," Unmacht said. "If I had a preference it's to wait. If you are not in a hurry and things are stable and you have time, then don't interact or have any conflicts with July 4."

Commissioner Jack Frost asked Unmacht if the salary range of the position, which is between $83,636 and $104,561, would be enough to attract a qualified candidate.

"I think you are going to have some trouble," Unmacht said. "However, I wouldn't change it because it is what your system has today."

He said the job description should remain the same until they have a better idea on what the candidate pool will look like.

Aerial Photography

The county board approved a motion to enter a partnership with the state to acquire high resolution aerial photography of the county, a project that is estimated to cost the county $69,168.

Geographical Information Systems Division Director Jane Mueller presented the recommendation, which involves acquiring one-foot high-resolution photographs of the county, providing much clearer images of the ground.

Beltrami County Assessor Dwayne Ebbighausen said the images are something he would use on a regular basis because the current images do not allow for much zoom because they become too blurry to identify.

Jim Lucachick was the only commissioner to vote against the motion to allow the partnership, arguing that the money could be spent in a more needed area.

"I just always wrestle with these kinds of things because, yup, we need the next toy and the next toy," Lucachick said. "But somewhere you need to stop. I struggle with it because it is spending money on niceties, although a lot of folks would argue that it's not niceties, its necessities."

The motion to create the partnership did carry 3-1. The flyover photo process is set to take place in the spring of 2014.

Wilton Land Exchange

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Area Forest Supervisor Greg Nelson spoke to commissioners at their work meeting, updating them on the Wilton Land Exchange between the state and Beltrami County.

The land exchange proposal has been an ongoing issue since 2007. The original proposal was to allow the county to take ownership of the former Larsmout State Forest Recreation Area, stopping the expansion of a gravel mining operation on the state-owned land.

Nelson said a tentative agreement has been made that could be finalized by the end of June.

Under the agreement, 233 acres of land would go to the state and 537 acres would go to Beltrami County. The appraisals that were done in 2008 are still valid, which would speed up the process if the agreement is finalized.

Nelson said the next step would be an approval of the exchange from the Land Exchange Board in either September or December.

"We are hoping by the end of the year we can sit down and make sure everything is still in place as it was agreed to and move forward with the land exchange," Nelson said.