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Beltrami County Board allocates tax forfeit funds

By Molly Miron

Special to the Pioneer

BEMIDJI – Each year, the Beltrami County Board members must approve the distribution of income from tax forfeited land owned by the county.

This week, the County Board unanimously voted on the division of an estimated $450,000 earned this year from county land sales and logging. Richard Moore, Natural Resource Management director, said $180,000 of the total came from land sales.

Moore recommended the proportions of the income that should go to various projects and entities in 2013.

Moore simplified the apportionment percentages by listing how much of each $100 of generated net revenue be applied to each division:

– $20 to county development

– $10 to timber development

– $14 to acquisition and maintenance of county parks or recreational areas

– $22.40 to the county

– $11.20 to townships or cities in which the income occurs

– $22.40 to school districts in which the income occurs

Of the remainder:

– $60 to county parks

– $20 to reforestation (site preparation, seedlings, planting, protection)

– $20 towns

Moore said Beltrami County owns 147,000 acres of tax forfeited land.

“We got most of it through tax forfeiture back in the Depression times,” he said. “Most of it came in the early 20th century.”

Some of the land was logged in the early days of the last century and abandoned by timber companies after the trees were harvested, he said. And some is from farms that went out of production.

Landowners who fail to pay their taxes have seven years to clear the books and redeem their property. The newly appointed Treasurer-Auditor JoDee Treat will send letters to notify landowners in arrears.

Moore develops the logging plan by cruising the woods and indicating sites with timber most in need of harvest because of age or insect infestations.

The resolution of apportionment for the tax forfeited land income directs the County Board to use the proceeds for promotion of tourist, agriculture and industrial developments. The major parks benefiting from the income are Three Island Park and Movil Maze. The townships use their share to maintain roads that are used to haul timber.