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Updated communications ordinance adopted for Beltrami County

BEMIDJI—A new version of an ordinance related to funding for emergency communications was adopted by the Beltrami County Board of Commissioners Tuesday, March 6.

Following a public hearing at its regular meeting, the commissioners passed a resolution approving the new ordinance, which expands options for appropriating 911 technology funds. Previously, the ordinance limited the county's special assessment fund to be used on towers, repeaters and equipment within the 911 center.

However, with the new ordinance, the fund can now be used to provide maintenance and upgrades to the entire emergency communications infrastructure, with all types of technology included. County Sheriff Phil Hodapp, County Administrator Kay Mack and the Geographical Information Systems Department provided input for the new ordinance, which also eliminates redundant language and is shorter than its predecessor.

Another ordinance discussed during the board's work session before its regular meeting Tuesday was related to allowing use of ATVs on county gravel roads.

County Engineer Bruce Hasbargen said the Highway Department has received requests from ATV clubs in the Kelliher and Blackduck areas to allow this as a way to designate certain roads as part of their trail systems. According to Hasbargen, Minnesota statute gives counties the authority to create ordinances allowing operation of ATVs on road right-of-way shoulders if operation in the ditch or on slopes is impossible.

In addition to gravel roads, the new ordinance would allow ATV use on two sections of County State Aid Highway 39, which is paved. ATV clubs could also apply for a corridor access permit to allow ATVs on other paved county roads.

The commissioners scheduled a public hearing on the ordinance for April 3 by passing their consent agenda.

Blackduck's park

The board was also presented with a request from the city of Blackduck Tuesday to increase the funding the county provides for operating the Pine Tree Park. The park was established as a state park in 1947 and then transferred to the county in 1972.

In 1997, by way of a joint powers agreement, the county transferred ownership of the park to Blackduck with a commitment from the county to help pay operational costs on a yearly basis. Currently, the county is paying $7,000 a year to help with expenditures.

The board approved increasing the amount to $10,000 Tuesday through a unanimous vote during its regular meeting.

Matthew Liedke

Matthew Liedke is the city, county and state government reporter for the Bemidji Pioneer. He also covers business, politics and financial news.

(218) 333-9791
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