NEW ULM - Brown County commissioners approved a resolution Tuesday for cancellation of forfeiture on Lot 1 of the Marktplatz Mall and George's Ballroom.
According to the Request for Board Action (RBA), the Brown County Auditor-Treasurer (A-T) filed a Certificate of Forfeiture with the County Recorder on Wednesday, May 30, 2012. The next day, Randy Danielson came into the A-T office and paid $61,292.08 in delinquent taxes by bank money order.
Current year taxes remain due at this time. Danielson indicated he believed the due date was May 30 and that a 60-day time frame from the service of notice had not expired, according to state statute, the RBA read.
The A-T office believes the financial obligation to the county through 2011 has been satisfied. The county is not interested in owning and managing a mall, due to the time investment and financial obligations, according to the RBA.
It is in the best interest of the county to request the Minnesota Department of Revenue to approve the forfeiture cancellation and return the property to private ownership, according to the RBA.
Brown County Attorney Bob Hinnenthal said state laws allow taxpayers extensive ways to avoid foreclosure.
"I see no problem with the resolution," he said.
Commissioners unanimously denied a $1,090.08 current year late payment of tax penalty abatement for the Super 8 property, 1901 S. Broadway. Allowable abatements at the discretion of the A-T office are limited to clerical errors, hardship not related to financial hardship, and one-time penalty and interest abatements for taxpayers with an extended history of making timely payments, according to the RBA.
Shree Balaji LLC requested penalty abatement consideration. The A-T office believes the request does not meet abatement criteria but the county board can abate penalties at its discretion.
The property was transferred Feb. 29, 2012. Taxes were due May 15. The property owner was sent a reminder at the end of May and called the A-T office on June 12, asking for abatement consideration.
"When a someone buys property, they need to do so with their eyes wide open," said Commissioner Dick Seeboth. "Taxes are due twice a year."
"If we abate this, we should abate everyone else who paid taxes late," said commissioner Andy Lochner. "We should treat all taxpayers the same."
Commissioners denied a grievance appeal by Local 98 by business agent Len McFarland, Stephanie Sorensen, and Christine Rath.
According to a letter dated May 25, 2012 to Brown County commissioners from McFarland, Sgt. Sorensen and Correctional Officer Rath failed to receive back pay at increased rates according to the current collective bargaining agreement, from Jan. 1 through Feb. 29, 2012, the day both left county employment, according to the RBA. A written response to the appeal is due to the union by July 4.
In other action, commissioners:
Approved a contract agreement among Brown County, the South Central Minnesota Regional Radio Board and the State of Minnesota for design, procurement, construction and operation of an 800 MHz County/Regional Integrated Public Safety Radio Communication Subsystem.
Recognized Brown County IT staffer Nate Beran for receiving the Minnesota Counties Computer Cooperative (MCCC) Outstanding Technical Service Award.
Approved purchasing a $60,548.50 Ford El Dorado Aerotech bus for Heartland Express. The bus was recommended by both county highway department mechanics and was just $800 more than the low bid. The county pays $12,109.70 of the cost. The remaining $48,438.80 is reimbursed by the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT).
Reduced the property value of a 91-year-old, 1 1/2- story, brick building at 19 Broadway St., Hanska from $19,600 to $11,200. A resolution to reduce the value to $13,200 failed.
The property was purchased by Hanska Farmers Co-op of Hanska on May 24, 2012. The firm plans to demolish the building that contains three apartments but has mold and other problems.
(Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org).