County considers private land sale to the reservationCarlton County Commissioners voted Tuesday to request the Minnesota State Legislature consider a modification to its proposed Omnibus Land Bill that would allow the county to conduct a private land sale with the Fond du Lac Reservation.
By: Wendy Johnson, Pine Journal
Carlton County Commissioners voted Tuesday to request the Minnesota State Legislature consider a modification to its proposed Omnibus Land Bill that would allow the county to conduct a private land sale with the Fond du Lac Reservation.
Land Commissioner Greg Bernu explained the bill currently under consideration in the legislature would allow for the public sale of county-held, tax-forfeited lands having more than 150 feet of shoreline along bodies of water. The bill failed to pass last year after it was combined with the Fish and Game Bill that was vetoed by Governor Tim Pawlenty.
The bill has been reintroduced in the legislature again this year, and the modification requested by the Carlton County Board would allow for certain lands meeting that description and located within the boundaries of the Fond du Lac Reservation to be offered as a private sale to the reservation. Bernu explained that the reservation is seeking to purchase as much of the land located within its boundaries as possible to sustain future growth. He estimated the county currently manages some 6,500 acres of land within the reservation, which spans some 30,000 acres in all.
Bernu said the sale of land to the reservation would help finance the purchase of lands elsewhere within the county that might be more desirable for the county’s purposes.
Commissioner Ted Pihlman asked if the reservation might consider some sort of land agreement that would allow the county to purchase additional reservation land along the airport for possible future expansion, but Bernu said much of that land is currently tied up in a title search. He did say reservation officials have indicated they might entertain the idea of a 99-year lease of that land to the county, unless or until the final heirs are located in order to clear the title for sale.
In addition, Commissioner Dick Brenner said he wants to make certain that if any county-managed land is ultimately sold to the reservation that the county retains access to its other land.
Bernu said he will come back to the board if and when the measure passes through the legislature with information regarding any subsequent land sales to the reservation.