The  Martin County Board on Tuesday briefly discussed a possible location for a proposed Justice Center. The board approved a motion to write a letter to the County Auditor requesting four tax-forfeited parcels of land near the Fairmont liquor store at Center Creek Commons on Highway 15 be withheld from sale or lease for six months. The board heard from County Attorney Viesselman, who explained the process and language of briefly acquiring the property.

“The property we’re talking about is our No. 2 preferred site for the Justice Center and it’s been forfeited, so by statute the county can acquire the property free of charge,” he said. “To do that, we have to submit a letter to the County Auditor asking that the property be removed from being listed for sale. It would be removed for a period of six months and during that time we would proceed with getting a conveyance from the Minnesota Department of Revenue of the property to us.

The way we can do that to get it free of charge is that a Minnesota statute provides that if a governmental agency is going to put the property to a public use, than you can get it free of charge. If you put it to what’s called a public purpose then you have to pay fair market value for it.”

Viesselman went on to explain that “public use” means something that is open to the public while “public purpose” does not.

“The statute lists what would be public uses, and the one category that applies for us is for a public service facility and one example of that is a police station or administrative offices,” Viesselman said. “So if we do the Justice Center, some administrative offices will be there, but clearly if we even limit it to the lesser model of a jail, the police station will be out there too and I think a jail alone qualifies as a public service facility too.”

If the county is able to acquire the property for the six months listed, it will be responsible for maintenance and care. Should the county decide not to move forward with the land acquisition, it would revert to forfeiture.

Commissioners also approved conveyance of certain non-conservation land parcels from Martin County forfeited land listing to the City of Trimont for blight removal,economic development and public auction.

Bill Fahey, Northland Securities and Financial Consultant for Martin County presented the plan for providing for the issuance and sale of approximately $1,940,000 General Obligation Courthouse Bonds which was approved by the board. Also approved was a Municipal Advisory Service Agreement between Martin County and Northland Securities.Inc. In the amount of $16,995 dollars.

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