FERGUS FALLS -- Otter Tail County commissioners, on Oct. 22, convened a public meeting for the proposed reestablishment of an existing feedlot near Highway 51, north of Perham.

Commissioners, on behalf of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), provided a local forum for the public to express their opinions regarding the project.

The MPCA is responsible for issuing a permit for the feedlot. Minutes from the meeting were forwarded to the MPCA office in Detroit Lakes.

Those who are proposing the reestablishment of the existing feedlot stated that neighbors within 5,000 feet of the project had been notified about the public hearing by mail. A public notice also was posted in two separate newspapers.

A neighbor who lives about 1 mile from the feedlot said he believes this will be a great benefit to his farm and would like to see the facility reestablished.

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County Board Chairman Doug Huebsch of Perham said that animal agriculture is very important to the local economy in Otter Tail County.

After review, the MPCA will put this request on public notice for 30 days and the MPCA must respond to public comments.

Ditch redetermination of benefits decision tabled

A motion to accept the amended viewers report concerning redetermination of benefits for Ditch 52 in Eagle Lake Township, south of Battle Lake, was tabled by county board members on Oct. 22.

Ditch viewers showed a benefit to area landowners of $747,672, down from the initial benefit of $1,219,627 in March 2019.

Property owners expressed concerns that Eagle, Torgerson and Middle lakes are not being assessed as part of the redetermination. County Ditch Inspector Kevin Fellbaum reviewed the decision not to include the three lakes in the redetermination area and provided details of that decision.

A related issue is water draining into Jolly Ann Lake, to the southwest, and maintaining the water level on Jolly Ann. This lake is in Eagle Lake Township and also in St. Olaf Township.

County Attorney Michelle Eldien said if county commissioners choose to disagree with the ditch viewers, they are required to provide specific findings as to why they find the outcome inappropriate. She added that Minnesota statutes must be taken into consideration.

Succession plan announced

County Administrator John Dinsmore will retire on Jan. 31.

To that end, county commissioners will develop a county administrator and deputy administrator structure and proceed with internal promotion of previous county administrator finalists.

“The upcoming retirement of the current county administrator will enable the county to reevaluate the current administrator’s essential functions and delegating the primary duties,” Chairman Huebsch said.

This decision of the county commissioners reflects the discussion from the 2017 appointment process which resulted in Dinsmore taking over from the retiring Larry Krohn.

John Dinsmore
John Dinsmore