BY COUNCILOR GILBERT:
RESOLVED, that the board of commissioners of St. Louis County is hereby requested to withhold from sale for the public interest and to classify as conservation the following parcels from the county auditor’s list of properties which have been declared tax forfeited and title thereto vested in the state:
STATEMENT OF PURPOSE: This resolution requests the Saint Louis County Board of Commissioners classify as conservation certain parcels of tax forfeited land and to withhold those parcels from sale. These are parcels that were certified in December of 2005 as being forfeited due to the nonpayment of taxes. In total, 23 parcels of land forfeited in Duluth in 2005 and this resolution requests that only six parcels be classified conservation. The balance will be made available for sale in the future.
The Duluth city planning commission, at its June 13, 2006, meeting, reviewed a list of recommendations from its tax forfeited land subcommittee and those of the department of planning and development for the classification of tax forfeited lands. The commission voted to recommend this list to the city council and Saint Louis County Board of Commissioners and in doing so, they considered the goals of a successful classification process:
(a) To encourage the most economical and efficient use of the property for transportation, roads, water supply, drainage, sanitation, education and recreation;
(b) To reduce the city’s local government expenses;
(c) To conserve and develop Duluth’s natural resources;
(d) To encourage economic development in suitable areas.
The St. Louis County Board of Commissioners is required by Minnesota state statute to:
(a) Administer land returned to the state due to nonpayment of taxes; and
(b) Allow 60 days time for the approval or disapproval of the classification from the municipality in which those tax forfeited parcels exist. The municipality may recommend one of the following options:
(1) Nonconservation - category recommending that the land be sold according to procedure, which usually means auction to the highest bidder;
(2) Conservation - category recommending that the land be retained for an authorized public use.
These parcels have not generated tax revenues for five years and if this resolution is approved, the effect on the tax base will be that these six parcels will not generate property tax revenues in the future.