The Polk County Board of Commissioners met Tuesday morning at the Polk County Government Center after a little over a year of meeting online or at the Polk County Transfer Station.

Polk County engineer Richard Sanders suggested to the board the renaming of the Gentilly Bridge in honor of Bernie L. Lieder (pictured right). Sanders believed that with all Lieder had done for transportation over the years, the honor was deserving. “As many people know, Bernie L. Lieder passed away last year and was a Polk County engineer for a long time,” said Sanders. “To honor his legacy, we felt it only appropriate to name the Gentilly Bridge after him being that it was a project that he worked on and was a big part in.”

Lieder was a part of making the bridge back in 1977 as Polk County Engineer.
Lieder wasn’t only the county engineer, but he was a State Representative from 1984 to 2010. He also served in the U.S. Army and fought in World War II.
The bridge will officially be renamed on September 7, 2021, and a ceremony will be held on the bridge. “He was such a great person, a great engineer and great representative for the state of Minnesota and in honor of him will name the bridge after him and hopefully have a ceremony out on the bridge September 7,” said Sanders.

Assistant Environmental Services Administrator Jacob Snyder brought forth a variety of resolutions to the board of commissioners. One was a conditional use permit for Jeremy and Ashley Benson for an accessory structure that would put them over the 4,000 square feet maximum allowed on a parcel less than 10 acres in size.
The board approved a conditional use permit for Judy Magnuson for hooking a new septic system to a new accessory structure.
The board approved a conditional use permit for Joliette Ag Systems Inc., doing business as Hefty Seed to operate a farm-related seed sales business along Highway 2 east of East Grand Forks.
R.J. Zavoral & Sons Inc., and Anderson Brothers received an interim use permit to allow for a temporary asphalt batch plant and contractor yard.  

Polk County Administrator Chuck Whiting gave the commissioners good news with the Enbridge Property Tax Refund. “Well, it’s looking like there is going to be money in the state budget when they finally approve giving a grant out to Polk County and other surrounding counties,” said Whiting. “What the court is saying is that the evaluation of the State for Enbridge was too high, and now we owe back taxes to them because of that. The total Polk County has to pay back is just under 1.2 million. So we’re hopeful, and it’s looking like a grant would be able to cover that cost.”

Whiting also discussed the 2022 budget status, which is still on track, and gave a finance director position update. “We haven’t been able to secure a candidate yet to fill the position, and we’re using a consultant to help us in the search,” said Whiting. “The consultant has advised us to redo the job description and change the title, so that’s where we’re at now, and starting in August will start advertising again and see what we can find.”

Other items included a pair of public ditch hearings on County Ditch No. 14 and County Ditch No. 35 and considering the addition of property to the assessed area of both county ditches.

The Crookston Transfer Station site improvement project had four bids and the commissioners award the project to the low bidder, RJ Zavoral & Sons of East Grand Forks, in the amount of $516,276.

Lisa Loegering, Regional Director of University of Minnesota Extension, spoke on the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the University of Minnesota Extension and Polk County for providing extension programs locally and the employment of extension staff. Loegering went through the agreement and specified certain things that both sides would be responsible for within the agreement. The board approved the agreement for 2022 through 2024.

The next meeting will take place July 20, at 9:30 A.M. at the Polk County Government Center.

A look underneath the Gentilly Bridge