While beavers in children’s storybooks may be cute, they’re causing trouble on Lake Washington, building dams that are backing up Shanaska Creek.
But removing them isn’t so easy.
Destroying the dams doesn’t deter the beavers, said County Administrator Darrell Pettis, who added that the beavers return and quickly rebuild. The only way to get rid of the toothy creatures is to, well, get rid of them.
“It causes us problems, causes us damage,” he said. But perhaps the bigger problem is finding trappers to remove the beavers.
Years ago, county leaders set a $40 per beaver bounty, a fee which Pettis asked commissioners at their July 23 meeting to revisit.
Commissioners approved the payment of a $243 bill to remove several beavers — a charge that included mileage — but asked Pettis to investigate what other area counties are paying for removing beavers and return with a recommended rate for their consideration.
Commissioners unanimously approved bids for several road projects as follows:
• Road striping for 209 miles not being seal coated in 2013 at $132,951 to Sir Lines-A-Lot of Minneapolis
•Reconstruction of 1.5 miles of County Road 14 in Waterville at $1.43 million to Barnett Bros of Kilkenny. About $500,000 will come from a Department of Natural Resources grant.
• Seal coating of 85 miles throughout the county at $2.41 million to Pearson Bros of Hanover
• Repairs to Park Avenue in Le Center from Minnesota Street to Hwy. 99 and 3 1/2 miles of 360th Street in Sharon Township.
Pettis said that repairs to a sinkhole discovered July 15 on County Road 23 should begin soon. The hole was created after heavy rains washed away material under the road bed alongside large pipes that carry product from Unimin’s Ottawa plant. The company, he said, is expected to pay for a portion of the repair.
County land records aren’t just being updated, they’re being modernized, County GIS Coordinator Justin Lutterman told commissioners.
Currently he’s working on several projects, including the addition of a crop productivity index. The CPI will include information about tillable areas on agricultural parcels including land slope and soil types. Land will be appraised based on those calculations, he said.
He’s also creating a drainage ditch database, verifying their locations and their make up.
Tax statements are available online, though additional information can be obtained to those paying a $25 monthly subscription fee.
Lutterman reported that use of its online property information system, Beacon, is steadily increasing. The highest number of page views is in the spring and fall when property taxes are due.
He expects the site will surpass 80,000 hits in 2013. Last year it had about 53,600.
As the hits on the site increase, calls to the assessor’s office have decreased, Le Sueur County Assessor Dave Armstrong said, by at least 30 percent.
Reach Regional Managing Editor Suzanne Rook at 507-931-8567. Follow her on Twitter @rooksuzy