Koochiching County officials were given the green light this week to seek counsel for quiet title action against a tax-forfeited property.
The Koochiching County Board Tuesday agreed to hire attorney Ron Bowman for quiet title action on the former Koochiching Freshwater Fisheries, a building located in the International Falls Business Park.
An action to quiet title is a lawsuit brought in a court having jurisdiction over property disputes, in order to establish a party's title to real property, or personal property having a title, of against anyone and everyone, and thus "quiet" any challenges or claims to the title.
Koochiching County Land Commissioner Nathan Heibel said the property went tax-forfeit in 2014.
“There's been an issue with a clouded title on that property,” he said. “We offered the property up for sale on our tax-forfeited land auction in October of 2017... we didn't have any bidders on it.”
Now, Heibel said county officials want to enter into quiet title action to gain a marketable title to the property.
County Attorney Jeff Naglosky said problems with the property will continue to be an issue until the title is cleaned up.
“Bowman is in the best position to help us with the quiet title action,” he said. “If it is uncontested, he thought it would be in the neighborhood of a $3,000-$4,000 legal bill... for what we're requesting, this is a bargain.”
Naglosky said if it is contested, he would work with Bowman on options and ways to keep legal costs down.
In related news, the council approved tax-forfeited parcel clean-up of seven properties throughout the county.
Heibel said all the properties have different clean-up needs, but highlighted the old school in Big Falls and the potential for the project to be extensive.
“That one is going to be a real challenge,” he said. “I'm assuming there is asbestos in it, its full of old buckets of stain... I don't know how we're going to go about doing it.”
A Minnesota Pollution Control Agency official is expected to visit the site in the near future to determine options.
“It's going to be a multi-step, slow process,” he said. “We're hoping to at least get the outside cleaned up (soon).”
In other news Tuesday, the board accepted low bids from area trappers to trap nuisance beavers around Koochiching County.
Bids were awarded to:
- Area No. 1 – Ralph Hall, $48.50 per beaver
- Area No. 2 – Jerry Palm, $48 per beaver
- Area No. 3 – Ken and Adam Miles, $58.50 per beaver
- Area No. 4 – Ken and Adam Miles, $62 per beaver
- Area No. 5 – Joshua Anderson, $69 per beaver
Trent Nicholson, who is serving as the temporary highway engineer, said there is a lot of nuisance beavers and with fur prices as low as they are, people aren't pursing them for recreational purposes.
“We only pay out if we disburse them... they need authorization first," Nicholson said. “We require (the trappers) to bring the tail in."
Board Chairperson Brian McBride asked if coordination from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is required.
“Prior to bidding, we require (trappers) to have a signature from the local conservation officer saying they are capable trapping the beaver,” Nicholson said. “After getting awarded the bid, they will go get a nuisance beaver trapping permit.”
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources website said, "A beaver in the wrong place is a nuisance... Wherever they have become too numerous, they cause problems for people. Their dams flood farmlands, roads and timber."
“We've got too much of a problem,” Nicholson said.
The range in price per beaver stems from interest and how willing the trappers are to travel to the area in need of controlling. Area No. 1 and No. 2 are more heavily populated and generates the most interest, which drives the price down.