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Meeker County officials to conduct meeting next month to talk about plan to increase some fees

LITCHFIELD -- A public hearing will be held next month on proposed increases to the 2010 fee schedule for some Meeker County services.

At their meeting this week, the Meeker County Commissioners agreed to set the hearing for 9 a.m. Feb. 2.

Most of the fees will stay the same, but commissioners are proposing a "tweak" to some existing fines, according to County Administrator Paul Virnig.

Most of the fee increases are in the planning and zoning department, which has seen "significantly less revenue" because of a decline in recording new plats, construction activity and building inspections.

The county has reduced staff and expenses in that department, Virnig said. Giving the fee schedule a slight bump will generate a small amount of additional revenue to meet expenses.

The proposal also includes establishing 16 new permit fees for overweight or over-sized vehicles and for utility, moving and access permits that will be issued by the county highway department.

The new fees will range from $25 for a basic single overweight vehicle permit, to $200 for an overweight vehicle permit in excess of 300,000 pounds.

Virnig said the new fee schedule will reflect the time county employees spend to provide the services.

All told, Virnig estimates the new fees will likely generate $2,000 to $3,000 in new revenue a year.

In other action:

- Commissioners ap-proved a revised wind power management ordinance that smooths out differences between the county and state regulations regarding the installation and operation of wind energy conversion systems of less than 25 megawatts.

- Commissioners were informed the public health department has conducted an effective flu vaccination program, targeting children and vulnerable adults initially. The vaccine will now be made available to the general public.

- Commissioners elected Wally Strand as 2010 chairman of the board and Dave Gabrielson as vice-chairman. Strand succeeds Commissioner Amy Wilde, who served as chairwoman in 2009.

Carolyn Lange

A reporter for 35 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.

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