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Schachtner defeats Jarchow in special election

DOT agrees to pay $445,000 more for land

About three years after the first offer was made, St. Croix County has gotten another $445,000 for land the Wisconsin Department of Transportation took for Highway 64 work.

The DOT first offered $169,000, although it later paid $172,718. During mediation last month, county negotiators agreed to sell the 23 acres for $617,718.

Administrative Coordinator Chuck Whiting said that amounts to about $25,000 an acre, but the land is worth more than that now.

The land, near New Richmond, was part of the old county farm property.

In early 2004 an appraiser hired by the county said the $169,000 offered by the state was way too low. He said a fairer price would be more than $500,000 because, apart from taking 23 acres, the new highway would limit road and water access and reduce the value of the county's land north of the new highway.

The state took the 23 acres through eminent domain and paid its offering price. The county challenged the price in court.

Whiting said the matter was headed for trial when it was settled in mediation.

In related business at last week's County Board meeting, Finance Committee Chairman Stan Krueger reported that the committee has received another offer from a developer interested in buying 16.8 acres of county-owned land in New Richmond.

Whiting said this area is now separated from the rest of the county farm land by new Highway 64.

Krueger said this is the second time this man has made an offer on the land, but now the offer is higher.

Supervisor Esther Wentz, New Richmond, said the city of New Richmond is anxious for the county to do something with the land. She suggested the county "stand back and wait" to see what other owners are getting for their property.

In other business, the County Board confirmed the appointment of Charlotte Sortedahl as the county Public Health officer/Public Health coordinator. She replaces Barbara Nelson, who resigned.

Sortedahl, who has been a nurse for 18 years, holds a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from the University of Minnesota and expects to complete her Master of Science in public health next June.

She has worked in emergency rooms and hospitals and most recently as a school nurse.