By Randy Neumann, Todd County commissioner

Well, I made a mistake in my June update when I listed our county road construction on District 5 County Road 47. It is not in West Union Township; it is in Grey Eagle Township on the east side of big Birch Lake. And speaking of road construction, we want to thank Gordon Township for getting 141st Avenue back to blacktop as it was from the late 1970s.

Now let me tell you how my adventure went for my new driver’s license. I went online to find out what information I needed. Once I got the list, my wife and I started gathering the information to take over and get my new enhanced license. Here is what I had. My original birth certificate from Douglas County Hospital, property taxes, income taxes, property Insurance policy, Osakis High School diploma, and, of course, my close to expired driver’s license. Well, I go to the Recorder’s Office and lay out all my documents. First, I am told that my birth certificate is NOT accepted by the state even with my little footprints and my mom’s thumb prints. I am told I need to pay for a new one from the state that will be $26, please. Next was my Social Security Number, thinking that our federal and state income tax has that on a number of pages, it would be a piece of cake. Wrong! Not looking at the year, I took in our 2017 taxes and must have the 2018 ones, and oh by the way, you need your original Social Security Card. So I was told to go find that. After looking through all our papers, I realized that it must be in our safety deposit box. So I went to the bank with the safety deposit key in hand and had a nice lady get our box out. I opened it and there it was, my original card! So the next morning, I headed back to Long Prairie with my card in hand and all my other documents. Yup, it looks like you have all the information that we need and we can process your license. Please stand over there for your photo while we will double-check everything, and we need $40.25 payment, please. Here is your paperwork until your new license shows up. The timeline for all of this was July 2-3 and my license expired on July 6. So, on July 18, I got a letter from the Driver and Vehicle Services thinking, “Wow that was fast for getting my new license.” Boy, was I wrong. What it said was our records indicate that your driver’s license was used as a photographic identity and residency proof document. However, it is missing from your EDL application. Please provide your most recent driver’s license. As of today, Aug. 14, I have not seen my new license. So my advice on getting a new enhanced license is be prepared.

Work is progressing on the Todd Field Airport extension construction. We are adding another 500 feet to the runway, making it 3,500 feet. This is funded by federal money (90%), state money (5%), and local money (5%). The board had Widseth, Smith, Nolting from Alexandria present the proposed cost of updating the Expo building at the Fairgrounds. Total for Phases 1-3 would be $1,420,225 to $1,657,845 and total for Phases 1-3/3A would be $2,058,225 to $2,383,445.

We are also looking at a $1 million renovation of the rock wall around the Historic Courthouse. The facilities committee is looking for grant money from the State Historical Society. The Long Prairie Leader newspaper is working on a Spanish edition newspaper. They are asking the county to pay extra to publish legal notices along with health notices. We were also contacted by the Todd-Wadena Courier that will print a monthly Spanish edition.

The Finance Committee/Auditor-Treasurer's office proposed three options for the 2020 levy and they are Option A: 5.04% levy increase -0.75% tax rate decrease. Option B: 1.93% levy increase -3.68% tax rate decrease. Option C: 0.38% levy increase -5.15% tax rate decrease. Options B and C would use reserve funds of $500,000 and $750,000, respectfully. I am looking at supporting Option B.

My wife and I have been trying to see her parents once a month who live in Ely. My father-in-law was an industrial arts teacher for over 30 years in Ely. He is 95 and a World War II Veteran and both he and my mother-in-law who is 91, grew up in Chisholm. They are true Rangers. Ely reminds me of Osakis of the 1960s and 1970s with lots of tourists walking the streets and checking out the shops. I will share more in my next column.

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Osakis Voices is a rotating column written by community leaders who share their thoughts in their field of expertise.