August 4, 2007
Nexus Awaits Decision
Mille Lacs News Staff Writer
"Everything is on hold until we get a written
contract from Nexus," said Onamia City Clerk Kathleen McCullum about the
slow progress of the relocation of Mille Lacs Academy. In order to protect
the town, if Nexus should pull out, city officials have wisely put a halt to
the project - just in case. Although two purchase agreements have been
signed by landowners Marvin D. and Avis Grosslein (who live in
Massachusetts) and also by Avis' brother Stephen Bye (who pays around $60 in
property taxes on the 38 Grosslein 'homesteaded' acres located in Bradbury
Township), and in spite of the $5,000 earnest money (Mayor Milton was
authorized by the city council to pay only $1,000) which according to the
purchase agreement must be returned by the sellers to the city should the
deal be cancelled for any reason, the sale of this land has yet to be
"The land has not been sold," stated McCullum.
With the purchase of the property not being
the "Done Deal" we've been led to believe it was, the supposed June 13th
annexation has also not gone through, lying dormant and unsettled.
"We still have zoning issues," McCullum said.
That's true. When the alleged Annexation by Ordinance was passed at the June
13th city council meeting, the zoning of the 38 acres was somehow
mysteriously changed from R1 (single family dwelling) to R2 (multi-family)
without the required due process of a mandatory public hearing.
Earlier, at the same meeting, a public hearing date to address zoning was
indeed scheduled, however it was later cancelled with no explanation.
So at this point, the land has not been
purchased, it has not been annexed, and it has not been officially rezoned.
The city is still waiting for a contract from Nexus, who projected that
construction of the new sex offender facility would begin this month.
What is Nexus waiting for? Although denied
property tax exemption several times in the past from the Minnesota Revenue
department, Nexus remains hopeful that it will be able to dodge the $300,000
- 400,000 per year bullet it would have to pay in property taxes on the $10
million dollar facility. In fact, Nexus CEO Jim D'Angelo stated in a letter
to County Commissioner Frank Courteau that if Nexus does not receive
property tax exemption, it is leaving the county. Recently it was reported
that Paul Smith, the new MLA Executive Administrator, said that unless Nexus
is property tax-free, the organization will be leaving the state of
Minnesota, who continues to deny them exemption.
(View the evidence).
Apparently Nexus has the same
tax problem at it's Austin facility (along
with, according to reports, questions about the legality of the Gerard
So Nexus continues to wait. The city of
Onamia continues to wait. Mille Lacs Academy employees continues to wait.
And Bradbury Township citizens opposed to the relocation of the facility
also continue to wait. Everything indeed seems to be "on hold" as people
await their fates; fates that Nexus alone seems to control.