Council votes to purchase contested nuisance property

The Staples City Council took a step towards eliminating a nuisance property that has been a topic of concern in the city for more than five years.

At their July 12 meeting the council voted to purchase the property, which could mean the issue could soon be resolved.

The council did not discuss the purchase or talk about how the purchase came about, instead they unanimously approved their agenda item: “Consider purchase agreement wtih Rudy D. Bjerga for the purchase of the south 100 feet of Lots 7 and 8, Block 11, Searle’s First Addition.”

Bjerga was the original owner of the property and was selling it to David Blonigan. For years, the city issued nuisance citations to Blonigan for leaving items on the yard. The city passed a garage sale ordinance allowing no yard could be considered a permanent sale. 

Last year the city won a court order to clear the property, which they did at the city’s expense and the cost was applied to the property’s taxes. Earlier this year, it was announced that the city was in the process of another court case regarding the same property, as more items have been placed on the lawn.

City Administrator Jerel Nelsen said the purchase price is $10,000, but there are also delinquent property taxes the city will have to deal with.

Concern for Youth

The council heard a presentation from Steve Commerford, the leader of the Todd-Wadena Community Concern for Youth program. The program is for youth who have broken the law or are at risk of becoming delinquent.

Commerford showed statistics from 2015 that indicated most of the referrals are for school attendance problems (20), but others are for tobacco (six), alcohol (three), marijuana (six) or shoplifting (six). Commerford said he appreciates the city’s contribution to the program and pointed out that last year the kids planted a garden and donated 1,000 pounds of food to local food shelves.

In other news,         the council

o Approved contract for private development with Staples Townhomes and providing for the issuance of a tax increment revenue note, one of the steps in establishing a tax increment finance district.

o Agreed to consider adding city owned land east of the Staples Veterans Park to the park boundaries.

o Heard from Nelsen that the city’s fire protection inspection improved their rating from six to five, which should help lower commercial insurance rates.


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Mailing Address: P.O. Box 100 Staples, MN 56479 Telephone: (218) 894-1112 - Fax: (218) 894-3570 Toll Free: 1-888-894-1112 E Mail:;

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