Board to meet in closed session to discuss suit with Mille Lacs Band

By Liz Verley, Staff Writer

Morrison County has received notice that the United States Department of the Interior has issued a notice of its intent to accept the Willmus property into trust by the United State of America for the Mille Lacs Band of Objibwe.

The Willmus property consists of 3,300 acres purchased several years ago by the Band and is located in Leigh and Richardson townships.

Placing the property into trust would result in Morrison County losing approximately $10,927 in annual tax revenue. Richardson Township would lose approximately $65.39 and Leigh Township’s loss would amount to $3,225.

All three entities have filed arguments citing why the property should not be placed in trust.

Besides the loss of tax revenue the county also cited putting the land in trust will create law enforcement jurisdictional issues that have not arisen previously in the county, and the county would incur additional expenses to coordinate law enforcement with the Band.

The county also argued that the Band has not showed it needs the additional land in trust, given its economic success.

Those involved may appeal the decision to the Interior Board of Indian Appeals.

Discussing the issue Tuesday, the commissioners decided to enter into conversation with Attorney Frank Kowalkowski from the Wisconsin firm of Von Briesen and Roper.

The meeting with the attorney will be closed to the public and will be held at the end of the commissioners’ regular meeting, Tuesday.