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Council holds firm on Stensland position

By Staff | Sep 13, 2020

Bruce Stensland operates Bruce's Auto Repair in Blue Earth.

Although he received some positive reviews from some members of the Blue Earth City Council, Bruce Stensland was unable to convince the council to remove their objection to the county which would allow Stensland to repurchase some tax-forfeited property.

Stensland was in attendance at the council meeting on Sept. 8 to plead his case.

“I have come here tonight to discuss the future of my business which also affects my retirement,” Stensland told council members. “The property is cleaned up and I have left a certified check with the county auditor to cover the back taxes and penalties.”

Stensland continued.

“I am asking you to rescind your objection to my repurchasing the property,” Stensland stated.

Stensland was referring to a letter the council sent to the Faribault County Board, at the request of county auditor Darren Esser, asking the council’s input regarding the Stensland property.

The letter included a list of ordinance violations Stensland had received in the last 14 years concerning the property where he operates Bruce’s Auto Repair. The letter also stated the council’s objection to Stensland being allowed to repurchase the property.

Mayor Rick Scholtes asked what assurance Stensland could give the council the property would be kept up.

“It is my plan to keep it that way,” Stensland replied. “I am working with a bank to get a low-interest loan which would allow me to put doors on the storage building. I would then rent the space out for camper storage.”

Council member Glenn Gaylord wondered if Stensland would keep paying his taxes.

“It did not look like you were working with the city before,” Gaylord commented. “Why now? It seems like the only time you would take action was when your back was up against the wall.”

Council members inquired about Stensland’s plan for his business.

“I am 64 years old and in reasonably good health so I plan to keep operating it,” Stensland replied.

Council member Dan Warner mentioned he would like to see Stensland work with the Economic Development Authority.

“Maybe you could hire a young person to work with you,” Warner offered.

Stensland said he has had young people job-shadow him in the past.

“Everyone knows you are a great mechanic,” Gaylor remarked. “We do not want to run you out of business. We want to see you succeed just like other businesses in town,”

Josh Stensland, who is Bruce Stensland’s son, also addressed the council.

“I want to thank the council members for their civil dialogue. I think everyone in the room would have liked things to go different than the way they have,” Josh Stensland said. “This is a chance for you to support a local business. I also would ask for you to rescind your objections against the repurchase of the property.”

Bruce Stensland offered his final thoughts.

“It is my opinion that if you would rescind your objection then the County Board would rescind their motion against my repurchasing the property,” he commented.

Council member John Huisman felt it was out of the council’s hands.

“Let’s let the county decide what they want to do,” Huisman stated.

Josh Stensland asked if the council’s objection still stands.

“Yes, it does,” Scholtes replied.