Task force hopes to provide education
Schools to be given funds to educate parents, students
Commissioner Matt Ludwig of Sandstone, who is on the Methamphetamine Task Force, gave an update to the Pine County commissioners about the committee’s discussion, at last week’s regular county board meeting.
He said they had a good discussion about the methamphetamine problem in Pine County and how to get the information into the schools.
Giving each school in the county $1,000 to educate parents and kids about drugs was mentioned.
There is so much parents don’t know about their children, he said. What the task force hopes to accomplish is educating parents about the signs of drug abuse.
They also talked about sending a report regularly to the county newspapers with updated information.
Heroin is a growing drug problem in Pine County and across the country, Ludwig said. Part of the task force discussion centered around having the heroin antidote available on ambulances in the county.
County engineer Mark LeBrun outlined the highway department’s projects from the last and upcoming year. He told the board Highway 41, in Kettle River, will be resurfaced with funding from next year’s road funds.
The Soo Line Trail, he said, is now a county trail and they have captured the railroad material and have stockpiled it at Sturgeon Lake. It has a value of approximately $25,000. The Soo Line Trail project ran $20,000 over budget. But, the materials will be of value in other projects.
LeBrun said he doesn’t expect to have any capital building projects in the near future after completing the remodel of the highway department building. Additional building improvements included a concrete floor in the storage garage, new doors and a roof.
He talked about the wheelage tax the board approved last year. Those funds will be distributed this year to the county and will be used for local road projects.
There is about $2.5 million remaining in the highway fund and he intends to set money aside for purchase of new equipment. It’s critical to have a healthy fund balance for the highway department, he added.
LeBrun commented that most of the state’s highway funding is being diverted to Ramsey and Hennepin counties. “They’re overfunding transit and underfunding highways. Right now all money goes to transit, not to roads.”
The board approved LeBrun’s report.
Setting minimum salaries for elected officials
Administrator David Minke said the board is required to set minimum salaries for elected officials. It was supposed to be set in January.
“I didn’t know, so we’re doing it now. You can raise them when they’re elected,” he said.
The board approved minimum salaries of auditor/treasurer $71,700, county sheriff $76,500 and county attorney $79,500.