Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Tim Franklin
Moose Lake Star Gazette 

End possible for Pine, Kanabec partnership

 


Pine County commissioners will soon make a decision about the future of the Kanabec-Pine Health Board.

At last week’s regular board meeting in Sandstone, Board Chair Stephen Hallan of Pine City reported to the board that “we have had some issues. I am not sure if we can resolve them all.”

After the regular board meeting next week, commissioners plan on holding a committee of the whole meeting to discuss the issue.

“We have to face facts on where we are going with that organization,” Hallan said. “We need to make some decisions sooner or later.”

Hallan said the residents of Pine County are being well served with the staff, but there is a problem in the structure of the community health board.

“We need to have the whole board involved,” Hallan said. “It is not all roses in that organization.”

Commissioner Steve Chaffee of Hinckley said there is a one-year option if Pine County decides to dissolve the partnership. If the county board decides to wait until after January 1, 2016, to act, the partnership would continue at least through 2016.

“We have two different visions. They are not looking at it the same way as we are,” Chaffee said.

Chaffee said his goal would be to have two different entities that work together, but Kanabec County wants to have one entity. Chaffee added that he wanted Pine County employees to remain county employees.

Hallan said he remained hopeful things would work out, and even if the county sent a letter of notice to disband, such notice “does not mean that we are done.”

“If we don’t get our issues resolved, then we are done,” Hallan said.

The cooperative agreement started in 1991.

County Attorney Reese Frederickson said he talked with an analyst at the Minnesota Department of Health about the situation and encouraged the board to be involved with this process.

“We need to position ourselves in case things don’t work out,” Hallan said.

County Administrator David Minke said the issue lies on the administrative side of the cooperative, which looks at long-term strategic planning.

Sewage ordinance repealed

The board approved to have the county take over the sewer ordinance for Barry Township. Previously, Sandstone Township, Pine Lake Township and Brook Park rescinded their own ordinances per their request and fell under the county ordinance.

There was no public comment on the change.

No significant costs are anticipated in assuming the responsibility of the Barry Township septic ordinance, and the county expects to see a slight increase in revenues.

Technology

The county board met in November and looked at a new records management system, RMS. Hallan said the board has considered a new system for a number of years, and the current system is at the end of its life.

Sheriff Jeff Nelson said all systems have a fee to set up the program, and there is also a maintenance fee. The cost of such a new program is expected to cost between $250,000 and $400,000.

“It is going to be done sometime in the next year,” Hallan said.

Nelson said the county’s decision will also be impacted as other area agencies determine to which system they will migrate.

“We need to decide if we stay as a group with the current system,” Nelson said.

“It is not as easy as buying a new pickup,” Hallan said. “They are complicated systems.”

“We are in a tough spot,” Hallan added.

 

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