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

By Dan Reed
Moose Lake Star Gazette 

County help to reduce Augustana's bonding costs


The Carlton County Board of Commissioners has called for a hearing on February 10 at 9 a.m. to give Carlton County residents the chance to comment on county bonding power being used to help Moose Lake's Augustana Mercy Care Center raise $6 million to purchase and renovate Dr. Dan Benzie's Oakview Care Facilities and upgrade the current Augustana Mercy Care Center and Kenwood Place.

County Auditor/Treasurer Paul Gassert explained, "According to our bonding company Carlton County has the bonding authority to upgrade facilities up to about $10 million. This commitment for this fiscal year will limit the board's decisions to sell bonds for facility upgrades to just $4 million. I do know in the past the county has done a similar approach for the Cloquet hospital."

He went on, "Augustana is a non-profit and cannot bond themselves. The bonds will be paid from revenue generated from the facilities. It will cost the county nothing. This gives Augustana the cheapest interest rate possible using the county's good credit rating."

Steve Mork, administrator for the Augustana Mercy Care Center, said the plans include the purchase of three Oakview Care facilities, located at 300 Talbot Drive, 500 Talbot Drive, and 1200 Talbot Drive currently operated by Dr. Dan Benzie. "We need additional funding," Mork said, "for all the remodeling and upgrades we are doing as the new Mercy Hospital expansion comes in. Parts of the old hospital wing that we are now going to use need work to fit Augustana's needs."

Medical examiner services

Carlton County is now using the services of Lakehead based out of Duluth to handle medical examiner services with the phasing out of a Carlton County coroner to do the job. St. Louis County charges a $50 fee to authorize a cremation of a body per order of the sheriff. This is to cover bodies the medical examiner must first give approval before being cremated, buried at sea, dissected, or otherwise disposed of in a manner making later testing impossible.

It was proposed during earlier negotiations with Lakehead's contract that a $25.25 fee would be charged to certain Carlton County deaths. The Carlton County board decided not to charge the fee.

Other business

In other business, the board approved requesting federal funds for the blacktopping of CSAH 22 (South Finn Road) from CSAH 6 (Automba Road) north to Lakeview Township Road 411 (Schoolhouse Road). State Aid Road funding will be used in this project for 2015 and then that money will be reimbursed by federal money in 2016.


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