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

By Dan Reed
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

County board seeks to reduce pressure on jail

Board considers new, local substance abuse program in hopes to change an ongoing narrative of repeat offenders


March 15, 2018

Initial plans for a 14 to 16 bed male program centering on a moderate intensity treatment is being considered by the Carlton County Board of Commissioners in a local setting. The first discussion of this proposal was presented at the March 6 Committee of the Whole meeting.

Director of Health and Human Services Dave Lee explained, “Clients go through basic treatment before coming to the proposed program. This is an in-county new program for extended treatment for up to 120 days or longer in hopes that repeat substance abuse offenders will be helped stay sober. It provides transitional housing in a treatment setting.”

Carlton County depends on programs in St. Louis County and in other areas of the state to handle this need at this time. These avenues are quite costly.

County Coordinator Dennis Genereau noted, “Two buildings, one in Cloquet and one in Carlton, are being considered. Purchasing and remodeling for program needs will need county funding.”

Commissioner Dick Brenner made a successful motion to recommend consideration for the formation of a committee to study the proposal and possible program sites at the next county board meeting.

Commissioner Thomas Proulx commented, “There is a hope that a successful transitional treatment program may alleviate some of the pressure on the local jail.”

A yearly report on the county vehicle fleet was presented by Assessor Kyle Holmes noting that the average cost for running a County vehicle was 25 cents/mile. This does consider the cost of purchasing the vehicle and depreciation.

Genereau noted, “We do not have enough cars to cover all employee travel for county purposes and we depend on staff who can use their private cars. The plan is to replace two county vehicles each year with an eight year rotation.”

The county does bid their fuel supplies each year and must pay the fuel tax. The price for fuel is substantially less than the public pays at the pump.

Assistant County Engineer Milt Hagen reported that bids for roadwork and bituminous overlay for County Road 123 (Eagle Lake Road) and County Road 8 east of Holyoke are being let April 9. County Road 21 (Swede Lake Road) is still in the planning stage due to narrow road bed, wetland and right of way issues.

The snowy, icy winter has used up lots of road salt. Almost $40,000 worth of salt was purchased this last month.


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