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

By Dan Reed
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Carlton County Board seeks space for third courtroom

County engineer questions out-of-county contract


December 13, 2018

“Let us see if 6th District Chief Judge Tarnowski would be open to having a courtroom established in the purchased current Cloquet City Hall boardroom,” stated Chair of the Committee of the Whole Commissioner Dick Brenner at their December 4 meeting. “We as a county board are having pressure from our 6th Judicial District to establish a third courtroom and more space for the courts.”

County Coordinator Dennis Genereau responded, “I will open discussions as quickly as possible with the courts on that possibility. Security is a big concern in the present courthouse. The new space at the purchased city hall may be available as early as April. Several departments will find a home there. A plan has not been finalized as of yet.”

Genereau continued, “Chief Judge Tarnowski has made probably four trips to assess the court program and space at the courthouse within this last year. She has given a number of suggestions. Building new would be very costly. The purchased city hall would provide us with a lot of room with not a budget-busting cost.”

Brenner observed, “We have a long list of building needs which also include a jail. We have to look at all options for long-term solutions.”

In other news, County Engineer JinYeene Neumann stated that the Highway Department has a contract with Nickerson Township in northeastern Pine County. The township pays the Carlton County Highway Department $5000 a year for snowplowing, grading, and some culvert replacement. Pine County does no maintenance work or snowplowing for their townships.

Neumann explained, “Why are we using county tax dollars to handle township work outside of our county? I believe we should try to improve services within Carlton County with the tax dollars provided. I bring up this subject to get some direction before I meet with Nickerson Township officials.”

Commissioner Gary Peterson asked, “Do we make money doing that work or are we losing money? Do we have equipment wear and tear figured into the billing to the township?”

The county engineer will come back to the county board with an in depth cost analysis of the work for Nickerson Township before further action is taken.

Jared Hovi, coordinator of the county’s GIS system, gave his annual report. Use of the system by the public has been increasing. Of focus now is preparation for the 2020 Census. GIS staff has reviewed over 10,000 addresses in Carlton County and updated over 700.

Genereau commented, “We are working hand in hand with the state demographer to insure that every one of our residents are counted. I might add, it was a good move to put the GIS system under the Land Department.”

Hovi said, “The implementation of the GIS system has increased the efficiency of using information in the daily workings of such departments as the Transportation, Assessor’s, and Zoning. During the flooding of 2018 in Southeastern Carlton County our department pinpointed all the trouble spots in five hours rather than the two or three days it would have taken previously. This is a good example of the success of the GIS effort.”


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