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

By Dan Reed
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Cloquet City Hall transfer to County on track

 

February 14, 2019



“Our goal continues to be a building for County occupancy with little cost to the County taxpayer,” observed County Coordinator Dennis Genereau at the Carlton County Committee of the Whole meeting on February 5. “Cloquet officials still say they will be out of the present City Hall late spring.”

“Plans center around installing an elevator in the new building,” Genereau continued,”providing easy access to the large basement. At this time, County Coordinator/Human Resources staff, the ACT team, and the Family Initiatives will locate in the new space. We are still working on options for Minnesota Extension Services to remain in Carlton.”

“The present City Hall building has a fine Boardroom,” interjected Commissioner Tom Proulx. “It would be the perfect space for the County Board to meet regularly.”

No recommendation was made for a computer software service to standardize such functions as payroll and time management for most of the County departments. Genereau said, “I and County staff have spent countless hours researching which service to use. I will remain in a holding pattern until the County Board decides on a direction we should go.”

A new right-of-way acquisition policy was rolled out by County Engineer JinYeene Neumann. The new policy proposed to use a standard 125% of the Assessed Valuation for permanent right-of-way purchases. In the past a purchase figure was set by using several current land or land and building sale prices to find a proposed settlement. Prices are set for lost trees or fencing, for example, to adjust the proposal.

Neumann added, “This is tailored after several County policies in the area. It would simplify the acquisition process and save the County money. In larger acquisitions over $25,000 a full appraisal would be required by a licensed appraiser.”

The policy was passed on for County Board approval.

County Engineer Neumann also updated progress in the County road construction program for 2019. The County Transportation department has not been able to put CSAH 21, the Swede Lake Road in Cromwell, for bids. Approval of a permit for the Wetlands impacted by the reconstruction of the road has been slowed because of the extended Federal government shutdown. The Engineer said she hoped the permit would be issued quickly now that the Corps of Engineers is working again.

In other news the Carlton County Board of Commissioners set a goal of using the Committee of the Whole meetings as a time for varied County programs to present the current services they are providing and to address potential needs and issues in the areas they work. As part of this initiative, minutes and information provided in the numerous meetings the Board members attend will be shared with all Board members electronically.

Also part of this effort, Northland Foundation’s President Tony Sertich addressed the Child Care Shortage in Northeastern Minnesota. He noted that there is now 379 family-based child care operations in our area, down from 482 in 2011. A dramatic increase in red tape and regulations has put pressure on these family-based child care providers.

There are 91 child care centers and 23 pre-school programs in the region of which 4 out of 10 centers are based in large urban areas such as Grand Rapids and Duluth. Overall, a 50% increase for children in family-based child care and child care centers is needed to cover the need for services for children 5 and under. Family-based child care appears to be approximately 1/5th the cost of running a child care center or pre-school program.

Sertich reported, “In Northeastern Minnesota, the Northland Foundation, the IRRRB, the United Way of Northeastern Minnesota, and the Blandin Foundation have all made contributions toward closing the gap for the child care shortage.”

 

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