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

By Dan Reed
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Negotiations stall between AFSCME & County Board


The contract with the union AFSCME Local 2750 expired December 31, 2018 and those Carlton County employees have been working without a contract since then. It appears health care funding for retirees has been the sticking point.

Negotiations have occurred since August 2018 with mediation services in the fall. After a mediation session on November 27, 2018 the County Board, through their negotiation team, presented their final offer, and in late winter the AFSCME County workers voted not to accept the proposal.

The Carlton County Board of Commissioners sent a letter to the union on March 22 notifying them that the Board had determined the negotiations were at an impasse.

Rebecca Bosanko, Vice President of AFSCME Local 2750, addressed the Board at their Regular board meeting on May14 and said that the union has specific proposals to seek to resolve the retiree health insurance concern. She called on the Board to reconsider the vote to declare an impasse and return to the negotiating table.

At the end of interviews for a new Economic Development Director and completion of a few more agenda items, the County Board met in closed session and decided to instruct the negotiations team to go back for another try at an agreement with the union negotiation team.

Bids have been accepted for CSAH 21, better known as the Swede Lake Road, SE of Cromwell, for reconstruction during this summer season. KGM was the low bidder at $947,375.15 which was 53.24% below the Engineer’s estimate. Right-of-way purchase and tree removal have already been done.

Local retired road contractor Lawrence Lundin of the Cromwell area remarked, “We are glad that this is going to be done. Patch jobs have been done on the roadway for decades and the base of the old road is filled with stumps and poor roadbed material. Now we see some progress.”

An expansion of the Dresel’s Aggregate Pit activities was approved by the Carlton County Board on the Verna J. Carlson land at 4177 Kolosky Road, Moose Lake. The pit will cover 7.13 acres with berms created to screen pit activities from neighboring dwellings and not any closer than 85 feet from Kolosky Road.

Sunset Memorial Cemetery is in the vicinity. The neighbors were concerned that the gravel pit equipment would make too much noise during funerals and memorial events. One of the stipulations for the permit was to limit noise during those periods. Also, a hot mix plant will not be located on that site.

Director Dave Lee, Carlton County Health and Human Services, received approval for a new 5-year lease at $2,448/month for the Southern Carlton County Family Center activities in Moose Lake. Almost an extra 1,500 square feet will be used at the facility with the WIC clinic, Toes R Us, and the Minnesota Family Investment Program Orientation moving in. The additional space will go over the current operating budget but part of it is Federally reimbursed.

Land Commissioner Greg Bernu reported that the May 9 Oral Timber Auction totaled $220,769 in timber sold. One tract was not bid on and most were bought as appraised. Aspen came in at $27.81/cord. Bernu felt that huge stockpiles of wood products throughout the area dampened the bid levels of some of the loggers that participated. Sappi Fine Paper bought half of the sales sold.

The Minnesota DNR has not yet decided whether Enbridge can use Chub Lake to draw water for dust control and testing completed pipeline sections. There is still concern that Euraisian milfoil would be spread to other water bodies still not infested using lake water by Enbridge. Contaminant concerns, heating of the lake, fish kill, and location of water discharge are of concern by the Chub Lake Association.

Most road restrictions are off our County roads now. Spring breakup has been more severe than it has been in the last 10 to 15 years. Five ton restrictions continue on County Roads 129, 132, 135, 144, 156, and the south end of CR 21.

**CORRECTION: Landowner Mike Buetow has been approved for the development of a gravel pit on his land which is south of the current Dresel's Gravel Pit operation. Dresels were not involved with the permitting of the Buetow gravel pit establishment and it remains to be seen who will ultimately develop the gravel pit operation there. County Board correspondent Dan Reed apologizes for any repercussions for implying Dresels were at all involved.**


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