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

By Dan Reed
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Jail construction plans continue to unfold


A request for a proposal (RFP) for a new Carlton County Jail has been approved by the Carlton County Board of Commissioners as the new jail planning continues to unfold. The vote was 4-1 with Commissioner Tom Proulx voting nay.

“This action by the Board is not locking us into a set contract or design,” explained Sheriff Kelly Lake. “A site should be chosen as soon as possible in order to have construction drawings in which we will approximately know how much the facility will cost. We are committed to an 84 bed facility.”

The site of the present Carlton High School is being considered. It abuts the back of the current Jail. The school site would avoid major costs for site preparation and would provide water and sewer for the new building. Chair Dick Brenner said he will contact the Carlton School Board to find out if any decisions have been made by the school district.

Two sites north of the courthouse are being studied. Bedrock outcroppings and providing new parking space can make those choices costly.

As a funding mechanism to build a new jail, the County Board also approved putting the issue of a ½% County sales tax on a ballot this November. It is estimated that at least $1.75 million would be raised each year. There would be no impact on the property taxes paid in the county if funding is accomplished through this method.

Minnesota statute sets forth a mandatory process for levying the sales tax for such purposes. Carlton County voters must first approve levying the sales tax in an election. From there, the Minnesota Legislature will give final approval through enacting a law permitting the action.

In other business during their May 28 Adjourned Session, the retirement of Auditor/Treasurer Paul Gassert was accepted. Kathy Korteum of the Auditor/Treasurer’s Office was appointed to take over Gassert’s duties. There was some discussion of salary and benefits for Korteum while in the position.

County Coordinator Dennis Genereau commented, “The salaries for those elected officials are known to be low for those being paid for similar work in the 15 county area. I recommend that Paul’s salary level should be given.”

The new Auditor/Treasurer said that she will spend a lot of extra hours initially to handle the extra duties. No decision on the salary to be offered will occur until a committee comes back with a proposal.

Troy Salzer is no longer the lead for Minnesota Extension services in Carlton County. He has moved to a job assignment in St. Louis County. Commissioner Mark Thell reported that a proposal may come for hiring a part time staff person to handle the biosolids and lime for farm application.


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