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

By Lois E. Johnson
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

TRIAD discusses space needs

 

August 15, 2019



The county’s space needs, including the jail, were discussed at the monthly meeting of the Carlton County TRIAD at the Moose Lake Police Department on Wednesday, August 7.

Moose Lake Police Chief Bryce Bogenholm said that approximately 500 people attended the National Night Out at the city park in Moose Lake. That was a larger crowd than last year, when 300 people attended.

Cloquet Acting Police Chief Carey Ferrell said that about 2,000 people attended the National Night Out the night before in Cloquet.

He also spoke about the city moving into the former office of Members Cooperative Credit Union in Cloquet.

“We transitioned to the new building for the city hall last month,” he said. “We are getting a new garage for the police department.”

Dennis Genereau, the Carlton County Coordinator, spoke about the county purchasing the former Cloquet City Hall for some of its offices.

“The city sold the building to the county for $750,000, interest free for five years,” he told the group. “It is an incredibly-built building. There is no space in the county’s community services building so we are thinking of moving Veteran Services to the city hall building. We may also move other offices to that building from space that we have been renting.”

There was discussion about the county garage near Barnum.

Genereau explained that the staff has to install plows on the trucks outside because the garage is too small for today’s larger trucks.

“The trucks are 40 feet long now,” he said. “They used to be 28 feet. We need to get the trucks inside for maintenance. That is needed so we can get them on the road faster, such as during a snowstorm.”

The new garage is estimated to cost $10 million. To pay for it, he explained that the county board has decided that a portion of the funds could be taken from sales tax and a portion could be raised by increasing the wheelage fees.

The proposal does not need a vote by the public.

“No one wants an increase in property taxes,” said Genereau. “The sales tax raises $1.5 to 2 million a year. Those funds were for road improvements but the Highway 61 shop is really important.”

He also explained that funding the garage project would not take that much funding from the road projects.

“There would still be 92 or 93 percent of those funds available for road improvements,” he said. “The people in the rural areas are hopeful that the roads are finally going to get done. Using that sales tax money for building a new garage frightened some people. They wanted to make sure that the board knew what was most important to them.”

The county board is well aware of the importance of the roads.

“The board is still dedicated to doing the roads,” said Genereau.

There are also plans to build a new jail. A separate sales tax to fund that project has been suggested.

“It used to be that, if the people voted for a sales tax, it would go to the legislature and then the people would be able to vote on it if the legislature approved it,” Genereau explained. “Now, that has changed. The state has to see it as a regional benefit. We have to have an answer to that question prepared to give to the legislature in January. If it is approved by the legislature, then it will be brought to a vote of the people. That’s a tough piece for us, the regional piece. We are pursuing other pieces too, such as a mental health component, maybe. But we don’t want to raise the levy to increase the property taxes.”

The Courthouse will be 100 years old in 2022, said Genereau.

“It was built to last 100 years,” he added. “Last year the board authorized the structure to be studied. The report showed that the structure can last 100 more years because it is built on bedrock. But there is a lot of infrastructure that needs to be done. There are accessibility issues, it needs new windows and it is not sprinkled well. There are also no meeting spaces for clients and attorneys.”

Sheriff Lake explained that, because of the lack of space, victims and witnesses have to walk by the offenders.

“The lack of meeting space slows down the system,” she said. “The attorney needs to see the client before they go to court. There was a period of two weeks when the judge had to postpone hearings because the attorney couldn’t meet with the client before the court hearing.”

“All of these things cost a lot of money,” said Genereau. “The board has done well but it catches up with us. The county had saved money for these projects but then the heating system had to be replaced in a building. That cost $50,000. The board had put aside $300,000 but that money was used for handicap accessibility, remodeling and other necessary projects. There are highway department needs too.”

Assistant County Attorney Alexander Saumer, who also attended the meeting, said, “I will be working with the Carlton County Health and Human Services on elder abuse cases.”

The next meeting of TRIAD was set for Wednesday, September 4, at 10 a.m. at a location to be announced.

 

Reader Comments
(0)

 
 

Powered by ROAR Online Publication Software from Lions Light Corporation
© Copyright 2019