4/13/2017 4:35:00 PM County Board meets with Rep Neu; blue address markers coming soon
Still working short-handed while Commissioner Lora Walker recuperates from injuries sustained in a freeway crash, the Chisago County Board met last week mostly to do informatiom-gathering.
The Board heard from the contracted medical examiner presenting her 2016 recap, and visited briefly with newly-elected MN Rep. Anne Neu (the only state legislator to meet publicly with the Board so far, this legislative session.)
Commissioner Mike Robinson put in a good word for opposing heavier trucking weight limits. HF 1358 proposes going to allowable trucking weight of 99,000 pounds. Robinson told Rep. Neu increasing weights damages roads, creates more serious injury when there is an accident and there’s a host of authorities who do not support this.
Commissioner Ben Montzka put in a plug for public school pupil funding. He said Chisago County school districts are under-funded and the legislature needs to hike the general pupil aid in order to meet state consitutional requirements that ALL students get equitable financial support from the state.
Commissioner McMahon reminded Neu of the county’s hope to land some aid for the Law Enforcement Center. He added, the state is responsible for ordering the county to make progress on a new jail due to state standards being unmet at the existing facility and it’s only reasonable the state should help fund it.
~ Medical Examiner Dr Quinn Strobl told the commissioners there were 317 cases in 2016 her office was involved in; either because a death wasn’t supervised by a physician and/or wasn’t in Hospice, or there was an autopsy required for a cause-of-death or criminal investigation, or there was a cremation to authorize.
Dr Strobl is housed in Anoka County, Midwest Medical Examiners, and provides ME services for a number of counties. She noted that cremation numbers were at their “highest yet” with 270 approved by her office for Chisago County. In 2015 there were 240, in 2012 there were 104. Four suicides were reviewed by her office for Chisago county, three were males.
~ The blue-colored standardized address markers for townships, making addressing numbers easier to locate at the ends of driveways, is advancing. The county will contribute funding out of the sheriff and fire/emergency services accounts to make this happen.
Townships will be notified of the schedule.
Commissioner Mike Robinson inquired about reimbursing Fish Lake Twsp. which has already posted standard address signage.
County Administrator Bruce Messelt said he would look into reimbursement but he wasn’t aware of a mechanism to fund the address markers after-the-fact. Chisago County has accepted sign replacement responsibility, however.
The commissioners okayed the county contributing a total over two years of $78,000; using $30,000 of this year’s 9-1-1 Fund (a tax collected and re-distributed through the state from your phone bill) and to budget $30,000 more in 2018 with another $18,000 over this year and next from the sheriff’s and other accounts.
** Fish Lake Clerk Andrea Nekowitsch told the Chisago County Press that Fish Lake funded 1,300 signs at a cost of $28,000 and there was about $6,000 expended for a contracted installer.
There was no direct cost to the township taxpayers; as Fish Lake got a North Branch Fire Department donation from the department’s pulltabs and a DNR Firewise grant.
~ County Highway/Public Works also got the okay from the County Board to purchase a new Leica survey set budgeted at about $11,000.
~The Board unanimously moved forward the early stages of investigating the decommissioning and/or demolition of the old county jail.
Messelt said the new jail is on target to open early in 2018. (The sheriff Facebook page has some nice aerial photos of progress being made at the jail site.) The action amends the contract with TKDA appropriating $20,000 already built into the new jail project account.
The Board was also told the county has a lobbyist assigned out of Larkin Hoffman Ltd. working in St Paul, to promote including $3 million in state aid to help with this jail. If the legislature fails to complete its business and the session is extended, the lobbyist was cleared to keep plugging away capped at billing the county $5,000 per month.