Area politicians weigh in on fiscal cliff | BrainerdDispatch.com | Brainerd, Minnesota

Area politicians weigh in on fiscal cliff

Posted: December 31, 2012 - 11:27pm

Crow Wing County officials discussed the looming “Fiscal cliff,” with visiting legislator Rep. John Ward, DFL-Baxter, during Monday’s board meeting.

Ward said if the federal government went over there would be a significant impact on the state and county level so “hope and pray they come to their senses.”

Rep.-elect Joe Radinovich, DFL-Crosby, said he thought the federal government would go over, but then again, he said — getting laughs from those in the board chambers — he was betting on the Vikings this week also. Radinovich said a new Congress may have better results.

Commissioner Paul Thiede said if the country did go over the cliff he hoped the state representatives would join him in saying without addressing the spending levels with the revenues they would only be contributing to the morass.

Ward said he was glad to hear the word revenue come out of Thiede’s mouth. “We will be looking at all that absolutely,” Ward said.

In other business, the board:

Voted 3-1 to approve hiring a legal assistant for the county attorney’s office, which was included and approved in the 2013 budget. Thiede wanted to move the item from the consent calendar, which includes a bulk list of items expected not to be controversial and typically approved en masse. Thiede’s motion died for lack of a second.

Thiede said he was disappointed the board wouldn’t allow him to move something off the consent agenda as a standard procedure. The consent agenda was approved with Thiede opposed.

Later in the meeting, Commissioner Phil Trusty apologized for not seconding Thiede’s motion, saying if a commissioner wanted to pull an item from the consent calendar they should support that. Thiede said the apology wasn’t necessary.

Recognized long-time employees who are retiring: Mark Mull, senior accountant in the Auditor-Treasurer’s Office, 28 years of service; Cheryl Norwood, property assessor in Land Services, 25 years of service; Darrel Olson, property assessor in Land Services, 25 years of service; Judy Shire, property assessor in Land Services, 24 years of service.

Entered a contract with the Brainerd Jaycees for security related to 2013 Ice Fishing Extravaganza.

Learned the county was awarded a 2012 State Homeland Security Program grant of $23,000 for computer equipment and software.

Approved a club on sale liquor license for the Brainerd Lakes Curling Association.

Approved taking $72,600 from about $500,000 coming back to the county from the county-based health plan South Country Health Alliance the county was previously part of to fund two initiatives. One will upgrade software and hardware for a telephone system for call management, including the option of having voice messages translated to emails. The other will hire a consultant to look at a pilot project in Community Services to see how information may be centralized for better service and to overcome road blocks.

The rest of the money, which was not in the county’s budget, will go to the county’s general fund.

RENEE RICHARDSON, senior reporter, may be reached at 855-5852 or renee.richardson@brainerddispatch.com. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Dispatchbizbuzz.