Future child support dollars could be in jeopardy, forcing Crow Wing County to cut its child support staff members and could mean more parents may seek public assistance.
At issue is a provision in the federal deficit reduction act that means states will no longer be allowed to claim federal matches on performance incentives, something Minnesota and Crow Wing County have excelled at.
The county would need an additional $106,128 in 2009 to make up the difference to continue the program as it is today. Susan Beck, human services director, said the numbers aren't as simple as that amount as the federal government reimburses 66 percent of county costs, meaning $312,141 would need to be cut in expenses. And the county is able to claim indirect expenses for heat, light, building use, office equipment.
The county currently receives $415,272 annually for that support. A letter was sent to the congressional delegation asking this portion of the deficit reduction act be reconsidered.
Crow Wing County collects an average of $7.2 million annually on behalf of parents in the community. Beck said without collecting those child support dollars more people could be on public assistance. Beck reported the collections save more than $1.2 million in public assistance annually.
In other business, the board:
Heard there is high interest in the county administrator's position with 18 applicants and eight preliminary interviews. Finalists are expected to be named early next week with board interviews expected at 8 a.m. May 23.
"I think you are going to be impressed with the caliber of candidates," said Tami Laska, human resources director.
Approved a plan to hire four full-time deputies and two part-timers for the jail in order to ease overtime costs. In 2007, overtime was $227,164 and so far the year-to-date overtime was two-thirds of the $119,000 budget. Vacations, sick time, military leave and turnover have all played a part in the overtime costs.
Designated Thursday as Peace Officers' Memorial Day and directed flags at half-staff on all county buildings.
Heard from Vic Kreuziger that more should be done with public notices to inform people, such as boxed type, and should include the Lake Country Echo in Pequot Lakes beyond the county's official newspaper, which is the Brainerd Dispatch. Kreuziger said he didn't know about an important ordinance change and a boxed advertisement would be a small price to pay for vital communication. Board members said they will discuss the matter further, specifically in relation to their plans for 2009 publication.
Learned the county's obligation for the South Country Health Alliance $11 million capital infusion will be $1,562,069 in two installments.
Established a public hearing date of 9:30 a.m. June 10 for a proposed issuance of revenue notes for Brainerd Lakes Integrated Health System. The county is being asked to issue conduit notes on behalf of the health system to provide refinancing of taxable debt used to purchase a medical clinic and related facilities on South Sixth Street. Brainerd Lakes Integrated Health System can access tax-exempt financing for its purposes if a public entity issues the bonds on its behalf. The health system would save about a little more than a quarter of a million per year on a $9.5 million debt. Issuing the notes would not cost county taxpayers or involve levy dollars.
Scheduled a public hearing at 9:45 a.m. June 10 to consider amending the ordinance regulating liquor licenses in the county to say no patrons of on-sale intoxicating liquor licensed establishments may remain on the licensed premises after 1:30 a.m. unless actively engaged in a cleanup project. And no one, including employees, may consume intoxicating liquor on the licensed premises after 1:20 a.m. until the regular business hours begin again. The proposed ordinance states no sealed or unsealed unconsumed intoxicating liquor can be removed for consumption at a different location by an employee or a patron.
Heard the county will be attempting to work with landowners and is reviewing its enforcement for planning and zoning issues. Mark Liedl, land services director, said the goal is to help landowners come in compliance with the county ordinances and develop a better protocol going forward to be more effective.
Discussed a bid difference for a road project that put Anderson Brothers, Brainerd, in second place by a $15 margin. Highway Engineer Lyndon Robjent and commissioners said they believed it was important to honor the integrity of the bid process that favored Tri-City Paving even though it was by a narrow margin.
Heard the Mill Avenue project is ahead of schedule to date and may be able to open earlier than June 27. A meeting with businesses is planned at 8 a.m. Friday at Chopper's on Mill Avenue to go over an updated schedule.
RENEE RICHARDSON may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5852.
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