Senior citizens in Crow Wing County may see changes next year in services they receive.
Sue Beck, county social service director, told the Crow Wing County Board on Tuesday that Region 5 will be making a number of changes in its senior citizen service programs.
"We have to make sure that the decrease in services won't get passed on," said Beck. "The services will continue but will have to be paid with county dollars."
Beck said the biggest change will be that Region 5 withdrew grant dollars from several counties that were used to hire a senior advocate. This staff person coordinates and attends county Council on Aging meetings; coordinates the Outstanding Senior Citizens program, senior trips and events; attends individual senior board meetings; and assists in preparations in the county newsletter.
Beck said this change will end the county's contract with Horizon Health, who hired the senior advocate. The county reimburses Horizon Health for the salary for the senior advocate.
The social service department commits about $21,000 to the senior advocate program and $12,000 of it is in cash.
Beck had no formal recommendation for the board at this time on how to proceed.
Beck said another change with senior citizens is that the county will be responsible for 10 percent of the costs of nursing home stays of more than 90 days for residents who are under 65 and are disabled. This will go into effect next year.
In other social service business, the board:
Heard from Terry Weyer of Lutheran Social Services on the senior nutrition services. Weyer said 19,992 meals were served last year in the county. This averages 72 meals a day.
Weyer said a program challenge is a lack of volunteers and a program success is that there are six new sites for senior citizens to chose from.
Extended a rural Minnesota Concentrated Employment Program local service unit agreement that provides employable services to people on public assistance.
Approved a contract with Tree Farm Villas for assisted living for alternative care, elderly waiver and Community Alternative for Disabled Individuals.
Agreed to temporarily use Region 5 Mental Health Initiative for crisis services. Costs will be $625 per month for up to 50 calls.
Learned there is a new linkage line for all human services for people to call. All calls will be handled by a state contract with First Call for Help.
Heard that the out-of-home placement expenditures are about $166,800 under budget.
Heard that the county has seen an increase in the number of urinalysises that are court-ordered on children and parents who are involved in the child protection system. Social services budgeted $6,000 and in the first quarter spent $4,600 for 119 urinalysises.
In other county business, commissioners:
Raised Chuck Kauppi's salary by $750 a month while he is serving as the interim planning and zoning administrator. Former planning and zoning administrator Dean Williams resigned the position.
Approved a rezone of 20 acres in Perry Lake Township to agricultural from green space. The request was made by Carl and Doreen Larson.
Approved another rezone from green space to agricultural from John and Elaine Dosh. The rezone is in Crow Wing Township on 65 acres of land.
Agreed to advertise for a septic system inspector for Round Lake and Lower South Long Lake.
Supported a resolution that DNR services are an important part of the community and to ask the state department to reconsider its decision to close the Brainerd regional office.
Accepted a land exchange with David Kettleson involving tax-forfeited land. The public will acquire a portion of a 131-acre tract on Wolf Lake in Irondale Township. Land Commissioner Thomas Cowell said the trade will serve to protect Wolf Lake from potential development. The county in return would exchange a 40- acre tract with Kettleson in Emily and another two tracts in Crosslake.
Agreed to grant a 33-foot easement to Thomas Arms' property in Crosslake for $1. In exchange, the county will receive 6.5 acres of land owned by Arms, south of a drainage site. Cowell said this exchange will help to consolidate existing holdings of tax-forfeited lands within a non-motorized area.
Awarded a bid to Future Forests for about $57,600 to work with the county and the DNR on a variety of forest development projects.
Accepted an emergency program performance grant of about $11,000.
Heard the Wetland Conservation Act report for Jan. 1 to March 31. During this time there were 177 information requests, 71 site visits, one violation and 253 landowners and 150 agencies were contacted. Total staff time for the Crow Wing Soil and Water Conservation District was 302 hours at $30 an hour.
Approved the purchase of 65 pagers from MinnComm for $6,069 for the sheriff's office. Sheriff Dick Ross said these pagers will give the department better coverage. Currently the department has 44 pagers and spends $5,604.
Approved the three polling sites in Unorganized Territory. The three precincts will be named red, white and blue. Precinct Red will vote at Crow Wing Power; Precinct White will vote at Agape Christian Center; and Precinct Blue will vote at Hope Baptist Church. The two former precincts were Davenport and Kennedy.
Approved one-time maintenance on two roads in Unorganized Territory on Sorenson Lake Lane and Dorothy Avenue North.
Heard project updates from David Miller, executive director of the Cuyuna Range Economic Development, Inc. Miller said the Cuyuna Range Technology Center is gearing up and he hopes the center will break ground this fall. The center is projected to bring in around 250 jobs.
Miller said CREDI also volunteered its services for Potlatch employees who live in the Cuyuna Range who want to start a business. Miller discussed how it will help with affordable housing and its community partnerships.
Agreed to work with the Initiative Foundation Healthy Communities Partnership on the county's land use comprehensive plan. The foundation has helped area communities on land use plans, including Nisswa, Cuyuna Range, Pequot Lakes and Breezy Point. The foundation will provide training, technical assistance, help with grants and assist in funding options, such as loans.
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