Grant money is helping Crow Wing County work with families facing multiple difficulties when trying to find employment and leave government assistance.
The county's social services department was awarded an integrated services grant for $52,850 per year for three years from the state Department of Human Service's Minnesota Family Investment Plan. Susan Beck, human services director, said staff members deserved praise for creative thinking and building a program that has been effective.
She said MFIP family members have difficulty attaining jobs because of multiple barriers, such as lack of skills, disability or chemical dependency. The individuals also are getting close to the end of their 60-month limit of being on public assistance.
Beck said providing a plan to make the program self-sustaining was part of the grant application process. Beck said she would be able to provide numbers of people on assistance and those helped to self-sufficiency in January.
She said some were granted extensions but a lot of people have gone off the program and not come back.
In other social services news, Beck reported the Family Based Service Providers and staff worked to provide gifts and food from community contributions to more than 250 individuals and 90 families during the holidays.
Out-of-home child placements are $450,200 below budget. Beck said the department continues to be in excellent financial shape. The Dakota County Receiving Center, which contracts for the county's detoxification center services, raised its 2005 rates from $270 to $291 per day for Crow Wing County and $280 to $301 per day for other counties. Beck said the increase should make the center viable for the coming year.
In other county business, commissioners:
Approved a five-year animal control enforcement contract with Donald Hannah at $1,845 per month. Hannah is on call all the time and pays his own mileage. The vote was 4-1 with Commissioner Gary Walters opposed.
The county previously set a $2.50 per person charge for participating townships based on 2000 census numbers. Contracted cities' fees are based on population. Those on a per-month basis are: Brainerd, $1,000; Baxter, $450; Breezy Point, $85; Deerwood, $45; East Gull Lake, $80; Emily, $70; Nisswa, $160; Pequot Lakes, $75; Pine River, $75. Other cities pay per year: Cuyuna, $230; and Riverton, $115. Oak Lawn Township and Lake Shore pay on a per-call basis.
Appointed Duane Blanck, county highway engineer; Sheriff Eric Klang; Mike Kearns, county facilities and parks director; and Larry Wannebo to the county's all-terrain vehicle right-of-way advisory committee. Two ATV club members and another county resident will be appointed. To date, ATV industry representatives were reluctant to take part.
Approved additions and changes to the county's fee schedule and planning and zoning fees for 2005.
Agreed to look into a complaint about the county's veterans service department relating to transportation of a veteran to the Twin Cities for a hospital visit.
Heard the county's share of reconstruction of Highway 371 North as proposed by the Minnesota Department of Transportation, involving Nisswa, Pequot Lakes and Jenkins, will include 10 intersections with county highways or county roads. Blanck said the county's share of reconstruction will be substantial.
Discussed the need for service drives on main roadways to limit the number of driveways with direct highway access.
Appointed Don Hales, Woodland Beach Resort, to the Planned Unit Development ordinance committee replacing Bruce Galles.
Heard Doug Morris, county solid waste coordinator, has relocated his office to the new building at the Crow Wing County Landfill on Highway 210.
RENEE RICHARDSON can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5852.
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