Kids currently sent out of state for treatment services

The Itasca County Board of Commissioners this week paved the way for a new juvenile residential treatment facility to be built in Grand Rapids.

The board held a public hearing this Tuesday to consider host approval for a bond for North Homes and to consider adoption of the resolution approving the issuance of revenue obligations by the City of Deer River to finance a project by North Homes, Inc. The City of Deer River has agreed to issue bonds for the North Homes project but county host approval is necessary because the project being financed will be located in Grand Rapids and not Deer River.

North Homes President Jim Christmas explained to the board that this would be necessary funding for a “very, very important project.” In fact, Christmas said North Homes is one of the first to provide this service in the region.

The facility North Homes would like to create would be one for kids with very, very disturbed circumstances, explained Christmas who said plans are to break ground on the facility this fall and complete construction spring of 2020.

According to Christmas, the facility would provide 32 beds to place juvenile residents from the region.

He said, currently, “most of these kids have to go out of state for these services.”

After the public hearing, Commissioner Terry Snyder made a motion to approve the bond request, Commissioner Ben DeNucci supported the motion and the action passed.

Commissioner Burl Ives was absent, with notice.

With the consent agenda, the board:

• Authorized Itasca County Transportation Department to acquire right of way easement across County tax-forfeit lands for Itasca County Road (CR) 236.

• Authorized the County Engineer to enter into a professional service contract with Ericsson Engineering Co. LLC to provide bridge design services for a bridge replacement, on Phillips Rd. over Splithand Creek and authorized the County Engineer to execute the contract documents. Cost for the engineering services will be paid for out of the Town Bridge Account.

• Approved final payment for SP031-070-007, a Highway Safety Improvement Program Pavement Markings Project and authorize the County Board Chairperson and Clerk to the County Board to sign the necessary documents.

• Adopted the Resolution Re: Authorizing and Fixing the Terms of Direct Sale of Tax- Forfeited Property to a Private Party.

• Adopted the Resolution Re: Authorizing and Fixing the Terms of Sale for the 2019 Tax- Forfeited and Direct County land sale on Friday, Oct. 25, 2019 at 10 a.m. in the Board Room of the County Courthouse.

• Approved a utility easement for overhead electric distribution lines in favor of Great River Energy across tax-forfeit land in Sections 8, 23 and 26 of Township 60 North, Range 25 West, and authorize necessary signatures.

• Awarded the 2019 bud capping contract to Champion Forestry Service in the amount of $19,272.00 to be paid from Forest Resource Fund 12 and authorize necessary signatures.

• Approve the 2019 Lease agreement between Itasca County and the MN Timber Producers Association and authorize necessary signatures.

In other business Tuesday, the board:

• Recognized county employees Doug Bourquin who resigned from his position as Highway Maintenance

Worker, Transportation Department effective Aug. 31, after 16+ years of service; Justin Derickson, who was recently hired as Deputy Sheriff/Road Deputy, Sheriff Department, effective Aug. 19; John Kempe, newly hired as Assistant County Attorney, Attorney’s Department, effective Aug. 19; and Haley McNeil who resigned from her position as a Care Coordinator, IMCare Division, Health and Human Services Department, effective Aug. 30 after 1+ year.

• Approved Commissioner Warrants with a check date of Aug. 30, 2019, in the amount of $1,446,753.16.

• Approved Health and Human Services warrants for the month of August at $1,386,477.46.

• Scheduled a joint meeting between Itasca County Board of Commissioners and Leech Lake Band of the Leech Lake Board of Ojibwa for the purposes of formal introductions and discussion of future cooperative opportunities for Oct. 24.

• Heard a report from Alice Moren of Circles of Support on the annual summer planting project at the IRC Building which is followed by a picnic. This is the fifth year Circles of Support has partnered with Itasca County Health and Human Services on the project.

“This is a way of creating a welcoming space and showing appreciation for the work that is done there,” commented Moren who said 91 people attended the picnic this year. •

• Approved the 2019 IMCare Compliance Plan, Standards of Conducts and Policies and Procedures.

• Held a public hearing for the Conditional Use application (CUP) submitted by Paul Grooms and Ben Nissen for lawn mowing, snow removal, boat storage and the sale of docks and lifts (with a proposed showroom) as approved by the Planning Commission at their regular meeting on Aug. 14, 2019 and unanimously approved by the Harris Township Board.

• Held a closed meeting to consult with the board’s attorney in reference to pending litigation in the matter of the ERP Iron bankruptcy litigation.

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