Clay County looking to resolve 2023 budget

county commission

Cari Drees

A firetruck and other emergency vehicles were the first to drive under the completed structure.

Budgets and items that affect budgets and human resources continue to be publicly presented to the Clay County Board of Commissioners for the 2023 calendar year. The first presentation was by Janelle Cheney, District Supervisor for Probation. They contract with the State of MN for various positions, so some budget items are impacted by that relationship. The Sentence to Serve program has not had personnel backfill, however, the county has continued to run the program and provide inmate support for the county in terms of property maintenance and smaller city tasks. They hope to fill a supervisor position for this program in 2023.

County Attorney Brian Melton presented his Attorney’s Office budget which was remained cost neutral for the majority of line items. They are seeing an increase in child support work that is billed through the state but there isn’t a revenue line associated with that work. Melton requested more support for victim’s assistance where staff would assist with court schedules, explanation of court process, help coordinate witness services and other duties related to victim support. A total of four attorneys have left the department in the past year so salaries decreased by 7.4% which leaves money available of an additional victim’s support staff. This decrease will be short-lived as they will be requesting additional support next year.

Superintendent James O’Donnell from the Juvenile Center has been working with both the Correctional Facility and Advanced Healthcare Inc. to provide a contract for services. Juvenile Center specific items include a responsible health authority (MD). The contract, as negotiated, will provide this as well as a seven day a week RN services. O’Donnell noted that many juveniles have critical need medications that need to be administered at the correct times. Local providers provide a “whole slew of different services and different professionals to work with kids” and the addition of an RN will allow for better coordination. Commissioner Mongeau noted that the contract had already been vetted by the county legal department which smoothed the way for approval of the contract which is slated to start on August 1, 2022.

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