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County gets $300,000 insurance dividend

Homeless veterans, insurance dividends, mental health needs and more.

Those were the issues the Douglas County Board dealt with at its regular meeting on Tuesday, November 26.

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Here are a few of the items addressed at that meeting. The board:

• Approved acceptance of a $224.12 donation from the Junior Unit of the Alexandria VFW Post 936 to be used to provide housing at a local hotel for homeless veterans. This housing would be provided in emergency cases until the veteran could be transported to a Department of Veterans Affairs facility.

• Approved a request by Charlene Rosenow, Douglas County auditor/treasurer, to leave $25,000 of a 2013 MCIT dividend of $300,201 in the general fund to be used for a LEAN budget to be carried forward if not used. The remaining $275,201 would be transferred to the capital projects fund for future needs.

• Heard a presentation from the Douglas County Local Advisory Council on Mental Health about unmet and underserved mental health needs within Douglas County including lack of affordable housing, waits for psychiatric and therapy services at the local mental health clinic, inadequate dental coverage through Medical Assistance, a shortage of guardian/conservator/representative payee service providers for vulnerable adults, and lack of access to the local Community Behavioral Health Hospital.

• Approved a request from Community Memorial Home of Osakis to close two active beds December 1 in order to convert two-bed rooms to private single bed rooms. This reduces the facility’s licensed/certified capacity from 52 to 50 rooms. The beds have not been occupied for some time.

• Approved a request by Dave Rush, Land and Resource Management director, to seek bids for two new or used vehicles to replace two existing vehicles utilized by the department. The department is currently more than $100,000 under budget, according to Rush, due to employee and salary changes that occurred during the year. It also met its projected revenue goal for the year by September.

• Approved the 2013 Emergency Management Performance Grant matching fund grant of $15,705 from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. The money is used for general emergency management planning and operating expenses, training and conferences and wages and benefits for emergency management directors. The matching funds come from the county’s emergency management fund.

Tara Bitzan

Tara Bitzan is editor of the Echo Press. She joined the company in 1991 as a news reporter. A lifelong resident of Douglas County, Tara graduated from Brandon High School and earned a bachelor of arts degree in mass communications and English with a minor in Scandinavian Studies from Moorhead State University. She and her husband, Dennis, and their children live near Alexandria.

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