The Polk County Board of Commissioners met Tuesday morning inside the Polk County Government Center to hear reports from social services and the planning and zoning departments.


Social Services Director Karen Warmack first approached the council with several items. The first being certain requests to replace a social worker in the Disability Services Division and another that provides behavioral health outreach and civil engagements, as well as any other vacancies due to the replacement. She also requested the replacement of a case assistant position within the department to perform administrative support duties after the previous candidate returned to Court Services. The board approved all the proposals unanimously.

UCARE and MEDICA grants

Warmack then moved a resolution for a UCARE Community Grant for Housekeeping Services of $11,000 to serve those over the age of 65. She then resolved to receive a $6,400 grant from Medica for training staff and community partners on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion provided by the Greater Mankato Council. The Board approved both grants unanimously.

Anti-violence intervention project and UCARE contract

Warmack then asked the council for a contract with the Abuse Intervention Project to provide supervised visitation services to families in Polk County who are separated and have foster children and need contact and visitation. until December 31, 2023. His final point was that Polk County Social Services and Polk County Public Health recommended ending their contractual relationship with UCARE and providing care coordination services to their Special Needs Basic Care (SNBC) product as they undergo a program change to revamp the product. She noted that the services and public health had recently received numerous complaints about UCARE, and that the new plans would increase the number of cases they would receive by 200, which they could not handle properly. “UCARE is changing its pricing structure and is looking for different partners to provide this service in our community. So we support the separation of this contract,” Warmack said. Warmack explained that the different fee structure will reduce payment rates for care coordination and require the addition of additional staff, which their current fee structure does not support. The board approved the motion unanimously.


Polk County Administrator Chuck Whiting then approached the board for an update on management information services, noting that he had named network administrator Levi Webster as director per interim from the GIS department and asked the board to approve a spending authority for the use of the supply map. As well as for him to endorse the authority for the Acting Director of GIS to buy things with a limit of $10,000 for a single item and a cumulative limit of $20,000. The board approved the motion unanimously.

US bailout status and 2023 budget update

Whiting then presented a request from University of Minnesota Crookston Chancellor Mary Holz-Clause for the Crookston Rotary Club to apply for ARP funds to be used for a tuition program to advance literacy and development. labor in the county for $148,000. Whiting then went into a county budget update for 2023, noting that they were currently over their limit of $721,565, with requests from the Highways Department and the Landfill Department for $600,000 each, but was expecting some decisions and agreements. “The Town of Fertile made improvements to the Agassiz Recreational Learning Center for $144,000. They are planning to upgrade the buildings so we are waiting to hear from them,” Whiting said. “The Town of Crookston has made a few requests for lift station upgrades and a well field study, and we’re waiting to hear them, so we’ll follow up soon.” Commissioner Willhite said he will contact Acting Town of Crookston Commissioner Charles “Corky” Reynolds about the station update and hopefully have an answer for him. . He also reported that he was still waiting for some requests but others had changed their usual requests. One was the county’s MCIT dividend notice originally received at $92,453, which was down $72,257 from last year’s dividend, and the Minnesota Worker’s Compensation Reinsurance Association (WCRA ) received a check for $130,344 due to investment returns and favorable claims being better than expected. . Another came from County Program Assistance (CPA), with the state down $11,579 from a year ago at $1,382,824 and taking a net drawdown of $27 million (a increase of 4.35% for 2022).


Council then heard from Deputy Administrator of Environmental Services Jacob Snyder on a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) to Tony and Wanda Sorum for a 1,080 square foot garage for cold storage on a 54,450 square foot lot. on Sarah Lake in Knute Township with Planning Commission Conditions. The board approved the motion unanimously.

Viking CUP Gas Transmission Project

He then provided information on a request sent by Viking Gas to create an extension of approximately 13.2 miles and add two existing valves to their pipeline. The project start date is under the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) review process, as the project will cross four townships in Minnesota and North Dakota, including Grand Forks, and they will need to alert many landowners in the affected area. “They have consultants they work with at other agencies who were trying to research information on the FERC process, a federal review process. So it’s just a matter of navigating and getting the information from the table. Action will need to be taken on this at a future board meeting,” Snyder explained. Snyder explained that the office has issued a CUP to its headquarters in Tabor Township which has a natural gas turbine compressor and asked them to consider the project when more information is shared with staff at planning and zoning.

The Polk County Board of Commissioners will next meet on Tuesday, September 20 at the Polk County Government Center at 8:00 a.m.

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