(The following news release comes from Hennepin County.)
County Board Actions includes summaries of only a portion of the total actions of the board, selected for general news interest. For complete information on all resolutions and actions by the board, see the information below.
New Webber Park Library removed from budget
The Hennepin County Board of Commissioners removed the New North Minneapolis (Webber Park) Library from the capital project budget – cancelling plans for a new library and, instead, allocating $500,000 for improvements to the old library in 2013.
The action was taken because efforts to assemble properties for the site of the new library – in particular, a parcel at 1423 45th Ave. N. – were unsuccessful. Acquisition of that site was considered essential.
Plans to replace the current library with a new, green, state-of-the-art facility first appeared in the capital budget in 2007. The county subsequently assembled parcels adjacent to Victory Memorial Drive.
The remaining portion of the $12-million allocation for the new library will be absorbed back into the capital budget and considered for other use. Decisions also will be made about what to do with property already acquired for the site.
County to purchase armored rescue and response vehicle
The board approved an agreement accepting grant funding for a special-purpose emergency vehicle for the Sheriff’s Office.
The CBRNE (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosive) rescue and incident response vehicle – the only one of its kind in the Upper Midwest – will be owned and maintained by the Sheriff’s Office and made available to area law enforcement agencies and special operations units. The $417,700 purchase price will be funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security: Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
County to explore prescription drug discount program for residents
The board approved a resolution, offered by Commissioner Randy Johnson, to explore the county’s participation in a prescription drug discount program.
Similar programs are offered by other counties and are credited with considerable savings for residents off the full retail cost of various prescription medications. Programs are tailored to each county, yet offer similar savings to residents. The board was briefed about these programs by the National Association of Counties (NACo) in 2007, and Ramsey and Dakota counties implemented programs at that time. Since then NACo and the corporate vendor of the programs say residents have saved more than $448 million for more than 32 million prescription purchases at local pharmacies.
Hennepin is uniquely positioned to distribute the discount cards through its libraries, human services sites, NorthPoint Health and Wellness Center and employment service providers. The program would be of no cost to the county or to taxpayers.
The county administrator will prepare a Request for Proposals to identify/develop such a program and bring a recommendation to the board by Aug. 21.
County accepts state grant for Minnesota African American Museum and Cultural Center
The board approved agreements with the State of Minnesota and the Minnesota African American Museum and Cultural Center for the county to receive $1 million in state grants on behalf of the center.
Grant funding for museums must pass through a public entity, and Hennepin County has acted as legal sponsor for the project, including submitting the state bonding request. To qualify for the state funding, the center is required to raise matching nonstate funds. To date they have received documented donations of more than $1.1 million.
The state grant agreement assigns Hennepin the responsibility of ensuring that the center will operate for approximately 50 years. The county reports to the state yearly on the progress of the center and its compliance with state bonding requirements. Funding will be used for renovation, furnishing and equipping the first and second floors into gallery space – expected to be completed next fall. Total budget for this phase of the project is $2 million.
The museum, located in the historic Coe Mansion at 1700 Third Ave. S. in south Minneapolis, will hold its first exhibit June 2.
Penn Avenue Community Works Project approved
The board approved the Penn Avenue Community Works Project, which will be located along Penn Avenue between Highway 55 and 44th Avenue North. The project aims to further stimulate economic recovery, beautification, livability and job creation in north Minneapolis.
This stretch of Penn Avenue is the home of major housing and neighborhood activity centers providing commercial services and employment opportunities to surrounding neighborhoods. The project is strategically located to serve as a focal point for redevelopment in north Minneapolis and assist recovery from the destructive forces of the 2011 tornado, the foreclosure crisis and the current economic recession.
A plan for the project will be developed throughout the next four months, including project goals, participating organizations, an organizational structure, work plan and budget.
STS Homes, Summit Academy to construct camper cabins for DNR
The board approved an agreement with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for camper cabin construction by STS (Sentencing to Service) Homes program participants at Summit Academy in north Minneapolis.
STS Homes – a program in which offenders learn construction skills and rehabilitate homes in community restoration projects – has partnered with the DNR since 2007 to construct camper cabins for state parks. The agreement has been for the construction of 12 cabins – seven have been built to date.
Last year STS Homes and Summit Academy established a partnership in which STS Homes participants receive classroom training from and are certified by Summit’s Rehabilitation Technician Program. This will be the first cabin constructed under the new partnership with Summit. After successful construction of the cabin – i.e., it meets all DNR specifications – Summit will become the new construction site for all cabins in the future.
Volunteer appointed to Capital Budgeting Task Force
The board appointed Kathleen Murdock of Plymouth to serve on the Capital Budgeting Task Force, which reviews the county’s capital budget and submits recommendations to the County Board and the five-year capital improvement program.
For more information on advisory boards and to apply online, go to the Hennepin County website – www.hennepin.us/volunteering.
Indicating a measure has passed the board does not imply a unanimous vote. The actions of the Hennepin County Board, including a record of how individual commissioners voted, are posted under “Hennepin County Board Meetings” on the front page of the Hennepin County website – www.hennepin.us. This portion of the site includes agendas, minutes and resolutions for all committee and full board meetings. Also, from time to time, individual commissioners may post their own viewpoints, news and information on their own websites.
If you’d like to watch committee and full board meetings, they are generally broadcast live on Tuesdays, beginning at 1:30 p.m., and rebroadcast the Friday following the meeting beginning at 8 p.m., on Metro Cable Network/Channel 6.
Meetings also are streamed live on the Hennepin website. Look under “Hennepin County Board Meetings,” “Board meeting videos.” Archived videos of past meetings also are available on that site.