Updates: new website, upcoming elections, solar farm, mental health facility, Justice system, farmer’s market, Seneca, POTH, & home rehabilitation.

Communication Improvements

Olmsted County is working on a re-design of the county’s website. I have supported this effort because the website should be more user friendly.  There is a huge amount of information that can be found on county’s website but it is difficult to find and very difficult to navigate. I am hopeful that the re-design will make the website easier to use and find information.

Getting ready for the 2020 Elections

The County is responsible for managing the election process and for accounting for the voting process and for tallying the votes.  In order to assure that all citizens have the opportunity to vote and to assure that any wait time to vote is reasonable, Olmsted County as purchased e-Poll books.  These are electronic devises that will replace the paper rosters.  (The paper rosters are the huge book that the election judges use to look you up on the voter roster and then you sign when you vote.)  This will reduce the time to prepare for each election.

Also, please note that the polling place for presidential primary will be at the 4-H building at Graham Park.  This will provide a more accessible place for voters.  The polling place for the General Election will be at a different location.  Voters will still be able to vote early.

Let the Sun Shine In

A site in Haverhill township was abandoned after the previous owner allowed illegal dumping of chemicals and other trash.  The county is in the process of cleaning up the website so it can be returned to a useful purpose.  I support the county’s efforts to investigate the possibility of using the site for a solar farm.  The income that can be generated from this enterprise can be used defray other county expenses and to assist in keeping our levy rate low.

Emergency Mental Health Facility

The county will soon break ground for an emergency mental health facility that will serve Olmsted and surrounding counties.  Olmsted is one of a very few counties that received funds for such a facility.  Currently, the only way to meet this need is the jail system or to find a treatment center that may be in another state; this is an enormous expense for the county.  Olmsted will now be better able to administer the proper care to this population in a facility that is designed to meet the medical and psychiatric needs of the client.  With proper treatment the clients can be served better and return to the community with the help that they need.  I have supported the efforts of the county to receive state funds to build this facility.  It will be staffed by a variety of community services.

Justice System Space

The county has released an RFP (Request for Proposals) for concepts to expand the Justice System Space.  This is needed because the county will be adding a judge now probably adding another judge in the near future.  A judge is added when the case loads and trials increase.  Since Olmsted County is the largest in population of the surrounding areas, we get more cases than other counties.  No design proposals or cost estimates for increasing this space is available at this time.

Farmers Market

Olmsted is in discussion with the Farmers Market to move its location to Graham Park.  The move, when accomplished, fits into the Parks Master Plan.  More space and better parking is available at Graham Park than in its current location.

Seneca Property

Olmsted County now owns the site of the former Seneca canning plant the corn water tower.  I did not support the $5.6 million dollars purchase of this site. However, I am actively working with the rest of the county board to make sure that it will find a useful purpose and that the county can recover some or all of the $5.6 million dollars.

POTH Program

The Publicly Owned Transition Housing program owns four single family homes that are dedicated to transition families who are homeless or at risk of being homeless to permanent housing.  Families are allowed to stay in the units for up to 24 months while they work with county services to move into permanent housing. Low-income guidelines must be met by the families who qualify.  The rent for these units will be increased from $700/month to $800/month. This is necessary in order to sustain the program.

Home Rehabilitation

If you know of low-income elderly who are in need of home rehabilitation in order for them to live in their house safely.  Please contact the county’s HRA office to find out if they would qualify for home rehabilitation funds.

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