Reorganization is necessary as commission to pull out of joint powers board
WILLMAR -- A decision by the Upper Minnesota Valley Regional Development Commission to pull out of a joint powers agreement for the Minnesota River Area Agency on Aging has forced the three remaining regional development commissions to reorganize...
WILLMAR -- A decision by the Upper Minnesota Valley Regional Development Commission to pull out of a joint powers agreement for the Minnesota River Area Agency on Aging has forced the three remaining regional development commissions to reorganize as a new joint powers organization.
Those three remaining regional development commissions -- including the Mid-Minnesota Development Commission based in Willmar -- also must reapply to the state to become the service provider to the 27 southwestern counties currently served by the Minnesota River Area Agency on Aging.
The Minnesota River Area Agency on Aging provides funds and services for elderly residents, such as nutrition sites.
Don Winckler, executive director of the Mid-Minnesota Development Commission, said the application process to become the service provider is competitive and open to private and nonprofit agencies.
The application to the state is due in October.
At its meeting Tuesday, the Kandiyohi County Board of Commissioners approved a resolution for the new joint powers board to submit an application to the Minnesota Board on Aging to administer services for the 27 counties. Along with the Mid-Minnesota Development Commission, the new joint powers agreement includes regional development commissions that are based in Slayton and Mankato.
The Upper Minnesota Valley Regional Development Commission, based in Appleton, was apparently dissatisfied with the funding distribution and decisions of the joint powers board. Upper Minnesota Valley voted in May to leave the joint powers board effective Dec. 31.
Winckler said that the Upper Minnesota Valley commission had concerns about communication, staffing and the budget.
He said Upper Minnesota Valley commissioners complained they weren't receiving a fair share of the Title III funding. Title III refers to federal funds administered through the Older Americans Act that may be used for such things as nutrition sites, home-delivered meals and caregiver respite.
Winckler told the Kandiyohi County Commissioners on Tuesday that those five counties -- Swift, Big Stone, Chippewa, Lac qui Parle and Yellow Medicine -- actually received an average of 18 percent of the funding over three years while the percentage of their elderly population was less than 12 percent.
When contacted, Paul Michaelson, executive director of the Upper Minnesota Valley RDC, confirmed to the Tribune on Tuesday that the commission had voted to withdraw from the joint powers agreement, but he said he did not want to comment on the reasons for the action.
Even though the Upper Minnesota Valley RDC has withdrawn from the joint powers board, the five counties in that region will remain under the Minnesota River Area Agency on Aging.
"The counties aren't pulling out," said Winckler. "It's the RDC that serves those five counties that's pulling out."
Winckler said he believes the Upper Minnesota Valley RDC had hoped to join the area to the north, called Land of the Dancing Sky Area Agency on Aging, but that move was not approved and the state refused to redraw the boundaries for the southwest region.
In other action at Tuesday's County Board meeting:
n The commissioners held a public meeting to take comments regarding the draft environmental assessment worksheet scoping study for a gravel mine proposed by New London Concrete Products in Roseville Township. The scoping study is the precursor to an environmental impact statement that is required for the gravel pit. No one from the public was present to make comments.
n A joint powers agreement between the county and state was approved to place warning signals, including crossing arms, at a railroad crossing on County Road 127, just off of U.S. Highway 12.
n The commissioners approved a plan to repair County Ditch 40 in Whitefield Township. The cost -- estimated at $4,000 to $5,000 -- will be split among four property owners. Landowner Duane Holthusen, who will be responsible for paying 42 percent of the cost, objected to the plan. He said he will be paying money to have more of his land flooded while one of his neighbors will receive the greater benefit at a lower cost.