On August 20, 2021, the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office joined the historic $26 billion multi-state settlement agreements with pharmaceutical distributors McKesson, Cardinal Health, and AmerisourceBergen, and opioid manufacturer Johnson & Johnson. This settlement will bring more than $300 million to Minnesota counties and cities with an anticipated spending start date of August 1, 2022.
Pennington County is committed to reducing the negative impacts associated with opioid use disorders by convening key sectors on an Advisory Council. The Opioid Settlement Advisory Council will guide the spending of National Opioid Settlement dollars to save lives and prevent further damage.
PENNINGTON COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
JUSTICE CENTER BOARD ROOM
FEBRUARY 28TH, 2023 – 10:00 A.M.
Pursuant to adjournment, the Pennington County Board of Commissioners met in the
Pennington County Justice Center Board Room in Thief River Falls, MN, on Tuesday,
February 28th, 2023, at 10:00 a.m. Members Present: Seth Nelson, Bruce Lawrence, Roy
Sourdif, and Neil Peterson. Members present via Zoom: David Sorenson (nonparticipating).
The meeting was called to order by Chairman Peterson and the Pledge of Allegiance was
The Chairman asked if there were any amendments to the agenda. The County
Coordinator noted that Sarah Lefebvre and Kayla Jore of Community Strong have been
added to the agenda at 10:15 a.m. Commissioner Lawrence motioned, seconded by
Commissioner Sourdif, to approve the Board agenda with the change presented. Motion
Recognition of Citizens: None.
Motioned by Commissioner Lawrence, seconded by Commissioner Nelson, to approve
the Board of minutes of February 14th, 2023, as presented. Motion carried.
Motioned by Commissioner Nelson, seconded by Commissioner Sourdif, to approve the
Human Services warrants totaling $290,771.31 and the following Commissioner
warrants. Motion carried.
County Revenue $151,869.13
Road & Bridge $ 62,119.96
Human Services Director Julie Sjostrand presented the consent agenda from the February
16th, 2023, Human Service Committee meeting. On a motion by Commissioner Sourdif
and seconded by Commissioner Nelson, the following recommendations of the
Pennington County Human Service Committee for February 16th, 2023 (detailed minutes
on record) are hereby adopted:
I. To approve the January 17, 2023, Human Service Committee Meeting
II. To approve the Agency’s personnel action as presented.
III. A. To approve the CY 2023-2024 Children’s Mental Health Screening
State of Minnesota Department of Human Services County Grant Contract
I. To approve payment of the Agency’s bills.
Motioned by Commissioner Lawrence, seconded by Commissioner Sourdif, to accept the
resignation of Full-Time Eligibility Worker Trey Kjono effective February 17th, 2023.
Motioned by Commissioner Sourdif, seconded by Commissioner Lawrence, to authorize
the Human Services Director to advertise and interview for the position of Full-Time
Eligibility Worker. Motion carried.
Motioned by Commissioner Nelson, seconded by Commissioner Lawrence, to accept the
resignation of Family-Based Service Provider Katrina Fessler effective March 24th, 2023.
Motion carried. Ms. Sjostrand noted this position is shared with Kittson County and will
need to be discussed with them prior to a decision to advertise.
County Sheriff Seth Vettleson met with the Board regarding the hire of a new employee.
Motioned by Commissioner Lawrence, seconded by Commissioner Sourdif, to approve
the hire of Sara Timm as Part-Time Corrections Officer, contingent upon a successful
background check. Motion carried.
Motioned by Commissioner Lawrence, seconded by Commissioner Nelson, to authorize
the County Sheriff to advertise for the positions of Corrections Officer and
Dispatcher/Jailer. Motion carried.
Sarah Lefebvre and Kayla Jore of Community Strong met with the Board and presented a
program update. Ms. Lefebvre noted that they are taking over the ‘Be The Voice’ mental
health awareness event and have lined up a speaker for the 2023 event. They expressed
their appreciation to the Board for past financial support and asked if they would again be
willing to be a sponsor for the event. Motioned by Commissioner Nelson, seconded by
Commissioner Lawrence, to donate $5,000 to Community Strong in sponsorship of the
‘Be The Voice’ event in 2023. Motion carried.
Assistant County Engineer Alex Bladow requested authorization for the County Engineer
to advertise for bids for the following 2023 projects: road shouldering on the west side of
the county, road striping on the east side of the county, and crack sealing in the center
portion of the county. Motioned by Commissioner Lawrence, seconded by
Commissioner Sourdif, to authorize the County Engineer to advertise for the 2023
projects as stated above. Motion carried.
Mr. Bladow said they hope to have an update soon from Titan Machinery regarding the
tractors we have on order.
County Auditor-Treasurer Items: None.
County Coordinator Items:
Motioned by Commissioner Sourdif, seconded by Commissioner Lawrence, to approve
the hire of Lucas Fornshell as Deputy Auditor-Accounting/Payroll Manager, with an
effective start date of March 13th, 2023. Motion carried.
Coordinator Erickson presented an update on the 3rd floor project at the Government
Center. General demolition began on February 6th and resulted in the exposure of some
asbestos-wrapped pipes. ACCT Inc. was able to come on short notice and wrap, cut, and
remove approximately 150’ of pipe at an approximate cost of $4,000-$5,000. Mr.
Erickson noted that an on-site meeting between the Building Committee, the general
contractor, and the architect will be held during the week of March 6th to discuss the
project, revisions needed, etc.
Mr. Erickson discussed a prior overtime request for Deputy Assessor-Appraiser Ashley
Benson that was referred to the Building Committee on February 14, 2023.
Commissioner Lawrence stated that the Building Committee revised the request from a
maximum of 150 hours to 120 hours to cover the period of March 1, 2023 - May 19,
2023. Motioned by Commissioner Lawrence, seconded by Commissioner Sourdif, to
approve the request for overtime pay for Deputy Assessor-Appraiser Ashley Benson as
stated above. Motion carried.
The County Coordinator stated that MCIT has contracted with a company for appraisals
of county-owned buildings, and they will be on site March 13th, 2023.
Commissioner Lawrence questioned when we can expect the appliances for the newly
remodeled 1st floor breakroom in the Government Center. The County Coordinator will
reach out to Budget Appliance to check on the order status and when we can expect
Motioned by Commissioner Lawrence, seconded by Commissioner Nelson, to approve
the purchase of an ‘owl’ camera system in the amount of $1,049.00, as recommended by
the Technology Committee and to be used in Meeting Room A of the Government
Center. Motion carried.
County Attorney Items: None.
Commissioner Peterson - the recent AMC Conference was changed from in-person to
virtual Zoom due to inclement weather; a Northern Counties Land Use Board meeting
will be held this Thursday in Grand Rapids; Minnesota Rural Counties (MRC) will host a
Zoom meeting this coming Monday.
The Board discussed upcoming legislative actions.
Motioned by Commissioner Nelson, seconded by Commissioner Sourdif, to adjourn the
Board meeting to March 14th, 2023, at 10:00 a.m. Motion carried.
Kevin Erickson, County Coordinator
Neil Peterson, Chairman
Pennington County Board of Commissioners
All Pennington County and city residents may bring thier "junk" to Les's Sanitation, 1345 Hwy 32 S., Thief River Falls for disposal free of charge, excluding the following:
For questions or more information, call 218-681-7312.
Public Input Wanted as County
Updates Hazard Mitigation Plan
Pennington County residents, community leaders, business owners, area agencies and organizations now have an opportunity to share how severe weather events impact their property and lives. There is also an opportunity to share their ideas on how to reduce local impacts in the future.
The Pennington County Office of Emergency Management is working with U-Spatial at the University of Minnesota Duluth to update the county’s Hazard Mitigation Plan (HMP). The plan assesses the natural hazards that pose risk to the county, such as tornadoes, straight line winds, ice storms, blizzards, wildfire, flooding, and extreme temperatures and identifies ways to minimize the damage of future events. As the county works to update the plan, it wants to hear from the public.
The Pennington County HMP is a multi-jurisdictional plan that covers Pennington County, including the cities of Goodridge, St. Hilaire, and Thief River Falls. The Pennington County HMP also incorporates the concerns and needs of townships, school districts, and area agencies or organizations participating in the plan. The plan will be updated by a planning team made up of representatives from county departments, local municipalities, school districts and other key stakeholders. When completed, the plan will be submitted to the Minnesota Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for approval.
“Hazard mitigation planning is a central part of our emergency management program,” said Erik Beitel, Pennington County Emergency Management Director. “Understanding the natural hazards that can cause serious impact to our communities and taking action to reduce or eliminate the impact of future disasters makes us more resilient. Hazard mitigation helps us to break the cycle of damage and repair caused by things like flooding, ice storms, and severe wind events that can damage property, stress economies, and threaten life safety in our county.”
Examples of hazard mitigation include:
• Conducting public outreach on severe weather awareness and preparedness
• Limiting or restricting development in floodplain areas
• Removing existing buildings from flood or erosion prone hazard areas
• Using snow fences to limit blowing and drifting of snow over road corridors
• Constructing tornado safe rooms in vulnerable areas such as mobile home parks
• Burying overhead powerlines that may fail due to heavy snow, ice, or windstorms
Some mitigation activities may be eligible for future FEMA Hazard Mitigation Assistance grant funding.
Public input is an essential part of the plan update. As part of the planning process, Pennington County is seeking
feedback from residents and businesses from across the county to incorporate into the plan:
• What are the natural hazards you feel pose the greatest risk to your community?
• What concerns do you have, and what sorts of actions do you feel would help to reduce damages of future hazard
events in your community or the county as a whole?
Comments, concerns, or questions regarding natural disasters and potential mitigation actions to be included into the plan
update should be submitted to Pennington County Emergency Management by phone, email, or by posting a comment via
a social media posting of this article.
There will be additional opportunities for public feedback throughout the planning process. A draft of the plan will be
made available for public review prior to submission of the plan to the State of Minnesota. Future news releases will be
shared with the media to notify the public of these opportunities.
The Federal Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000 (DMA 2000) requires counties to update their plan every 5 years to maintain
eligibility for FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) grant programs.
Pennington County Emergency Management Director
Phone: (218) 683-7087
NOTICE OF ABSENTEE VOTING LOCATION
ISD 564 (Thief River Falls) will be conducting a special election on November 7, 2023.
ISD 561 (Goodridge) will be conducting a special election on November 7, 2023
ABSENTEE VOTING LOCATION:
Pennington County Government Center
Pennington County Auditor-Treasurer
101 Main Avenue North
Thief River Falls, MN 56701
September 22 – November 6, 2023
Normal Business Hours
Monday – Friday, 8:00 am – 4:30 pm
Saturday, November 4, 2023 - 9:00 am – 3:00 pm
Monday, November 6, 2023 - 8:00 am – 5:00 pm