By Beth Bily
The language, as it currently stands, in Senate File 2 has been officially opposed by Itasca County Commissioners.
At their regular board meeting last week, commissioners took an official position in opposition to the proposed legislation on the grounds that it would be harmful to the county’s trails, and thus its tourism industry.
The language was introduced into the state legislature this year as part of an overall transportation bill. Language in the bill would end earmarked funds from the state’s gas tax to its grant-in-aid program, which helps fund and maintain numerous snowmobile and ATV trails throughout the county.
Commissioner Davin Tinquist summed up the board’s opposition with: “We know how important trails are to our local economy.”
Land Commissioner Kory Cease also noted that the bill’s language would have a detrimental effect on forest access road account funding.
The board passed a motion to oppose the legislative language with four commissioners voting in favor. Commissioner Mark Mandich was not present for the vote.
In other business, the board:
• Recognized county employees having reached milestone years of continuous service.
• Conducted a legislative conference call with newly elected Rep. Sandy Layman, R – Cohasset. Layman called the start to the 90th session of the state Legislature a “wild ride” with unfinished business from last year dominating early action.
• Approved payment of warrants in the amount of $1,857,401.64.
• Approved payment of Health and Human Services warrants in the amount of $1,581,146,79
• Received an introduction to newly hired Support Within Reach Executive Director Caroline Larson.
• Approved the minutes of the Itasca County Health and Human Services Advisory Committee meeting dated Jan. 12.
• Listened to an update on child protection cases. So far this year, the county has opened 33 new cases in 2017. Family Services Division Manager Becky Lauer told commissioners, “I don’t know that we’re going to see an end to this (uptick in child protection cases) anytime soon.”