Beltrami County Board meetings focus on housing, lobbying

The Beltrami County Board learned more about a homelessness prevention grant that focuses on ensuring no child is homeless within a local government’s jurisdiction.

The over $700,000 in new state funding needs to be spent by the end of next year, with Health and Human Services’ Jeff Lind raising the issue of how to fund housing for struggling families when there’s little housing available in the county.

Lind discussed an idea for the dollars to be put to use in a wide-ranging “Housing Trust Fund” that was implemented in Crow Wing County.

The board did not take any formal action but directed staff to continue working on the idea.

In the regular meeting, the board held a brief reception for outgoing Commissioners Reed Olson and Jim Lucachick, and the swearing-in of new commissioners Joe Gould and John Carlson, as well as re-elected commissioners Tim Sumner, Richard Anderson and Craig Gaasvig, and new Sheriff Jason Riggs.

The board also discussed the possibility of engaging a legislative lobbyist to work specifically on the county’s legislative asks, such as the application for a local option sales tax and a bonding request to fund a new county jail.

Carlson, a former state senator, spoke in favor of it, as did Gould, a former legislative aid and lobbyist.

No formal action was taken in the meeting, but staff was directed to get quotes from agencies.

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