County Notes 6/14/13

County applies for parks grant

Washington County will seek a $775,000 grant from the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council for natural resources restoration in county parks after the Board of Commissioners approved the application Tuesday.

The county’s proposed natural resource restoration projects were approved by the 2013 Legislature but Gov. Mark Dayton exercised his line-item veto on the projects.
After his line-item veto, Dayton instructed the Metropolitan Council to move the projects through the Lessard-Sams panel. Applications for funds through the outdoor heritage council were due Thursday.

Projects the county seeks funds for are wetland restoration at Lake Elmo Park Reserve and forest restoration in the LEPR, St. Croix Bluffs and Cottage Grove Ravine regional parks.

Schwarz joins BCWD board

Sharon Schwarz of Grant was appointed to the Brown’s Creek Watershed District Board of Directors Tuesday by the Washington County Board of Commissioners.

Schwarz’s term expires Oct. 21, 2015. Watershed districts are set up by state law to regulate and protect groundwater use and other issues related to water flow and flood control.

Firm to do road project inspections

Bolton & Menk, Inc., will perform construction engineering inspection on County Roads 62 and 63 and Government Center parking lot improvements after the Washington County Board of Commissioners approved the contract Tuesday.

The company, which did the project’s design engineering, will be paid more than $198,000 from bond proceeds for engineering and roadway inspection, construction observation, contract administration and landscaping inspection.

The project will repave streets, repair curbs and storm water infrastructure and improve utilities, sidewalks and trails on County Roads 62 and 63 around the Government Center, along with improving the facility’s parking lots.

Fraud plan, grant request approved

Renewal of a fraud investigation plan and a grant application to fund the plan through June 30, 2015, was approved Tuesday by the Washington County Board of Commissioners.

The Fraud Prevention Investigation program is a partnership of county public assistance program staff and the county Sheriff’s Office investigators to ensure appropriate benefits are issued to persons eligible to receive them.

The program focuses on quickly identifying and resolving cases in which applicants receive undeserved benefits. County investigators address welfare fraud as theft and use the state’s criminal or civil courts to recover benefits from person ineligible to receive them.

More than 200 investigations were done in 2012, with benefits stopped in 75 percent of the cases. Investigators also found file discrepancies in 71 percent of investigations and identified more than $174,000 in benefit overpayments.

County officials said the for every $1 spent on administration costs, a $3.58 benefit was realized.

The county seeks state and federal funds, managed by the state Department of Human Services, for $87,000 this year, $175,000 for 2014, and $87,000 for 2015.

Compiled by Erik Sandin – erik.sandin@ecm-inc.com

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