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Photo by Fritz Busch This sign in the window of Keep Me Safe, a supervised visitation center that operates through the Committee Against Domestic Abuse, offers instructions on how victims of domestic abuse and their children can get help. ‘assistance. Keep Me Safe recently advised the Brown County Department of Social Services that it will be closing its New Ulm office due to a lack of state financial support.

NEW ULM — The county’s landfill fee was raised from $45 to $55 a ton Tuesday in a unanimous vote by Brown County Council.

The council has set a mandatory public hearing into the matter for Tuesday, September 20.

The action came on a motion by commissioner Dean Simonsen of Sleepy Eye seconded by Scott Windschitl of New Ulm.

The county landfill changed from a volume-based tipping fee to a weight-based tipping fee in June. Minnesota state data and area county tipping fees were considered when setting tipping fees last year. Two counties in the area increased their fees after Brown County set its fees.

Tipping fee revenue is lower than expected because carrier weights are significantly lighter than expected, creating less tipping fee revenue, according to the council’s request. In response, the Brown County Solid Waste Advisory Board recommended raising the tipping fee.

“Revenues (from landfills) have not kept up with expenses. The loads were lighter than expected,” said Brown County zoning administrator Laine Sletta.

Board rejects investment policy change

Due to a change in state law, the board unanimously approved a resolution not to revise the county’s out-of-home placement policy, on a motion by Commissioner Jeff Veerkamp of Comfrey seconded by Dave Borchert from New Ulm.

Veerkamp said he opposes revising the out-of-home placement fee policy because he still believes parents should have some responsibility in paying out-of-home placement fees of their children’s homes.

Windschitl said the home placement fee policy may change at a later date.

Changes signed into law on June 2 require a social services agency to consider the best interests of the child when deciding whether to make a child support referral or set parental fees. It also added a condition for child support orders.

Days after the law was passed, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued updated guidelines allowing for the default position of not pursuing assignment in foster care cases in due to the lack of profitability and the best interests of the child.

The revision would no longer have made it a requirement or recommended that Medicaid-eligible children seek child support from the custodial parent.

Shuttered shelter short financing

Brown County Social Services Director Barb Dietz said the Brown County Social Services Children’s Supervisor received a message from Keep Me Safe, the supervised visiting center that operates through the Committee Against domestic violence.

“Due to the lack of increased state funding for our programming, we decided we could no longer afford the size of our current office in New Ulm and needed to downsize,” read the message.

“Unfortunately, this means that we will no longer have enough space to provide supervised parenting time and exchanges and have made the difficult decision to close the New Ulm KMS Center when the contract ends at the end of December,” read the message.

“This is a decision based solely on funding issues. Should additional funds and/or different space arise, we will gladly continue the service in New Ulm in the future. We are unable to predict when this might happen,” the added message.

(Fritz Busch can be emailed to [email protected])



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