Brown County receives AMC Achievement Award

Staff photo by Fritz Busch Brown County Commissioners and Brown County Human Services Director Tom Henderson, front, center, pose with the 2017 County Achievement Award for the Healthy Pathways Program. The award was given to Brown, Dodge, Goodhue, Kennebec, Morrison, Sibley, Steele, Todd, Wabasha, Wadena and Waseca counties from the Association of Minnesota Counties. Brown County Commissioners are from left, Tony Berg, Scott Windschitl, Dean Simonsen, Dave Borchert and Dennis Potter.

NEW ULM — Brown County Human Services Director Tom Henderson humbly described a Healthy Pathways County Achievement Award Brown County recently received from the Association of Minnesota Counties (AMC) Dec. 26.

“It’s about early intervention and prevention for people with mental health issues. It helps counties stay in contact with people after their treatment,” Henderson said at the county board meeting.

The award went to Brown, Dodge, Goodhue, Kanabec, Morrison, Sibley, Steele, Todd, Wabasha, Wadena and Waseca Counties for government innovations that improve Minnesota quality of life.

“There is a lot to be proud of that this happened,” Henderson said.

“It’s a program that Tom (Henderson) has been very involved in getting up and running,” said Commissioner Scott Windschitl.

The Healthy Pathways Program was born from a partnership of key county mental and chemical health leadership with South Country Health Alliance, addressing a care gap due to the shortage of rural mental and chemical health providers. The program helps people in a mental health crisis to get immediate support and avert further issues that often come from untreated mental health symptoms like homelessness, job loss, and financial hardships, etc.

The program is also a transition service for those who received Mental Health Targeted Case Management but no longer need that level of care.

Redwood County received an award for its Children’s Advocacy Center and Blue Earth County for the Yellow Line Project from the AMC.

Commissioners approved:

• By a 4-1 vote with Commissioner Tony Berg dissenting, a 2.75 percent 2018 commissioner salary hike to $24,860 a year.

• 2018 salary hikes for officials not in the salary administration plan. Human Services Director Tom Henderson got a 2.75 percent raise to $110,750; Sheriff Rich Hoffmann 2.97 percent to $104,000; Auditor/Treasurer Jean Prochniak 3.45 percent to $90,000; Highway Engineer Wayne Stevens 2.75 percent to $115,030; County Attorney Chuck Hanson 4.76 percent to $110,000; Recorder Betti Kamolz 3.5 percent to $74,606; and Administrator Chuck Enter 2.75 percent to $120,217.

• A $16,754 calendar year 2018 Child Welfare/Juvenile Justice Screening Grant. The award includes $9,382 for Human Services Child Welfare Services and $7,372 for Probation Department Juvenile Justice.

• 2018 Sioux Trails Mental Health Center Contract for $191,084.82.

• Authorizing $59,000 in revenue fund temporary loans to drainage systems with deficit balances at year end. A 4 percent interest rate will be charged, set at the time annual assessments were established. County Ditch 73 Outlet has above average redetermination of benefits due to ongoing discussions on how the benefits should be allocated, so assessment estimates at not final.

• Accepting a $42,500 2018 Drainage Records Modernization Grant from the Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR). The grant helps pay for drainage record updating with historical data.

• A $30,000 fiscal year 2018 Universal Contact/Follow Along Program to expand prevention and early intervention services to at-risk families and children.

• A $2 Recorder’s Office service fee for all credit/debit card transactions processed. The fee comes very close to a break-even point to recoup finance charges.

• In her annual report, Auditor/Treasurer Jean Prochniak said 86 percent of 149 master drainage projects were collected within 60 days, based on new billing processes.

Prochniak said all of Brown County’s larger cities combined polling places, eliminating six voting machines. In addition, 11 townships opted for mail ballots. Two townships chose to remain independent.

Fritz Busch can be emailed at


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