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Buses on backorder: Buying used is temp fix

NEW ULM — Two new buses ordered last year for Brown County Heartland Express use are not likely to arrive until sometime next year, according to Brown County Human Services Director Barb Dietz’s report to be made May 24 to the Brown County Board.

Dietz will report Heartland Express Transit Coordinator Pat LaCourse learned Trailblazer Transit of Glencoe is selling a bus in excellent working condition with more than 200,000 miles.

“Pat and a city of New Ulm and Brown County Highway Department mechanics checked out the bus and are in favor of this purchase. We are waiting for the Minnesota Department of Transportation to verify if they need a written policy when a transit service purchases a vehicle from another,” according to the report.

Dietz said when that occurs, board permission to buy the bus will be sought with the expectation Heartland Express will be reimbursed by the city of New Ulm, since it will be used for that route.

Dietz said the City Transit Advisory Committee endorses the purchase.

At its Tuesday meeting, the board will also consider:

• Mental Health Local Advisory Council, Bridge on Center and adult and children’s mental health program reviews. Reports list unmet needs including staffing shortages, limited in-person psychiatric care and limited virtual access and continued staff turnover in local mental health agencies.

The New Ulm Medical Center Outpatient Behavioral Health Department is experiencing significant staff turnover and is not currently accepting new clients. It is anticipated to be six months or longer before they will accept new referrals for in-person appointments.

Virtual appointments are available from Allina Health Care but the wait for new appointments is up to 10 weeks.

Southern Minnesota Behavioral Health reports eight clinicians available and new clients are being accepted.

Euonia has three clinicians, two of which are accepting new referrals. Hoffmann Counseling is not accepting any new referrals for ongoing counseling.

A Sleepy Eye provider offers services one day a week. Springfield now has no local access to in-person therapy.

Prairie Care in Mankato recently added a partial hospitalization program for adults. Daily transportation to Mankato is required.

The board will meet at 9 a.m., Tuesday, May 24, in the courthouse commissioner’s room.

(Fritz Busch can be emailed at fbusch@nujournal.com.)

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