BEMIDJI -- Beltrami County Veteran Services Officer Scotty Allison informed commissioners about his intentions to retire in the next few years.

During the commissioners' meeting Tuesday, Alison gave a presentation recapping data from the last several months and providing insight on the process for hiring a new person for the position. Allison said his plan is to retire in July 2022, but preparations should begin for hiring his replacement soon.

According to Allison, the next training to be certified for the office is in June 2021 and the whole process can take nearly a year. Allison did say, though, that if the county were to hire an individual who's already working as a certified officer, he would agree to retire earlier after a shorter transition period.

During the earlier part of his presentation, Allison informed the board that as of September 2019, there were 2,884 veterans living in Beltrami County. This number, Allison said, marks a 16% decrease over the last decade, as there were 3,435 veterans in the county in 2010 and 3,183 in 2015.

Despite the decline, though, Allison said Beltrami County's veteran population remains relatively high in Minnesota. Out of 87 counties, only 20 have a higher veteran population than Beltrami.

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Allison also informed the board Tuesday about how many veterans his office works with regularly. From August 2019-March 2020, he said there were 147 scheduled appointments, amounting to about four per week. Allison's office also had 363 walk-in visits.

In total, Beltrami County veterans have received $32.4 million in support from the Veterans Affairs department.

Health and Human Services Grants

The board also heard a presentation from Health and Human Services Department staff Tuesday about the number of grants the county had received in 2019. According to the presentation, the county has received $6.28 million in grants for a number of purposes.

The Social Services division of the department has received $3.38 million, with benefiting programs including:

  • The Adult Mental Health Initiative received $595,725.
  • The Community Support Program for the Adult Mental Health Initiative receiving $226,413.
  • Crisis care for the Adult Mental Health Initiative receiving $641,560
  • Adult protection work receiving $16,141.
  • Child protection efforts awarded $321,351.
  • Respite care for children's mental health received $20,237.
  • $23,540 for children's mental health screenings.
  • $110,609 granted for semi-independent living services.
  • Family assessment response work awarded $35,814.
  • Parent support outreach work received $21,938.
  • The county's Successful Transition to Adulthood for Youth, or STAY program, awarded $23,200.
  • The First Steps to Healthy Families program received $108,845.
  • $10,000 was awarded to family support efforts.
  • $173,000 was awarded to help individuals transition to the community from treatment centers.

For the Economic Assistance division, the department received $1.9 million for the following efforts:

  • $733,657 for the Child Care Assistance Program.
  • $16,782 for emergency general assistance.
  • $1.07 million for the county's consolidated fund.
  • $10,058 for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, employment and training.
  • $120,000 for the Family Investment Program.

In the Public Health division, the department received $955,374 in grants. The funding was for the following efforts:

  • $253,464 for care dedicated to women, infants and children.
  • $147,556 for in-home visiting.
  • $53,860 for temporary assistance for needy families
  • A local public health grant of $208,703.
  • $198,978 for children and teen checkup efforts.
  • $44,925 for public health and emergency preparedness.
  • $2,024 for the Minnesota Follow Along Program, which assists in children's development.
  • Maternal child health care efforts received $54,864.

More recently, the county also received $38,203 through a COVID-19 emergency response grant and $20,527 for the first six months of 2020 for programs dedicated to family group decision making.