Local Gov't Accountability Roundup: 11/3/11

INTERNATIONAL FALLS: County Says EPA Rule Will  Significantly Raise Electric Bills and Hurt Competitiveness Koochiching county commissioners took on Environmental Protection Agency regulations that will force up electric bills by 35 percent on top of a recent increase of 17 percent. The EPA is in the process of ordering $500-700 million environmental upgrades in addition to $420 million in upgrades already installed by a North Dakota power that supplies northern Minnesota. EPA is using an anti-haze in national parks to justify the action.

BLAINE: Two Walmarts May be Built at Same Time in Same City Some cities have enough on their hands with one Walmart, but Blaine may be getting two at the same time next summer. Plans are for two Walmarts to be built at the same time next summer in Blaine. The newer proposal is still coming together, but one store has already been approved.

BOCK: Local Post Office May Be Casualty of USPS Cuts It costs about $88,000 a year to operate the local post office, including wages and benefits and power and rent. But the Bock facility may be on the chopping block anyway, as the USPS desperately seeks cost-cutting measures.

BLUE EARTH: Border No Longer to Come Between Minnesota and Iowa County Communications Winnebago County in Iowa and Faribault County in Minnesota have decided to get on the same wave length--literally. Faribault county commissioners have approved participation in a $10,500 Department of Homeland Security grant to improve emergency communication systems with its sister county on the Iowa side of the border.

DODGE COUNTY: No More Calls to Check in on Seniors and Disabled Daily check-up calls to some sixty seniors and individuals with disabilities or sickness came to an end on November 1st. The telephone reassurance program was funded with donations, United Way contributions, and four counties. It ended when Steele County quit contributing funds this year.

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