Property owners in Sherburne County may be paying more in taxes due to provisions in the new Affordable Care Act. Tuesday, Director of Health & Human Services Ken Ebel told the county board the Act will expand eligibility for thousands of people. And it will lead to a significant increase in requests for services from the county HHS department. Ebel said projections show HHS might be handling an additional 2,000 to 2,200 individuals in Sherburne County who will become eligible for medical assistance (MA) programs. “Basically, all of that population that was not eligible for the MA program, it’s going to open it up to them,” he said. Even though actual medical benefits aren’t the county’s responsibility, processing each claim will be. And it’s mandated by the state. Ebel said it’s going to be a problem for almost every HHS department because counties are going to be handling thousands more caseloads. “All the counties are alarmed by this,” he said. “And unfortunately, we’re going to have to increase our staff.” Income Maintenance Supervisor Gina Anderson said staff members can handle up to 250 cases each. “But anything over that, there can be issues with cases not being processed timely. And we start to see errors,” she said. “I would guess we would need anywhere between seven and nine (additional) staff to accommodate the increase.” Commissioner Felix Schmiesing asked what the cost impact would be to hire that many new staff. Ebel said it would be about $50,000 to $55,000 per staff person, with the state picking up half the cost. But he said because no one knows for sure yet the true increase, it might be prudent to hire temporary employees for a year. “But we’re still talking about a couple hundred thousand dollars,” Schmiesing said. “And that is tax levy dollars.” Road Bids The board awarded three bids for upcoming county road projects, subject to final review by the county attorney and county engineer. Helmin Construction Inc. was awarded the contract for the 2013 turn lane and culvert replacement projects on County State Aid Highways 4, 5, 9, 15, 16, and County Roads 121 & 30, at $299,537.13. Other bidders were: Central Specialties Inc. $757,792.88; Dresel Contracting Inc. $676,772.20; Fehn Comp. $426,447.80; Knife River Corp. $398,673.68; Marvin Tretter, Inc. $551,699.83; Midwest Contracting, LLC $498,578.45; M.L. Schendzielos and Sons, Inc. $520,766.61. Allied Blacktop Company was awarded the contract for bituminous sealcoating of various county roads at $371,282.41. Other bidders were: Asphalt Surface Technologies Corp. $404,641.17; Caldwell Asphalt Company Inc. $480,687.93 and Fahrner Asphalt Sealers, LLC $649,324.39. AAA Striping Service Co. was awarded the contract for pavement marking at $213,516.65. Other bidders were: Century Fence Company $325,741.60 and Traffic Marking Service Inc. $214,311.22. The county will be saving quite a bit on the three projects. All three winning bids were lower than the engineer’s estimates listed below: Turn Lane & Culvert Replacements: $490,457.90; Bituminous Seal Coat: $434,922.40; Pavement Marking: $217,609.60 Other Business In other action the board: * Approved the 2013 Annual County Boat and Water Safety Grant Agreement with the DNR in the amount of $11,462; * Approved HHS applying for a Drug-Free Communities grant for $125,000; * Approved a labor agreement addendum to provide the same Health & Wellness Incentive to Teamsters Local 320, Corrections Supervisors Unit, as provided to non-union employees; * Approved a resolution of support for Hwy. 10 and Hwy. 169 corridor improvements; * Approved a grant request for $16,000 from the Pohlad Family Foundation for summer camp scholarships to financially disadvantaged youth; * Approved the recertification of Central MN Mental Health Center as a provider of Adult Rehabilitative Mental Health Services; * Approved sending Income Maintenance Supervisors Gina Anderson and Cathy Stubbs to the National Eligibility Workers Conference in Miami in August, 2013; * Proclaimed April 2013 as Professional Social Work Month; * Authorized the transfer of $1,791,386.76 from the Land & Building Fund to the Debt Service Fund to pay off the 2004B Law Enforcement Revenue Bonds; * Approved reimbursing townships and cities up to $0.75 each for gopher bounties in 2013.