Migrant health trailer OK’d

BLUE EARTH – Blue Earth City Council will allow a medical trailer for migrant workers to operate in town, but not on city-owned land.

Migrant Health Service Inc. of Moorhead asked to set up a trailer at the fairgrounds. It would be staffed with physician assistants and nurse practitioners, and be open for a few unspecified days in late June.

City Administrator Kathy Bailey asked council members Monday if they want to set a precedent regarding a vendor setting up on public property, possibly opening things up for multiple requests from all types of vendors.

Councilman Glenn Gaylord asked if the medical trailer will be a conflict with United Hospital District.

“They would provide the same services as UHD,” Bailey replied.

Councilman John Huisman asked if anyone could get treatment.

Councilwoman Chelsey Haase looked up the organization’s website and read that the trailer will be for people employed as farm workers, and those disabled or retired.

Both Huisman and Mayor Rick Scholtes said it would be better if the trailer was on a private site. On the other hand, Huisman did not want to deprive low-income people of a chance to receive health care.

“Lots of questions here that don’t have answers,” Gaylord said.

He made a motion to deny the permit, but it died for lack of a second.

“I wish we had more information; I wish we had references,” Scholtes said.

Bailey has tried to contact communities where the Migrant Health Service trailer has been, but she was not gaining a lot of information.

Councilman John Gartzke thought the school would be a more appropriate location and wanted to contact the district.

City Attorney David Frundt said the permit and location are two separate issues and the city does not have an obligation to help Migrant Health Service find an alternative site.

In the end, the council approved the permit, but stated that Migrant Health Service will have to seek a location other than city property. Gaylord was the lone dissenting vote.

In other news, Bailey announced that the city will get an increase in state aid, totalling $237,405. She added the state has cautioned cities not to view the funding increase as long term, but as a one-time thing.

Scholtes said the money should go into the debt services fund and be used for street projects or the industrial park, but he also advised caution.

“We don’t got it yet; it’s not set in stone,” he said.

In old business, Scholtes asked that members of Faribault County Humane Society be invited to the next meeting. He reminded the council that the city’s agreement with the group has expired and they are all still operating under the old agreement. He wants to “tweak” the old agreement and present it to the council and the Humane Society at the next meeting.

Revisiting an old topic, Gaylord said Fifth and Sixth streets still have not been opened after a train derailment in April and people want to know why.

City Engineer Wes Brown has been in contact with the Minnesota Department of Transportation, explaining to it that if the streets are not open, that fact will affect how people detour around Highway 169 construction.

Bailey added there is a process the state must go through to formally close those streets over the tracks.

“I think we made it clear we want those streets open,” Gaylord said.