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Service & Program Highlights
Ramsey County's Service Teams used county funds to deliver high-quality services, complete major projects and accomplish key initiatives in 2018.
Highlights of the county's work in 2018 are organized below by Service Team.
Health and Wellness
- Veterans Services assisted many of our military veterans, an estimated 25,000 of whom live in Ramsey County, by connecting them and their families to earned benefits. In 2018, the 100th anniversary of Veterans Day, the department added a veterans social worker to provide direct service, including long-term case management, to elderly and disabled veterans facing health and housing crises.
- We honored three organizations and three individuals for their exemplary efforts at the fourth annual Public Health Awards held during National Public Heath Week.
- Healthcare Services continued efforts to develop and maintain a comprehensive approach to improve outcomes and stability for individuals with behavioral health needs who come into contact with the criminal justice system.
- Community Corrections supervised and worked with more than 20,000 adult and juvenile offenders through probation and at the Correctional Facility, Juvenile Detention Center and Boys Totem Town. The populations in these programs continue to decline as increasing numbers of offenders are successfully reintegrated into the community through non-detention alternatives.
- Financial Assistance Services and Social Services staff assisted thousands of clients every day, connecting these residents with support to help meet their basic needs. Staff also made significant process on a project to improve the customer experience for clients using walk-up services in the lobby of our Government Center East building.
- Financial Assistance Services and Property Management responded to the need for temporary emergency housing for unsheltered individuals by expanding the number of beds to 64 and service hours in the Government Center East building’s Winter Safe Space.
- The Adoption division worked with families to finalize 100 adoptions throughout the year including 21 children who found their forever homes on National Adoption Day. Ramsey County also became the first agency in Minnesota to receive the Human Rights Campaign’s All Children-All Families Seal of Recognition. With this recognition, the county is designated as a leader in achieving safety, permanency and well-being of LGBTQ youth and families.
- Environmental health staff helped residents safely dispose of, recycle or repair hundreds of thousands of tons of yard and organic waste, household hazardous waste, unused medicines and other materials. Organics recycling was expanded with free kits available at yard waste sites. Staff worked with partner city Saint Anthony in 2018 to prepare an organics recycling site now available in that city.
- Social Services and Public Health continued to partner around raising awareness of mental health issues through targeted outreach efforts.
Safety and Justice
- Telecommunicators and dispatchers in the Emergency Communications Center (ECC) handled nearly 322,000 emergency and 435,000 non-emergency calls for service. Staff also handled 892 text contacts throughout this first year of text-to-911 service. ECC and partner the Ramsey County Fire Chiefs Association were also recognized with a local Government Innovation Award for the closest unit dispatching project which has proved to save lives and reduce property damage.
- Emergency Management & Homeland Security participated in a multi-agency training response to a vegetable oil spill/hostage situation/bomb threat on the Mississippi River. The division also prepared the county to be ready for potential emergencies all year long.
- Correctional officers and Sheriff’s deputies provided for the safety, security and transportation of hundreds of inmates each day at the Adult Detention Center (ADC). 2018 was the first year in which the majority of staff serving at the ADC have been women and persons of color.
- As a part of the county’s Start by Believing initiative launched in April 2016, the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office’s released its ground-breaking sexual assault case review in April. The study examined the strengths and weaknesses of our system response, including law enforcement, prosecution and victim advocacy.
- The Sheriff’s Office began providing law enforcement services to Falcon Heights (pop. 5,600) under a new contract. The office also serves the Ramsey County communities of Arden Hills, Little Canada, North Oaks, Shoreview, Vadnais Heights and White Bear Township under contract.
- Fourty-seven teams of ambassadors from the Sheriff’s Office, Attorney’s Office, Community Corrections, Emergency Communications and Emergency Management & Homeland Security visited 198 Night to Unite events in suburban Ramsey County communities.
Economic Growth and Community Investment
- Ramsey County Library expanded its hosting of naturalization ceremonies at multiple locations, welcoming 128 new citizens from 61 countries.
- Staff from the former Ramsey Conservation District joined our organization as the new Soil & Water Conservation division of Parks & Recreation. This alignment creates new opportunities to strengthen our work to best conserve our natural resources.
- From surveying to striping, Public Works staff completed numerous road maintenance projects and major construction projects. The department also expanded its Snowplow Operator Training with local partners as one aspect of recognized winter maintenance efforts to keep us all safe on our 300 miles of county roads and bridges.
- Workforce Solutions provided career placement and advancement support and skills training to thousands of job seekers through programs for adults and youth. Staff also partnered with Ramsey County businesses to match candidates to job openings through events such as Employer of the Day. The department’s first online Annual Business Report was recognized with an award.
- Ramsey County Library was recognized as a Star Library for the sixth year in a row by Library Journal. The Library was one of only 3.5 percent of 7,361 qualifying libraries nationwide to be recognized with this honor.
- Community & Economic Development staff provided tens of thousands of dollars of environmental remediation grants to advance projects, including the new Allianz Field site in Saint Paul’s Midway neighborhood and the new headquarters for Colder Product in Roseville. They also helped prepare FirstHOME Buyer Assistance Loans for first-time buyer home purchases in suburban Ramsey County communities. The department brought aboard a Community & Economic Development director for the first time since 2004 to help advance its work.
- We added more than 60 solar panels at the Ponds at Battle Creek Golf Course, bringing the total number of panels to nearly 100 in our Parks & Recreation system. This renewable energy source is already saving money for our residents and is expected to save $240,000 in the decades ahead at the clubhouse and grounds of the Ponds of Battle Creek alone.
- Due to work in 2018, Parks & Recreation’s redevelopment of Lake Owasso County Park is nearly complete. The project significantly improves access for visitors and updates aged facilities and will be the first ‘net zero’ county facility through the use of solar power. When the finishing touches are complete in 2019, this will mark the end of a years-long renovation program of all nine county parks.
- Occupancy reached 100 percent at Union Depot for the first time in 2018 with the opening of Union Depot Bar & Grill in June.
- Significant advances were made on the Riverfront Properties project with negotiations underway with AECOM as the preferred developer for the site. In November, the company presented a bold vision for expanding downtown Saint Paul to the river’s edge including vibrant commercial and public spaces.
Information and Public Records
- A dedicated Modernization program involving the Assessor’s Office, Property Tax, Records & Election Services, and Information and Public Records Administration advanced significantly in 2018 with dozens of completed projects including Field Mobile; data cleanup efforts; collecting insights through hundreds of interactions with customers and employees; and the development of a unified customer service team. Modernization was also expanded in 2018 to include Information Services, the Project Management Office and other areas to improve service delivery in support of employees and our residents.
- The Assessor’s Office visited and appraised more than 27,000 residential, apartment, commercial and industrial properties throughout the county, and helped residents and stakeholders understand the trends through the 2018 Assessor’s Report (PDF).
- Elections staff managed the busiest non-presidential primary and general elections in recent history, making voting even easier for our residents by expanding early in-person voting to 12 locations. The office also registered thousands and thousands of new voters through focused outreach efforts.
- Information Services staff fielded and resolved tens of thousands of requests taken through the internal Service Desk by phone, email and the self-service portal to keep county technical operations running smoothly.
- Government Relations worked tirelessly during the legislative session to promote county priorities – including the transfer of the Ramsey Conservation District and improvements at Landmark Center – and led the coordination and publication of our annual federal and state platforms.
- Utilization of Open Ramsey County with department partners was expanded significantly, including the publication of new online, data-rich annual reports for Social Services and Financial Assistance Services and the Unclaimed Money report.
- Property Tax Services calculated, processed and mailed nearly 320,000 tax and value statements to property owners and assisted tens of thousands of customers over the phone and in person. The Tax-Forfeited Land division managed the sale of 17 of 24 parcels and properties for nearly $1 million at two well-attended auctions.
- The Recorder’s Office recorded more than 73,000 documents - about 63 percent were submitted electronically and 37 percent by paper.
- Policy & Planning led strategic planning efforts with our service teams to align work with the county’s vision, mission and goals through the 2018 Strategic Plan and published Community Indicators and Performance Metrics in the Open Data Portal that provide transparent measurement against our goals.
- Finance led the way on work and coordination that resulted in the county board approving the 2019 supplemental budget.
- Procurement worked with departmental partners to showcase contracting opportunities for small, minority- and women-owned businesses through efforts such as procurement fairs, providing detailed CERT program data on the open data portal and establishing workforce and business ownership guidelines and forms for all construction and design-build contracts.
- The Chief Clerk’s Office coordinated all administrative efforts within the County Manager’s Office to keep us on track week after week with organizing agendas, meetings and policy presentations for the board of commissioners.
- Finance staff continued their decades-long streak of earning multiple awards from the prestigious Government Finance Officers Association and led the county to again receive the highest possible bond rating from both Moody's and Standard & Poor's. The department also restructured county resources to improve debt collection.
- Under the coordination of Policy & Planning, we supported Ramsey County immigrant families by formally commenting on a federal proposal to modify the 2020 Census; formally opposing a proposed federal policy that would be harmful to our immigrants and their families; and initiated a $100,000 immigration legal defense fund.