Anoka County rejects $1 million health grant

Published 10:42 am Friday, August 2, 2013

ANOKA — Anoka County is turning down a $1 million grant to promote healthy lifestyles.

State officials are puzzled and say no county has ever turned down the grants from the Statewide Health Improvement Program, or SHIP. In past years, the county has used the grant, in part, to provide low-calorie snack menus for 16,000 elementary school students.

Anoka County Board chairwoman Rhonda Sivarajah said the grant is targeted to print brochures, establish community gardens and provide constituents with pedometers. She said that’s not a wise use of taxpayers’ resources. She said there’s no measurable outcome.

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State health commissioner John Koppel said the county’s decision isn’t saving taxpayers’ money because the grant will be used elsewhere in the state.