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County Board Meeting April 20

Posted: 04/21/2021

Author: Julie Anderson

Category: County Board, Departments

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At its April 20 meeting, county commissioners approved letters of support for two chemical dependency treatment facilities to open in Douglas County, and the county’s Space Needs Study was approved.

Social Services

Adult & Teen Challenge is asking to build a facility in Douglas County. It has a purchase agreement for property near Lake Winona on which it hopes to build a new facility to serve between 70 and 90 individuals. Sam Anderson, who is the central Minnesota director for Adult & Teen Challenge spoke to board members at the April 20th board meeting. He explained the facility would serve the long-term 12-month faith-based recovery program for adult men. The board approved a letter of support.  

The board also agreed to a letter of support for an out-patient counseling program at 305 30th Avenue West in Alexandria. Nystrom & Associates told commissioners the need for this type of program exists even with the county having New Visions currently providing services.  

Community Human Services Director Laurie Bonds also asked the board to approve a Purchase of Services Agreement with the Alexandria Public Schools to transport children in foster care placement when needed on a short-term basis.

Finance Department

Finance Director Jill Frisell discussed the American Rescue Plan Act with commissioners. She explained Douglas County is expected to receive $7.4 million in federal funding. Frisell asked the county to agree to hire CliftonLarsonAllen as a consultant to ensure the funds are being spent according to the guidance.

County Attorney

County Attorney Chad Larson asked the board to approve a resolution for a Joint Powers Agreement with the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Bureau of Criminal Apprehension to use systems and tools available over the state’s criminal justice data communications network.

Sheriff’s Office

Sheriff Troy Wolbersen asked the board to accept a donation of $300.00 from the Golden K Kiwanis Club of Alexandria to help fund the DARE program.


Auditor/Treasurer Vicki Doehling presented a gambling permit requested by the United Way of Douglas & Pope Counties. They plan to hold a raffle during their golf fundraising event at Geneva Golf Club on June 14.

Land & Resource Management

Director Dave Rush asked for and received permission to approve a perpetual contract with Alexandria Township for septic services. He explained to the commissioners the county has been providing septic inspection and oversight services since 2008 when Alexandria Township assumed control of their zoning.

Rush also shared with commissioners the department’s intent to consider drafting an ordinance related to clearing and grading near shorelines, the use of riprap and pervious pavement.  

The initial thought, Rush explained, is when a landowner plans to disturb 2000 feet of land within 500 feet of a lake, they would need to get a Clearing and Grading Permit. The idea is to prevent people from clearing off a lot and moving dirt prior to getting a land use permit and then realizing they have made an error — filling in a wetland for example. The county also wants to know when lakeshore owners are going to install rip rap. Rush says rip rap is a great practice for protecting shorelines but it’s really only necessary where the shoreland is eroding. Using it to enhance the look of a shoreline removes natural vegetation and habitat. And he says the current county ordinance on pervious pavement will be changed to be compliant with the DNR’s while discussion continues on a clearing and grading permit ordinance. Rush says he plans to present a draft to the Planning Commission and then hold public hearings before any ordinance is presented to the board for approval.

The county agreed to include a small portion of the Upper Minnesota River Watershed into the Chippewa Watershed for planning purposes through the One Watershed One Plan.

Board of Commissioners

The Board of Commissioners reappointed Tim Erickson as the Douglas County Engineer through April 30, 2025. Erickson was initially appointed to a one-year term. The board determined his performance objectives have been met and they agreed he’s doing a terrific job.   

Public Works

Erickson asked the board to accept the low bid on 2021 paving projects which will be completed on various County State Aid Highways and County Roads. The low bid was Mark Sand & Gravel out of Fergus Falls which bid $5,510,130.62.

Erickson presented information on the project to reclaim and pave Douglas County CSAH 1 and Otter Tail County CSAH 64. He told them it would be financially advantageous to do the projects at the same time because the two roads meet at the county line. Douglas County will administer the contract and bill Otter Tail County for its share of the expense.

Erickson asked the board to accept the low bid from Minnerath Construction for the grading work on CSAH 9. That bid came in at $776,040.90.

And he asked them to designate Pilgrim Point Road west of CSAH 34 as County Road 116 effective May 1.

Douglas County Space Needs Study

Douglas County hired Buetow 2 Architects to conduct a space needs study. At its April 20 meeting, the commissioners accepted the completed study from Mod Feders. Feders told commissioners the buildings used by the county are in very acceptable condition and that purchasing the 822 Douglas Street building was, in his words, very astute.

He said the county is moving along two paths simultaneously. One is preparing a financial savings plan and property search for a future county green site. The second path is continuing improvements and modifications to the existing facilities including 822 Douglas Street. He believes the current facilities will adequately address the county’s needs for the next 20 years.

Feders said 2020 altered the future in ways no one could have predicted. Covid-19 started a work-from-home capability that will continue for some county employees and provide flexibility to others. It also reinforced the need to provide adequate space to employees working from county buildings. Select department heads met with the county building committee to discuss on site space needs and desires. He complimented the county on its successful history of repurposing older buildings and its maintenance program. The board accepted the Space Needs Study.  


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