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County Board Meeting December 15

Posted: 12/17/2020

Author: Julie Anderson

Category: County Board, Departments

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The Tuesday, December 15 Douglas County Board meeting began with a history-making event. Commissioners thanked a Douglas County family for donating $1 million. The donation came from Gene Hauer and his family. The funds will be used to purchase half of an 8-acre parcel on Pilgrim Point. The county purchased the acreage so it could be used by the public.  Hauer, his wife Patty, daughters Vicky Heller and Jill Swanson and their husbands attended the meeting to receive a plaque that reads: With our sincere appreciation we hereby thank you Gene Hauer and family. Douglas County appreciates your generous donation which will preserve Pilgrim Point for enjoyment by the public forever.

The county is moving forward with the remodel of its Administration Building at 822 Douglas Street. The county opened the sealed bids received for:

  • Roofing
  • Casework/finished carpentry
  • Standard doors/frames/hardware
  • Aluminum frame/windows & glazing
  • Tile
  • Acoustical treatments
  • Flooring
  • Painting
  • Platform Lift
  • Fire Protection
  • Mechanical/plumbing
  • HVAC
  • Testing/adjusting & balancing
  • Electrical/electronic safety and security
  • Combined bids

Larry Filippi from Contegrity Group spoke to the board members and said he is very, very happy with where the numbers came in. The board approved the low qualified bids for the categories above. The anticipated cost is $4.2 million. The board also voted to require change orders above $10,000 be brought to them for approval.

Buetow 2 Architects, Inc. is the architect on the project and Contegrity Group is the construction manager. Construction is expected to begin in December of 2020 so the building will be ready for occupancy by August of 2021.

Commissioners also moved forward with the sale of $5.3 million in General Obligation Capital Improvement Plan Bonds to pay for the remodel and acquisition costs as well as other smaller projects in the county.

Blair Mace with the Fish and Wildlife Service appeared to request certification of recently secured conservation easements from landowners in Evansville Township, Lund Township and Leaf Valley Township.

County Engineer Tim Erickson raised the question of county right aways and future road projects. The commissioners tabled the wetland easements until they can meet with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to discuss Erickson’s concerns.

Public Works

County Engineer and Public Works Director Tim Erickson asked commissioners for final payment to Mark Lee Excavating for grading and aggregate base work done on Andes Road.

They set a public hearing for the 5-year highway improvement plan for January 19, 2021 at 9 a.m. This is the same date as the county board meeting.   

The board approved 2021 county ditch special assessments and 2020 loan adjustments for drainage systems in Douglas County. Commissioners also approved retaining Rinke Noonan to provide legal counsel on drainage authority matters.

Douglas County Public Works Director Tim Erickson told the board he may propose changing the designation of one mile of County Road 38 and two miles of County Road 62 near Carlos State Park. This change would alter the source of money the county uses to pay for constructing and maintaining the road. It would move the majority of the mileage from levy funds to gas tax funds. Nine properties (four of which are residential) would be affected and need to change their address if commissioners eventually approve the proposal. Maintenance levels of the roads would remain unchanged.

Sheriff’s Office

Sheriff Troy Wolbersen asked the board to accept a $100 donation for the Honor Guard from Sandra Geris in memory of Joe Geris. He also asked commissioners for approval to carry over fund balances to accommodate the sale of vehicles to be used to offset the cost of leased vehicles and for an overage in Mortgage Foreclosures in the amount of $1,692.04. He explained his office needs to hold the funds until the mortgage foreclosure redemption period expires.

Land and Resource Management

The board approved a list of excavators, disposal haulers and sign erection and maintenance companies. Commissioner Jerry Rapp abstained on the list of excavators because his company was listed.  

At the December 8 Planning Advisory Commission meeting, members recommended approval of a Conditional Use Permit for Thomas Neuman who plans to move a used cabin on his property near Red Rock Lake. The planning commission imposed the following conditions on the permit: the cabin must be placed on a slab or foundation, meet electrical and plumbing code within 12 months and be supplied by water and served by a private septic system also within 12 months. The board approved it with Commissioner Heather Larson asking who will enforce the conditions. Land and Resource Management Director Dave Rush assured her his staff would stay on top of the situation.

The Planning Advisory Commission recommended denial of a Conditional Use Permit for Brittany Rochefort. She asked to increase capacity to 20 overnight and 36 daytime guests on a vocational rental property she owns on Lake Latoka. The recommended denial was based on findings of fact in the staff report, recommendation of the township to deny and from testimony of members of the public about the incompatibility of the increased use with the neighborhood.

Commissioners approved the final plat for Lakeview Estates. The applicant is proposing to create a residential subdivision consisting of eight lots on Little Chippewa Road NW in Brandon Township. The approval includes the creation of a permanent stormwater management plan.

The final plat for an adjustment of a property line on property within Burgen View First Addition was also approved.

With no votes from Commissioner Heather Larson and Jerry Rapp, the board approved a resolution to adopt the Leaf – Wing - Redeye 1 Watershed 1 Plan.

Less than one percent of Douglas County land resides in the Leaf – Wing – Redeye 1 Watershed, so the county did not participate in the planning or implementation of Memorandum of Agreements. However, Douglas County is an optional member of the Redeye 1 Watershed, 1 Plan per Board of Water and Soil Resources. Therefore, Douglas County had to vote whether to adopt and implement the plan for the area of the county with the Redeye Watershed.

Social Services

Director Laurie Bonds asked the board to approve the hiring of an eligibility worker which it did.

She also asked commissioners to approve the following 2021 contracts:
Lutheran Social Services to provide community-based services including intensive in-home children therapeutic support services, family resources, family/parent facilitator and independent living skills services. These services are designed to prevent unnecessary placements of children outside of their own family.

Developmental Achievement Center will provide day training and habilitation services.

Someplace Safe Parenting Time Center will provide supervised parent/child visitations for families referred by Douglas County Social Services and supervised parent/child exchanges and intakes for families.

Family Innovations will furnish family-based services, intensive in-home, children’s therapeutic support services, family resources and family/parent facilitator services.

Horizon Public Health Reception Services. As HPH and Douglas County Social Services share an entrance, Horizon Public Health will pay Douglas County $12,000.00 in 2021 for the social services department to:

  • greet clients and direct them to appropriate staff.
  • collect documents from clients and route them to the appropriate staff for HPH and Hospice of Douglas County.
  • Receive deliveries for HPH.
  • Distribute and collect “Special Food Event” applications and fees for clients and route to the appropriate staff as needed.
  • Stock, sell and collect payment for long-term and short-term radon kits.

Bonds also asked the board to approve a CARES act grant for $1,726 to offset costs for technology to facilitate caseworker visits, family team meetings and court hearings.

Auditor Treasurer

Rosenow asked the board whether it would like to pass a resolution to abate the penalty on late payment of property taxes for taxes payable October 15, 2020. The board chose instead to have Rosenow consider late payment cases on an individual basis.

After discussion, and an unsuccessful motion to table by Commissioner Heather Larson who was seeking additional information, the board approved revaluations for county positions reviewed by the TRIAD Consultant in 2020. 

This was the last meeting as chair for Commissioner Keith Englund. He told those in attendance he has enjoyed his time as chair very much.


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