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County Board Meeting July 6

Posted: 07/06/2021

Author: Julie Anderson

Category: County Board, Departments

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Douglas County Commissioners met for a regularly scheduled board meeting on Tuesday, July 6. Board meetings are an opportunity for department heads and elected officials to submit requests, as well as provide information on projects and plans involving their staff and members of the public doing business with the county.

County Attorney

The July 6 meeting began with County Attorney Chad Larson. He informed the board an assistant county attorney has resigned to move closer to family and friends. He asked to replace the person at a higher pay level (called a step) than would routinely occur. Larson asked for permission to start the person hired at a Step 3 rather than a Step 1. He feels this will allow him to recruit a more qualified candidate. The board approved the request.

Sheriff’s Office

Sheriff Troy Wolbersen asked the board to accept a $200 donation from the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association. That donation is earmarked for the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office Honor Guard.

Auditor/Treasurer

Auditor/Treasurer Vicki Doehling brought forth a request from Viking Sportsmen to hold a raffle at the Alexandria Shooting Park on July 31. Commissioners approved the request.

Social Services

Laurie Bonds, Community Human Services Director, informed board members her office would like to change providers for a particular type of software. She asked for permission to terminate the existing contract and enter into a new contract with Next Chapter Technology. The electronic document management system being purchased has functionality to support the County Social Services Financial Services, Child Support and METS/MNsure.

Bonds asked the board to approve the Land of the Dancing Sky Title IIIB Grant Application and she asked the board to approve hiring a new senior coordinator to replace the retiring Joyce McIntosh as well as fill a vacant social worker position. The board approved the requests.   

The board discussed and then tabled, in an effort to get more information, a request to consider installing bullet resistant windows at the Social Services public reception counter. Bonds explained there was an incident that occurred in other counties recently that brought additional safety to mind. Commissioner Heather Larson recommended bringing Sheriff Troy Wolbersen into the conversation and making sure the county explores a comprehensive solution. The board will discuss the issue again at its August 17 meeting.

Public Works

County Engineer and Public Works Director Tim Erickson asked commissioners to approve hiring engineering services for the reconstruction of the intersection at County State Aid Highways 45 and 82. Erickson explained the project will include state and city funds.

The board also agreed to vacate excess county highway right-of-way on a portion of County State Aid Highway 11 which will help clear the title for the property owner.

Commissioners approved spending $39,745.00 to hire Paz Excavating to remove the final structures and concrete on the part of Pilgrim Point owned by the county. This will clear the way to begin work on the future county park and beach area.

The board then turned its attention to Ditch 17 where a major repair and improvement project is underway. The board routinely hears from residents regarding ditch projects. Two residents along Ditch 17 are bring issues, outlined in letters, to the board for consideration as the project continues. The board asked Erickson and Drainage and Ag Inspector Tom Anderson to gather additional information before responding to the residents. Anderson also told the board bills for approximately $469,000 worth of work on Ditch 17 are coming in and will need to be paid. The county anticipates bonding for the project. Ultimately it’s the landowners on the ditch system that pay, but those payments are spread out over 10 to 20 years.  

Land and Resource Management

Director Dave Rush asked commissioners to approve licenses for two excavator/landscape companies as well as final plats for the DNW Addition, Ida Graves, Lynch Addition and Thorson Brothers Addition. He also explained a conditional use permit application from James and Lois Willert who want to convert an existing commercial resort on Lake Darling to a residential planned unit development. At its June 22 regular meeting the Planning Advisory Commission recommended approval of the conditional use permit with 9 conditions. Board members approved the final plats and the conditional use permit. Finally Rush brought forward the following preliminary plats: Val Halla Villa also on Lake Darling which would turn an existing resort into a residential planned unit development, West Thompson Addition and Liepold Legacy which would subdivide four large lots for residential purposes from this 64 acre property.  

Finance Office

Finance Office Director Jill Frisell presented the board with monthly bills which they approved for payment.

County Board

As it does every month, the county board members individually presented their requests for per diem payments. Commissioners are paid a pre-established sum for participation in meetings for the committees on which they serve.  

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