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Douglas County Board Meeting January 21

Posted: 01/21/2020

Category: County Board, Departments

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A much-anticipated discussion of the refugee resettlement issue was stricken from the agenda of the January 21 Douglas County Board of Commissioners meeting following a preliminary injunction last week from a federal judge. That ruling stops the enforcement of President Trump’s Executive Order which gave state and local jurisdictions the final decision on whether to accept newly admitted refugees. A number of people showed up for the planned discussion. Board Chairperson Keith Englund thanked them for coming and said if the injunction is overturned, the board will welcome input from residents before proceeding on this issue.

Assessor's Office

 

Douglas County Assessor Keith Albertsen requested permission to replace a 2004 Trailblazer in use by his staff. Commissioners approved selling of the 2004 Trailblazer and applying the proceeds from that, funds in the Assessor Vehicle Replacement Fund, and budgeted funds to purchase a new vehicle.

Facilities Maintenance

Commissioners approved soliciting bids for the Douglas County courthouse boiler and switch gear replacement project. The required advertising will be sent to the Echo Press January 22nd. Bids must be received by 2 p.m. February 11.

Sheriff’s Office

Douglas County Sheriff Troy Wolbersen asked commissioners to accept several donations including a $100 donation from Granite Electronics to be used for the physical fitness center at the sheriff’s office; a $250 donation from the Minnesota Sheriff’s Association to be used for the Sheriff’s Honor Guard; and a $5,000 donation from Lakes Area Law Dogs to be used for the partial purchase of K9 Hunter. The board also accepted the donation of an APF Long Range Precision Rifle valued at $4,500 and a Smith & Wesson MP 223 Caliber Rifle valued at $2,500. That donation came from Mark Perry.

Public Works

Commissioners entered into a cooperative agreement with Moe Township to provide snow and ice control on Andes Road south of County Road 107. The county will bill the township $40 for each time it provides this service.  

In December, Public Works Director and County Engineer Dave Robley hosted commissioners for a review of the 5-year County Highway Improvement Program. At the January 21 meeting, commissioners formally approved the plan which details construction programs for 2020-2024.

Lake Brophy County Park will soon feature a floating fishing pier. Commissioners approved a 105 foot fishing pier which will be ADA compliant. The cost, not including installation, is $47,450.  

Emergency Management

Emergency Management Director Julie Anderson asked the board to approval a resolution accepting grant funding to complete the required 2020 Hazard Mitigation Plan. The county will work with stakeholders, cities, townships and others to update the mitigation plan. This plan is required to apply for and receive FEMA funding for tornado rooms, sirens and other emergency preparedness equipment.  

Land and Resources

 

In 2018, Douglas County allocated up to $50,000 to support environmental projects vetted through the Douglas County Water Quality Legacy Fund. Two projects were funded in 2019. They are a storm water and sediment reduction project on Lake Ida ($4,627) and wetland restorations to manage water and sediment into Smith Lake ($7,500).

Commissioners also approved a Joint Powers Agreement to form the new Chippewa River Watershed Association. This association will allow coordinated water quality projects to continue and improve opportunities for attaining federal and state funds to support future projects.

People looking to help keep Douglas County lakes free from additional aquatic invasive species can start applying for work soon. Douglas County will start advertising to fill 10 level I watercraft inspectors at $13 per hour and 10 level II inspectors at  $16 per hour.

County Veterans Service

The county approved increasing the hours of the assistant county veterans service officer from 30 hours per week to 37.5 hours per week. Rhonda Fuchs currently serves in that position.

Commissioners also accepted a $200 donation from VFW Post 936 for veterans in need, specifically food and gas vouchers.

Recorder’s Office

A request was approved to fill the deputy recorder vacancy.

Auditor/Treasurer's Office

Auditor/Treasurer Char Rosenow requested approval to apply for grant funding to replace Assistive Voting Devices.  The grant would cover $72,800 of the projected $145,600 cost.

Rosenow also informed commissioners there was a party interested in buying county-owned property by Krueger’s Creek. The 2019 value is $39,100. The county will advertise for bids and sell to the highest bidder.

Social Services

Commissioners approved an interlocal cooperative agreement between Douglas County and Sourcewell to continue operating the childcare licensing program.

The Douglas County Housing and Redevelopment Authority, Douglas County Social Services and Kindred Family Focus now have a memorandum of understanding to assist foster children as they reach age 18 and become independent. Some of these children are at risk of becoming homeless. Under this memorandum of understanding, those children will be eligible for housing vouchers.

County Coordinator

Commissioners approved payment for a study that will assess future county space needs, expected useful life of existing county facilities and alternatives for potential use of the 822 Douglas Street property, two gymnasiums in the services center and potential planning concepts such as a green site. Buetow 2 Architects will complete the study within two and a half months.

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