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Douglas County Board Meeting May 3 2022

Posted: 05/04/2022

Author: Julie Anderson

Category: County Board, Departments

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The Douglas County Board of Commissioners and the Alexandria City Council met face to face at the start of the May 3rd board meeting. Board Chair Tim Kalina and Commissioners Jerry Rapp, Keith Englund, Heather Larson, and Charlie Meyer welcomed Mayor Bobbie Osterberg and four city council members: Bill Franzen, Scott Allen, Dave Benson, and Andrew Wiener.

 They discussed a wide variety of topics of mutual interest. Among the shared information:

  • Progress on construction of 18th Avenue in the city of Alexandria
  • A potential roundabout on 3rd and Nokomis
  • Status of county sales tax for road improvements
  • Future of two-mile radius which impacts permits for property owners living within that area
  • Future of the Alexandria Light and Pole Yard located near the Douglas County Public Works building
  • Douglas County Library long range plan
  • Redistricting results for the county. A map of the new commissioner districts can be found at https://www.co.douglas.mn.us/Uploads/Public/Documents/AudTreas/PDFs/MapCommissionerRedistrictPlan.pdf

 

The city council and county board agreed to meet again October 24.

The meeting continued with a presentation by the St. Paul Port Authority. Vice President Peter Klein explained a request by the developers of The Rune (an apartment/retail/restaurant complex project at 3rd and Broadway). Developers are asking for a $5 million loan through the Minnesota Property Assessed Clean Energy Program (PACE).  Klein explained the county is needed to as a participant in the program. Essentially, the county would be placing a 20-year assessment on the property while the loan, issued through a private lender, is repaid. Klein said about 350 projects have been done through PACE in Minnesota over the last eight years although this would be one of the larger ones. He assured commissioners the county would not be on the hook if the developer defaults on the loan. Commissioners asked County Attorney Chad Larson to look into the program further and tabled a decision until the May 17 board meeting.

Sheriff’s Office

Sheriff Troy Wolbersen asked the board to accept two donations. One, for $250 is from the Minnesota Sheriff’s Association for the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office Honor Guard. The second is for $300 from the Golden K Kiwanis Club of Alexandria for the sheriff’s office DARE program.  

Social Services

Director Laurie Bonds asked the board to accept a $250 donation from Alomere Health for the upcoming Senior Expo. That expo will be held Thursday, June 16. The focus is on helping senior citizens avoid scams.

Veterans Service Office

Veterans Service Officer Jake Turner asked for and was granted a short unpaid leave of absence. Rhonda Fuchs will be the interim director from May 12 through June 4.

Land and Resource Management

Director Dave Rush recommended approval of two excavator/landscaper license applications. He also presented commissioners with a rezoning permit to allow a property on Highway 29 in Carlos Township to change from industrial to commercial.

Commissioners approved a preliminary plat for the Fuhrman Meadow Addition which will subdivide a single lot near, but not on, Lake Vermont in Miltona Township.

Justin Swart, who oversees the Aquatic Invasive Species program shared with commissioners information on work done to survey area lakes for aquatic plants. The county has surveyed 45 lakes over a three-year period. He said no new infestations were found, but the surveys identified Eurasian watermilfoil and zebra mussel distribution. This baseline information will be used to make comparison surveys in the future.   

Commissioners voted against allowing a variance to a restrictive covenant in the Harmony Hills development in the northeast corner of the county. A couple planning to build a home had asked for permission to access their driveway from Minnesouri Road which is not allowed under the covenant.

Auditor/Treasurer

Vicki Doehling presented a resolution for the Lake Miltona Association to conduct a raffle at the Leaf Valley Town Hall on August 13 and for a 3.2 beer and wine/strong beer license for the new owners of Hardwood Hills Golf Course.

Public Works

County Engineer and Public Works Director Tim Erickson recommended approving the low bid for chloride applications this year. Knife River was the low bidder at $255,800.00 an amount below the engineer’s report. Commissioners approved the recommendation.   

Commissioners also approved the 2022 Douglas County Drainage and Ag report. This report is prepared by Tom Anderson, County Drainage and Ag Inspector. It outlines work done in 2021 and the repairs needed to be completed on the county’s ditches in 2022. By approving the report commissioners are allowing Anderson to proceed with the repairs.   

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