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County Board Meeting April 19 2022

Posted: 04/20/2022

Author: Julie Anderson

Category: County Board, Departments

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The April 19 Douglas County Board meeting began with a proclamation to recognize the value of child care providers and early educators.

Connie Fields, the Douglas County Early Childhood Initiative Coordinator, asked commissioners to approve the proclamation which reads in part, Douglas County declares that early childhood educators should be valued, respected, and compensated for the important role they play.

Coordinator’s Office

County Coordinator Heather Schlangen asked commissioners to approve county participation in the Alexandria Technical and Community College Off-Campus Work Study Program. Under this program, students are introduced to county government work opportunities. The county reimburses 25 percent of their $13 an hour pay.

Commissioners also passed a resolution to accept the donation of an iPad from Kronos for use in the coordinator’s office.

Douglas Area Trails Association

DATA Trail Administrator Jeff Linn made his annual request that Douglas County act as Douglas Area Trails Association (DATA)’s sponsor for the next year. DATA participates in the Grant in Aid Program and grooms the snowmobile trails. Linn said we had a fantastic year this winter. In fact, he said it was the fifth busiest ever for grooming the county’s 374 trail miles.

Library needs assessment

The Douglas County Library Board Chair and Vice Chair addressed commissioners about the recently completed library needs assessment. Vice Chair Ann Carrott gave an interesting and brief summary of the library’s history. She said it began in 1881 as a city library. In 1975 the regional library system was established and in 1991 the Douglas County Board and city of Alexandria reached agreement that the library would be one for the entire county. In 2008 a facility space study was done but Carrott said not much happened with the information. The library board decided more information was needed so members engaged residents to determine what services are most requested and needed, what trends are occurring in other libraries, and how much space would be ideal. Commissioners heard that ideally a library in Douglas County should be 39,000 square feet compared to the 19,900 of the current building. And with that would come a much larger parking lot. Library Board Chair Becky Albright spoke next. She assured commissioners the library board is engaged in a methodical planning process because without one there can be no long-term viable plan for investing in the future. She told the board, “I think you’ll see how limited our footprint is at the current location.” She reinforced that people love the local library, want it to stay somewhere in Alexandria, and that while the demand for hard copy books may decrease, the need for libraries with technology and other services will remain strong.  The presentation was informational. No action was taken.

Auditor/Treasurer

Auditor/Treasurer Vicki Doehling asked for and was given permission to issue:

  • a gambling permit to the Minnesota State High School Clay Target League for a raffle at its event June 21
  • a temporary liquor license to 22 Northmen Brewing for its Lager Fest June 4

 

Doehling also requested to abate unpaid delinquent taxes on old mobile home parcels. She explained the taxes are 8 years delinquent or older and she believes the mobile homes have been moved or destroyed so she would like to clean up the records. 

Land & Resource Management

Director Dave Rush had four items from the Planning Advisory Commission for board members. He asked they approve a Conditional Use Permit for Mount Caramel Ministries that would allow them to expand to 91 units at their church retreat facility in Carlos Township.  Conditions on that permit require a severe weather safety plan be drafted and sent to the county emergency manager, lighting be limited, no sale of individual units be allowed, and watercraft mooring sites shall not exceed 25. 

Public Works

County Engineer and Public Works Director Tim Erickson introduced the new assistant public works director. Jacob Hoffmann will work with long time Assistant Public Works Director Scott Green until he fully retires. 

Erickson asked the board to accept the low bidder for the 2022 paving projects. The low bidder was Mark Sand and Gravel Company. Commissioners accepted that bid and the one and only bid for this summer’s pavement markings. Sir-Lines-A-Lot LLC was the low bidder. It’s the same company that performed the work last summer, but it has a new name after being purchased. Also approved, the lowest bidder to fill cracks in the Central Lakes Trail. County Surveyor Pat Veraguth also presented commissioners with a contract to hire 95West Aerial Mapping for a project.

Erickson then turned to the highly anticipated roundabout by the YMCA in Alexandria. He asked permission to solicit bids for the project which will now be done in segments to accommodate the Douglas County Fair and backlogs on needed materials. He said work that will not close County Road 82 will be done prior to the August fair. Subsequent work will begin after the fair concludes and will involve total road closure and detours in the area. The roundabout is being designed and built with Magellan and other large trucks in mind.

Commissioners denied a petition by Moe Township requesting the county take over Andes Road. The township was requesting the county take over the road and its maintenance.

Parks Superintendent Brad Bonk shared with commissioners the benefits of a Climate Impact CORPS position. The county has been approved for one position which is funded by AmeriCorps to assist public agencies mitigate climate issues.  Bonk explained the person hired will be responsible for buckthorn removal and an Emerald ash borer mitigation plan.

Drainage and Ag Inspector Tom Anderson joined Director Erickson to present the Douglas County Drainage and Ag Report. Anderson also presented three requests for drainage projects. The largest project would be in Brandon and could cost up to $35,000.

Commissioners will take up the Ag Report at the next meeting.

IT Director Brent Birkeland was before the board next. He shared with commissioners the cost of technology and installation for the former board room in the courthouse. This, he explained will be a much-used room by Extension and Land and Resource Management. The technology project was awarded to Tierney Brothers.

The board went into closed session as permitted by Minnesota Statutes Section 13D.05, Sud 3 ( c ) to discuss an offer relating to the county’s possible purchase of 557 Karl Dr. NW in Alexandria.

And, the board also signed a resolution proclaiming April 26, 2022, County Government Appreciation Day. Commissioner Heather Larson read aloud some of the wording, which says in part, Whereas the vital work of counties promotes healthy communities, fosters conditions for economic growth, strengthens infrastructure, and improves residents’ quality of life, now therefore be it resolved the Douglas County Board of Commissioners recognizes the commitment and dedication to public service excellence of county staff and officials and proclaims April 26 County Government Appreciation Day.

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