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County Board Meeting April 21

Posted: 04/22/2020

Author: Julie Anderson

Category: County Board, Departments

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The Douglas County Board met in person and virtually on Tuesday, April 21. Commissioners took a number of actions, bid farewell to a long-time department head and welcomed his replacement.

 The first order of business involved the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service which asked the board to approve several habitat and wetland easements. The landowners retain primary responsibility for weed control, recreational use and access and will continue to be responsible for the payment of property taxes.

The county will continue to sponsor the Douglas Area Trails Association. Jeff Linn, trail administrator, told the commissioners it was a decent winter for snowmobiling and DATA groomed 3,633 miles of trail.

Public Works

County Engineer and Public Works Director Dave Robley asked the board for permission to purchase a Tandem Snowplow Truck for $122,226.48. The truck will not be delivered or paid for until 2021 but needs to be ordered now because there is a backlog.

The board approved Robley’s request to authorize the acquisition of property that is in the public interest and needed to complete improvements to CSAH 7. The board also approved a request to purchase an ADA compliant kayak launch for Lake Brophy County Park and approved a bid from Astech to seal coat the Central Lakes Trail from Garfield to Ashby.

Robley submitted the Douglas County Public Works Annual Report. He praised finance accountant Kim Scott for completing the report so efficiently. The report contains information on the activity of Public Works in 2019. The board also heard more about the County Highway Improvement Plan and the 13 projects chosen to be completed using the ½ cent sales tax approved in 2014. One of the projects is the roundabout on 8 and 40. Robley assured the board the roundabout will be constructed in a manner that accommodates large farm machinery.

This was Dave Robley’s final board meeting. He is retiring effective April 30. The board thanked him for his years of service and wished him all the best. Robley says he’s had a good career at Douglas County and he introduced his replacement Tim Erickson. Robley says he is very comfortable leaving Public Works in Erickson’s hands.

Land and Resources

Dave Rush asked the board to adopt the Pope/Douglas Solid Waste Joint Waste Designation Plan. Rush had previously reviewed this plan with commissioners during a work session. The intent is for all solid waste generated in Pope and Douglas Counties to go to the Waste to Energy Facility in Alexandria which recovers energy, reduces greenhouse gas emissions and reduces impact to the landfill.  Commissioners passed the resolution.

People using the Lake Osakis city access will see a CD3 cleaning station by mid-summer. Commissioners approved the purchase of the cleaning station which will provide boaters an opportunity to clean their boats themselves. The county will collect data on how often the station is being used. It’s part of the broad county wide effort to reduce aquatic invasive species.

Auditor Treasurer

Auditor Treasurer Char Rosenow discussed two issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on taxpayers. She brought forth the possibility of a temporary reduction in liquor and beer licenses for the establishments that cannot currently conduct on sale transactions. She asked commissioners to consider prorating the fees. She also addressed a possible property tax penalty waiver. Both items will be on the May 21 board agenda for action.

Social Services

Laurie Bonds brought forth a request to approve a Seniors Partner Agreement with a library grant that’s designed to help create tech savvy seniors. The commissioners approved it.  

Coordinator

Heather Schlangen asked the board to approve the labor agreement between Douglas County and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, District Council No. 65, and its affiliated Local Number 487 (Social Services Unit). The board approved the contract which is in effect January 1, 2020 – December 31, 2022.

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