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County Board Meeting May 19

Posted: 05/20/2020

Category: County Board, Departments

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Douglas County property taxpayers directly or indirectly affected by COVID-19 have until October 15, 2020 to pay their first half property taxes without penalty. Commissioners heard from Auditor/Treasurer Char Rosenow who said the property tax penalty waiver is for those businesses affected directly or indirectly by COVID-19 such as shut down of business due to the governor’s Executive Order 20-04, a reduction in business due to the governor’s Stay at Home order, or someone was unable to work as a result of the governor’s orders and did not receive any COVID-19 related benefits. A property tax penalty abatement request form must be filled out completely and accompany the property tax payment at the time payment is made. A property tax abatement request form can be found on the Douglas County website at www.co.douglas.mn.us under quick links at the right hand side of the home page. If payment is made online, email penalty abatement form to taxdept@co.douglas.mn.us. No refunds will be given to those who paid timely and wish to have their money returned. Taxpayers with questions should call the Auditor/Treasurer’s office at 320-762-3077.

Commissioners also voted to temporarily reduce the on-sale license fees to 50% to offset for the time the establishment was closed and/or unable to use their on-sale licenses due to the governor’s executive orders. The following fees will be temporarily reduced for the upcoming renewal year:

  • On-sale liquor
  • On-sale Sunday liquor
  • On-sale wine and strong beer
  • Brewed malt liquor taproom and Sunday
  • On-sale 3.2% beer

The county Auditor/Treasurer’s office will be reaching out to those affected businesses to let them know the reduced amounts they will be required to pay upon renewal.

The board approved the establishment of a Ballot Board effective June 26, 2020. This board is made up of auditor/ treasurer department staff and election judges trained in the processing and counting of absentee and mail ballots. It also gave Rosenow permission to hire up to four temporary election clerks for the 2020 primary and general elections.

Nine townships and one city in Douglas County plan to offer mail balloting to registered voters in 2020. Non-registered voters will cast their ballots at the former First Lutheran Church building at 822 Douglas Street in Alexandria.

Rosenow also shared with the board a letter from the Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Human Services that commended her staff for perfect performance in meeting the Department of Human Services financial reporting requirements for calendar year 2019.

Sheriff’s Office

Sheriff Troy Wolbersen asked the board to pass a resolution accepting $15,211.52 for call handling equipment for the 911 dispatch center.

Public Works     

County Engineer Tim Erickson and County Surveyor Patrick Veraguth asked the board to approve the purchase of GIS software and they updated commissioners on the acquisition of property for the County Road 7 project which can now go out for bid.

Chair Keith Englund also reinforced the need for a public hearing regarding the proposed roundabout on County Road 8 and 40.

Emergency Management 

Emergency Management Director Julie Anderson updated the board on the progress of the Emergency Operations Center which is partially activated to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Land and Resource

Dave Rush asked for permission to enter into a contract for administrative and educational support services with the Douglas County Soil and Water Conservation District. The board granted permission for a contract not to exceed a total of 500 hours or $16,500.

The board also approved using a temporary staffing service to hire Aquatic Invasive Species inspectors. Rush anticipates hiring 6 to 8 people to inspect watercraft at designated boat landings this summer.

The Red Willow Arts Coalition plans to hold concerts on the courthouse lawn this summer beginning June 25. The agreement contains a right to rescind clause which could be implemented if restrictions are imposed by Governor Walz to combat COVID-19.

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