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County Board Meeting May 5

Posted: 05/11/2020

Author: Julie Anderson

Category: County Board, Departments

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The owners of the Alexandria businesses destroyed by fire in February will have until November 15 to pay their property taxes without penalty and music on the courthouse lawn is now scheduled to begin in late June. Those were just two of the important decisions made at the May 5 board of commissioners meeting. The meeting was held in person and virtually to limit the number of people in attendance and to provide for social distancing.

Assessor

Assessor Keith Albertsen informed commissioners that he has made adjustments for the property owners whose businesses were destroyed in the February downtown Alexandria fire for taxes payable in 2021 but the property owners were also looking for relief for taxes payable in 2020. Property taxes are always paid for the previous year.  The commissioners agreed to the adjustments following the devastating fire and agreed to give them more time to pay the taxes due in 2020.   

Sheriff’s Office

Douglas County Sheriff Troy Wolbersen asked the board to accept a $300 donation to the DARE program from the Golden K Kiwanis Club of Alexandria. Sheriff Wolbersen called this a very generous donation.

The Minnesota Department of Corrections has increased its daily per diem rate from $57.50 to $60.00. This is the rate the state pays for county jails to house, feed and supervise state inmates.

Land and Resources

Dave Rush asked commissioner to approve the final plat for the Bettin Addition in Millerville Township with the condition that a right-to-farm notification will be included in restrictive covenants or as a deed restriction for each lot.

The Nor Homestead project in Lake Mary Township received preliminary plat approval. The applicant, Roth Family LLP and Charles and Nancy Thompson,  is proposing a one lot plat for residential purposes. A new road will be constructed and turned over to the township.

Murphys Run Plat Two was approved. The applicant, Jeffery Brown, is proposing to complete a 2-lot subdivision for residential purposes in Osakis Township.

Rush also asked commissioners to approve a conditional use permit for Brett Thoennes to allow him to operate a truck and equipment service and repair business in Miltona Township and Rush asked for approval of a conditional use permit for Novel Energy Solutions to allow a 1 megawatt solar farm in Osakis Township. The applicants, Patrick and Patricia Marthaler must place $75,000 in a cash escrow with Douglas County to ensure a proper decommissioning of the solar array.

Public Works

The new county engineer and public works director Tim Erickson asked the board to accept a 36 thousand dollar grant from the Central Minnesota Emergency Services Board to pay for certain expenses incurred for Next Generation (NG911) GIS work. Smith told commissioners he is getting settled in and laughed that he has learned a lot including how to pronounce Le Homme Dieu which is the name of a popular lake in the county.

Information Technology

IT Director Brent Birkland requested funds for a courthouse security upgrade. Birkland needs $44,709.00 to purchase equipment. Arvig submitted a proposal that was approved.

Veterans Services

Veteran Services Officer Jake Turner asked for $3800 from the general fund to purchase 60 replacement stars for veterans buried at three separate cemeteries. He assured commissioners there is now an accountability system in place so this will not become a yearly request.

Stakeholder and Resident Input

Chuck Wencl with the Red Willow Arts Coalition asked the board for guidance on when the summer music series could begin on the courthouse lawn.  Commissioners advised him the June 25th concert date would be the earliest possible and said they would make a final decision at the May 19 board meeting.

Alan Roebke called in to the board meeting under the time slot permitted for input from the floor. He raised a number of concerns, including his belief the Alexandria airport should be expanded to provide additional flight service to the public.

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