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COUNTY BOARD

April, 2020

Commissioner Proceedings

April 3, 2020

The Lake of the Woods County Board of Commissioners met for a special meeting on Friday, April 3, 2020 at Lake of the Woods County Government Center in the Commissioners’ Room.

CALL TO ORDER

Chair Jon Waibel called the meeting to order at 1:00 p.m. and the Pledge of Allegiance was recited with the following members present: Commissioners: Jon Waibel, Joe Grund, and Cody Hasbargen.  Present by phone were: Commissioners: Buck Nordlof and Ed Arnesen.  Also present were: County Auditor/Treasurer Lorene Hanson, County Attorney James Austad, and Mike Hovde.

APPROVAL OF AGENDA

Motion was made by Commissioner Cody Hasbargen, seconded by Commissioner Joe Grund and carried unanimously by roll call to approve the agenda. For: Commissioner: Ed Arnesen, Joe Grund, Cody Hasbargen, Buck Nordlof and Jon Waibel; Against:  None

COVID-19

Accesses

Resolution

The following resolution was offered by Commissioner Joe Grund, seconded by Commissioner Cody Hasbargen and carried as follows:  For: Commissioner: Ed Arnesen, Joe Grund, Cody Hasbargen, Buck Nordlof and Jon Waibel; Against:  None.

RESOLUTION

PROTECTING ALL CITIZENS

COVID-19

RESOLUTION NO. 20-04-01

WHEREAS; the COVID-19 Pandemic Virus is impacting the Lake of the Woods County and its’ businesses; and   

WHEREAS; Minnesota Governor Tim Walz’s office has issued a reminder that the exemption to the Stay at Home order allowing outdoor recreation isn’t a blank check to travel; and

WHEREAS; MN State officials say the spirit of the “Stay-at-Home” order is that people not travel outside their communities for recreation, even if the letter of the law doesn’t state that.  That means don’t get on the highway and drive across the state or the country to go fishing; and

WHEREAS; Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MnDNR) officials have started using the term “community” to describe where people should be outdoors during the order, as in “only in your own community”. DNR conservation officers have been using the term and DNR Commissioner Sarah Strommen posted it on social media; and

WHEREAS; “The bottom line is this: Folks have to use common sense on what is close to home,’’ said Kim Pleticha, Assistant Communications Director for the DNR. “This is hard on everyone. All Minnesotans have cherished outdoor traditions, but those traditions are going to have to be on hold right now.”; and

WHEREAS; “To save lives, we need as many Minnesotans to stay at home as possible. The exemptions are meant to be narrow and allow for the continuation of critical health and safety functions. Although the executive order doesn’t prohibit traveling for outdoor recreation, the Governor strongly urges all Minnesotans to stay close to their primary residences,” the statement noted. “If people do go out, they are asked to maintain strict social distancing. Staying home helps protect your neighbors from spreading COVID-19 and also avoids crowding rural medical facilities. Avoiding this kind of travel makes us all safer and healthier.”

WHEREAS; Several Minnesota and Wisconsin counties have already taken action urging usually cherished tourists and part-time residents to stay away until COVID-19 passes, saying residents don’t want to be exposed and noting their small-town medical resources are ill-equipped to handle a major outbreak of disease.

WHEREAS; Lake of the Woods County of Commissioners requests all citizens to follow Governor Walz’s “Stay-at Home” order to keep our local citizens and the general public healthy; and

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED; Lake of the Woods County Board of Commissioners, in following Governor Walz’s order and Minnesota Administrative Rules No. 6110.3700, Subpart 9, are closing surface waters in front of all public accesses to Lake of the Woods and Rainy River including Wheelers Point (150’W x 30’D) and Wabanica (30’W x 20’D), effective Friday, April 3, 2020, at 11:59 p.m. until Tuesday, April 14, 2020, at 11:59 p.m., and will be addressed at weekly COVID-19 meetings.

Commissioners:  Ed Arnesen, Joe Grund, Cody Hasbargen, Buck Nordlof, Jon Waibel

RECESS

With no further business before the board, Chairman Jon Waibel called the meeting to recess at 1:25 p.m.

Attest:                                                                          April 14, 2020

__________________________________                            _________________________________

County Auditor/Treasurer, Lorene Hanson                                Chairman of the Board, Jon Waibel

=============================================================================================================================================================================================================================================

Commissioner Proceedings

April 7, 2020

The Lake of the Woods County Board of Commissioners met for a special meeting on Tuesday, April 7, 2020 at Lake of the Woods County Government Center in the Commissioners’ Room.

CALL TO ORDER

Chair Jon Waibel called the meeting to order at 9:00 a.m. and the Pledge of Allegiance was recited with the following members present: Commissioners: Jon Waibel, Buck Nordlof and Cody Hasbargen.  Present by phone were: Commissioners: Ed Arnesen and Joe Grund.  Also present were: County Auditor/Treasurer Lorene Hanson, County Attorney James Austad, County Sheriff Gary Fish, Emergency Management Director Jill Hasbargen-Olson, County Engineer AJ Pirkl, and Mike Hovde.

APPROVAL OF AGENDA

Motion was made by Commissioner Cody Hasbargen, seconded by Commissioner Buck Nordlof and carried unanimously by roll call to approve the agenda. For: Commissioner: Ed Arnesen, Joe Grund, Cody Hasbargen, Buck Nordlof and Jon Waibel; Against:  None

COUNTY ENGINEER

Approval of Bids

SAP 039-631-005 CSAH 31 to KGM $613,741.65

Bostic/JD 28 to Wright Construction $226,115.50

Motion

Motion was made by Commissioner Buck Nordlof, seconded by Commissioner Cody Hasbargen and carried unanimously by roll call to approve the bids for CSAH 31 to KGM with a bid of $613,741.65 and for Bostic/Judicial Ditch 28 to Wright Construction with a bid of $226,115.50. For: Commissioner: Ed Arnesen, Joe Grund, Cody Hasbargen, Buck Nordlof and Jon Waibel;
Against: None

COVID-19 UPDATE

County:

Emergency Management Update

No new updates. County employees can continue to work on FEMA ICS classes.

Sheriff

No new updates.

Fishing/Guiding/Lodging Services

The Board is in communication with the Governor’s Office about questions from constituents regarding offering services during the stay-at-home order. Lodging facilities are asking if they can rent rooms to fisherman and some fishing guides would like to start their operations.

Property Taxes

The Board discussed property taxes and are waiting to see if the state will be addressing property taxes statewide. Add property taxes to next board meeting agenda.

Motor Vehicle

Motor Vehicle services are now considered essential and the county can assist customers by mail and through the drop box.  Renewals will be mailed to the customer.  Driver’s License services will remain closed.

Proposed Law Enforcement Center

The Department of Corrections will be reviewing project delays/extensions due to COVID-19 on a case by case basis, no need to submit a letter at this time.

RECESS

With no further business before the board, Chairman Jon Waibel called the meeting to recess at 9:20 a.m.

Attest:                                                                          April 14, 2020

__________________________________                _________________________________County Auditor/Treasurer, Lorene Hanson                    Chairman of the Board, Jon Waibel

=============================================================================================================================================================================================================================================

Commissioner Proceedings

April 21, 2020

The Lake of the Woods County Board of Commissioners met for a special meeting on Tuesday, April 21, 2020 at Lake of the Woods County Government Center in the Commissioners’ Room. 

CALL TO ORDER

Chair Jon Waibel called the meeting to order at 9:00 a.m. and the Pledge of Allegiance was recited with the following members present: Commissioners: Jon Waibel, Buck Nordlof, Cody Hasbargen, Ed Arnesen and Joe Grund.  Also present were: County Auditor/Treasurer Lorene Hanson, County Attorney James Austad, Emergency Management Director Jill Hasbargen-Olson, and Mike Hovde.

APPROVAL OF AGENDA

Motion was made by Commissioner Joe Grund, seconded by Commissioner Cody Hasbargen and carried unanimously to approve the agenda with the addition of tourism under the emergency management update.

COUNTY ENGINEER

Approval to Request Quotes

Motion

Motion was made by Commissioner Joe Grund, seconded by Commissioner Ed Arnesen and carried unanimously to approve the County Engineer request to get quotes for gravel in the southern part of the county.

COVID-19 UPDATE

Emergency Management Update

Public Health/CHI LakeWood Health

A COVID-19 update from CHI LakeWood Health was provided by Kay M. Schell, Public Health Manager, and Jenny Loughrey, Infection Control and Employee Health Coordinator, via conference call.  

Schell commented on how businesses have ramped up cleaning procedures and some are installing plexiglass at their counters. Schell continues to work on policies for COVID-19 and attends meetings to stay updated on the latest COVID-19 information.

Loughrey shared that a universal masking protocol and screening process is in place at CHI LakeWood Health.  She thanked the community for donations of alternative face masks.  A survey, by the Minnesota Department of Health, to monitor processes for COVID-19 in long-term care was conducted at CHI LakeWood Health and no deficiencies were received.

County

Tourism

Commissioner Ed Arnesen talked about how to open up tourism safely and the need to have a proactive response.  Jill Hasbargen-Olson said that the next emergency management stakeholders meeting will be on Thursday at 4 pm and invited the tourism board to attend via WebEx.  Meeting information will be sent to Joe Henry. Schell encouraged the tourism board to reach out to herself, Loughrey and Hasbargen-Olson for resources or training needs.

Accesses

Motion

Motion was made by Commissioner Ed Arnesen, seconded by Commissioner Joe Grund and carried unanimously to approve the opening of all County controlled Right of Ways that provide access along the Rainy River effective Tuesday, April 21, 2020.

Property Taxes

County Auditor/Treasurer Lorene Hanson provided the Board with examples of strategies that counties are implementing or considering regarding property taxes. The County does not have the authority to change property tax due dates.  It was requested that property taxes be put on the agenda for the next regular board meeting.

OTHER AREAS OF CONCERN

Landfill 

Ted Furbish is working on spring organization at the landfill and communicated that the landfill will be closed to the public on Wednesdays until further notice.  The landfill is open on Saturday for contractors by appointment only. Other dates and hours of operation will continue as previously listed. The recycle trailer will be removed for a short time. The grinder should be delivered by the middle or end of May.

Northern Light Region

Mike Hovde, from the Northern Light Region, questioned a change made to when the state-owned public accesses would open.  Also discussed updates from Hospitality Minnesota, which helped to simplify the executive order by the governor in relation to lodging and tourism.

Courts

County Attorney, James Austad, has been in meetings with district court administrators and they are working on a process to reopen courtrooms. Austad will keep the Board updated on the plan.

Add to Agenda

Commissioner Ed Arnesen would like future county spending and website updates added to the next board meeting agenda.

RECESS

With no further business before the Board, Chairman Jon Waibel called the meeting to recess at 9:49 a.m.

Attest: April 28, 2020

__________________________________ _________________________________

County Auditor/Treasurer, Lorene Hanson Chairman of the Board, Jon Waibel 

Commissioner Proceedings

April 28, 2020

The Lake of the Woods County Board of Commissioners met in regular session on Tuesday, April 28 2020 at Lake of the Woods County Government Center in the Commissioners’ Room. 

CALL TO ORDER

Chair Jon Waibel called the meeting to order at 9:00 a.m. and the Pledge of Allegiance was recited with the following members present: Commissioners: Joe Grund, Jon Waibel, Buck Nordlof, Cody Hasbargen and Ed Arnesen. Also present were: County Auditor/Treasurer Lorene Hanson, Emergency Management Director Jill Hasbargen-Olson, County Attorney James Austad and Mike Hovde.

APPROVAL OF AGENDA

Motion

Motion was made by Commissioner Cody Hasbargen, seconded by Commissioner Buck Nordlof and carried unanimously to approve the agenda.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

Motion

Motion was made by Commissioner Joe Grund, seconded by Commissioner Cody Hasbargen and carried unanimously to approve the official and summarized minutes of April 14, 2020 and April 21, 2020.

SOCIAL SERVICES

Claims

Motion

Motion was made by Commissioner Joe Grund, seconded by Commissioner Ed Arnesen and carried unanimously to approve the following claims: Commissioners Warrant’s $6,982.47, Commissioners Warrant’s $3,104.61, Commissioners Warrant’s $21,865.91.

AUDITOR/TREASURER

Claims

Motion

Motion was made by Commissioner Buck Nordlof, seconded by Commissioner Cody Hasbargen and carried unanimously to approve the claims against the County as follows: Revenue $66,450.46; Road & Bridge $53,670.47; Solid Waste $17,142.03;

WARRANTS FOR PUBLICATION

Warrants Approved On 4/28/2020 For Payment 4/30/2020

Vendor Name Amount

Allstates Pavement Recycling & Stab. Inc 10,366.00

Avenu Insights & Analytics 6,311.59

ByteSpeed, LLC 3,844.00

Mar-Kit Landfill 14,595.50

Mike Motors of Minnesota Inc 28,840.00

Minnesota Ui 3,633.90

Northern Light Region 3,586.43

Office Liquidators Inc. 9,881.00

Quadient Finance USA Inc. 3,000.00

Ranger GM 37,045.00

31 Payments less than 2000   16,159.54

                               Final Total: 137,262.96

Further moved to authorize the payment of the following auditor warrants: April 15, 2020 for 43,754.64; April 22, 2020 for 10,625.47.

Property Tax

Resolution

The following resolution was offered by Commissioner Ed Arnesen, seconded by Commissioner Cody Hasbargen and carried unanimously the following:

RESOLUTION 

PROPERTY TAX LATE PAYMENT ABATEMENT 

COVID-19

RESOLUTION NO. 20-04-02

WHEREAS; the Lake of the Woods County Board of Commissioners declared Lake of the Woods County in a State of Emergency for the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency effective March 16, 2020, pursuant to Minnesota Statutes 2019 Chapter 12; and 

WHEREAS; the COVID-19 Pandemic Virus is impacting Lake of the Woods County residents and its’ businesses; and

WHEREAS; Lake of the Woods County desires to provide temporary relief to its residents and businesses within the County that have been directly or indirectly impacted by the economic pressures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic; and

WHEREAS; Lake of the Woods County recognizes that due to unemployment, lost or reduced wages and the loss of business income, the timely payment of property taxes will be a major economic pressure for many county property owners and businesses this year; and

WHEREAS; Lake of the Woods County recognizes that not all individual and business property owners may be experiencing financial hardships due to COVID-19, and those who can, are encouraged to pay their property taxes by the due date of May 15, 2020 or as scheduled.  This would also include all who utilize escrow payments and Automatic ACH payments (Direct Payment of Property Tax); and 

WHEREAS; the Lake of the Woods County Board may, pursuant to Minnesota Statute 279.01, subdivision 2, with the concurrence of the County Treasurer, abate the penalty for late payment of property taxes in the current year; and

WHEREAS; the Lake of the Woods County Board finds that imposing the penalty for late payment of the 2020 current year property taxes that would be imposed between May 16, 2020 and July 15, 2020 would be unjust and unreasonable; and

WHEREAS; the Lake of the Woods County Auditor/Treasurer concurs with the County Board’s findings and its desire to abate the penalty for taxpayers for late payment of the 2020 current year property taxes that would be imposed between May 16, 2020 and July 15, 2020.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Lake of the Woods County Board of Commissioners pursuant to Minnesota Statute 279.01, subdivision 2, hereby delegates authority to the County Auditor/Treasurer to abate any penalties for late payments made for the first half of current year 2020 property tax payments due in May 2020, and paid on or before July 15, 2020; 

FURTHER, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Lake of the Woods County Board of Commissioners encourages all taxpayers that can pay their property taxes by May 15, 2020 to comply with the due date.

FURTHER, BE IT RESOLVED, by the Lake of the Woods County Board of Commissioners, that this abatement consideration applies only to current year property tax payments originally due in May 2020, but received on or before July 15, 2020, and any taxes paid after July 15, 2020, will revert to the regular penalty schedule.

Snowmobile Trails Assistance Program Resolutions

The following resolution was offered by Commissioner Ed Arnesen, seconded by Commissioner Joe Grund and moved for adoption: 

Resolution No. 20-04-04

Sponsorship of Snowmobile Trails Assistance Program

BE IT RESOLVED, that Lake of the Woods County will act as the legal sponsor for an application for funding to the State of Minnesota Department of Natural Resource for NW Angle Islands maintenance of snowmobile trails managed by Northwest Angle Edge Riders Club. 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that upon approval of its application by the state, the Lake of the Woods County may enter into an agreement with the State of Minnesota for the above referenced project and that it will comply with all applicable laws and regulations as stated in the agreement. 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that County Auditor-Treasurer, Lorene G Hanson is hereby authorized to serve as the fiscal agent for the above referenced project. 

The following resolution was offered by Commissioner Buck Nordlof, seconded by Commissioner Cody Hasbargen and moved for adoption: 

Resolution No. 20-04-05

Sponsorship of Snowmobile Trails Assistance Program

BE IT RESOLVED, that Lake of the Woods County will act as the legal sponsor for an application for funding to the State of Minnesota Department of Natural Resource for Lake of the Woods Drifters Land and Big Traverse Trails managed by Lake of the Woods Drifters. 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that upon approval of its application by the state, the Lake of the Woods County may enter into an agreement with the State of Minnesota for the above referenced project and that it will comply with all applicable laws and regulations as stated in the agreement. 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that County Auditor-Treasurer, Lorene G Hanson is hereby authorized to serve as the fiscal agent for the above referenced project

FUTURE COUNTY SPENDING

It was the consensus of the Board that departments visit with the Board before making capital expenditures, even if the item was budgeted for. The Board requested to review Revenue and Expenditure guidelines again.

MIS

Website Update

MIS Director, Peder Hovland, contacted other counties to discuss their websites and vendor recommendations.  An updated ADA compliant website could cost $30,000 to $60,000 to build with an additional annual cost of $6,000 to $7,000.  A committee with representation from each department will be formed.  Commissioners would like MIS to get quotes for the updating of the website.  

LAND AND WATER PLANNING

MCIT Sponsoring Entity Resolution

The following resolution was offered by Commissioner Cody Hasbargen, seconded by Commissioner Ed Arnesen and moved for adoption: 

RESOLUTION #20-04-03

Sponsorship of Lake of the Woods Watershed Joint Powers Board for Minnesota Counties Intergovernmental Trust Membership

WHEREAS, Lake of the Woods County is a member of the Minnesota Counties Intergovernmental Trust; and

WHEREAS, a current member of the Minnesota Counties Intergovernmental Trust must sponsor a new entity for membership; and 

WHEREAS, Lake of the Woods Watershed Joint Powers Board desires to become a member for the purposes of obtaining liability, property, and workers compensation coverage.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that Lake of the Woods County sponsors Lake of the Woods Watershed Joint Powers Board for membership.

Adopted this 28th day of April, 2020

COUNTY HIGHWAY/LANDFILL

Update County Highway

County Engineer, AJ Pirkl, provided the County Highway update. 

An invitation was extended to Lindsay Krause for the U of M student intern position. Krause will start just after Memorial Day.  

Pirkl is looking into rental options for a Gradall Excavator.  The excavator can travel at highway speed (60 mph) and could increase ditch cleaning capabilities.  There are three dealers in Minnesota, the closest being in Virginia.  Pirkl will have more information for the next meeting.

Motion

Motion was made by Commissioner Joe Grund, seconded by Commissioner Buck Nordlof and carried unanimously to accept and approve the bid for SAP 39-030-003 Bituminous Seal Coat Project to Asphalt Surface Technologies Corporation (ASTECH) for $332,789.35.


Update Landfill
County Engineer, AJ Pirkl, provided the County Landfill Update. The landfill plans to start operating at full-staff after the road restrictions are lifted. Pirkl submitted the landfill expansion and updated ground water monitoring plan to the MCPA last Friday.

EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT

Approval of New Radio Console

Jill Hasbargen-Olson, Emergency Management Director, requested approval for the MCC 7500 Dispatch Console.  The Emergency Communications Networks (ECN) has agreed to cover 44% of the cost, Hasbargen-Olson is also working with insurance to cover some of the cost due to damage from the lightning strike last summer. The quote was for $380,572 (-$167,451.68 from ECN = $213,120.32).  Hasbargen-Olson said that the fire department, ambulance and school buses will be switching to the armor system this summer.  County Highway still uses VHF radios. The County Board suggested to move forward but to work with the County Engineer, AJ Pirkl, to get the County Highway onboard at the same time.

Hasbargen-Olson also talked about 911 equipment in dispatch that is nearing end of life, more information on this equipment will be provided at the next meeting.  The board requested an update on ongoing expenditures in the 911 budget.


Motion

Motion was made by Commissioner Joe Grund, seconded by Commissioner Ed Arnesen and carried unanimously to approve the purchase of the MCC 7500 Dispatch Console for Lake of the Woods County at a cost of up to $213,120.00 (after ECN pays 44%). 

COVID-19 UPDATE

Jill Hasbargen-Olson, Emergency Management Director, had nothing new to report on the COVID-19 front and no confirmed cases in Lake of the Woods County. ANI Pharmaceuticals was set to present at the next stakeholders meeting on their COVID-19 cleaning procedures and employee protocols.  Ryan Zemek from Lake of the Woods Economic Development was also asked to provide information.  

Hasbargen-Olson continues to work with public health and reported that the memorandum of understanding has not been received back from the hotels and the arena.  She recommended that the County Board review travel and trainings policies for county employees and consider if those will continue, web conferences for future meetings and trainings was encouraged.  It was suggested to have the department heads meet to plan for reopening the county buildings. Consider having a masking/screening processes in place for employees and a policy template that each department could complete to plan for social distancing and cleaning.  Department heads will be requested to attend the May 5th special COVID-19 meeting. 

Hasbargen-Olson will work with the Northern Light Region to include a Thank You to the community for the masks and support during COVID-19.

James Austad, County Attorney, mentioned that Court Administration is having a meeting to continue plans for reopening the courts.

RECESS

With no further business before the Board, Chairman Jon Waibel called the meeting to recess at 10:48 a.m.

Attest: May 12, 2020

______________________________ _________________________________

County Auditor/Treasurer, Lorene Hanson Chairman of the Board, Jon Waibel