5/22/2020 12:39:00 PM Cass County Board: Social distancing continues in county operations
By Kyndra Johnson of the Press-Citizen
BACKUS - The Cass County Board meet Tuesday, May 19 in Backus rather than the previously scheduled location of Leader Community Hall due to social distancing restrictions. Roll call was taken with board members Dick Downham and Scott Bruns joining via phone conference. Other presenters also joined via phone conference due to COVID-19 regulations and social distancing.
Joshua Stevenson, Cass County Administrator, recommended limiting public access to county buildings through June 2, with courtrooms and court proceedings remaining open. Although the stay-at-home order is over, there is a stay-safe order in effect and this would be consistent with that order. Also, certain OSHA standards are currently requiring this limited access. Stevenson also stated that when the courthouse does allow the public access, there will need to be precautions put into place such as restricting the use of certain exits.
Stevenson shared some statistics with the commissioners on recorded documents between the dates of March 1, 2019 to May 11, 2019 compared to the same dates of the current year. The numbers were only down approximately 138 documents. The board approved extending the limited access to the county buildings through June 2 and will revisit the decision again at the next board meeting.
Stevenson mentioned to the board that Sourcewell has loaned the county two 3-D printers plus the pigment and plexiglass, free of charge, which will allow the county to make plastic face shields for citizens that are on the front lines. With two employees working just an hour a day approximately twelve face shields can be made. These face shields will be given to county staff that have contact with the public first and then they will give them to area nursing homes and emergency response staff.
The meeting notes from the Solid Waste Committee were shared and discussed during the meeting as a motion needed to be made to add option 2 for the replacement of the Pine River Transfer Station Buildings to the Capital Plan, create an operations plan for the new facility, pursue funds to begin the project as soon as possible and raise the tip fee for Municipal Solid Waste $2 per ton effective July 1, 2020. There were three options presented during this meeting with option 2 being the best one to allow the current transfer station contractor to keep working while construction takes place. This motion was passed unanimously.
In other county board business:
Special recognition was given for a letter received concerning Perfect Performance for 2019 Financial Reporting to MN DHS.
Approved the motion to establish a public hearing for the vacation, revocation or abandonment of Whipholt Beach Road Northwest (old Truck Highway 34) on June 16, 2020 during the regular Board Meeting beginning at 6 p.m. at Pine Lake Township Hall. It was mentioned that this meeting has to be conducted in the township that the road is located in. The county is currently looking at the township hall to decide the best possible way to conduct the meeting with social distancing practices.
Heard the Longville ambulance report from Kevin Lee, ambulance services manager for North Memorial Health. Lee shared that there was a decrease in activity for the first quarter possibly due to COVID-19 and most citizens being not out and about or being reluctant to go to the hospital. Lee stated that all areas of Minnesota are seeing a decrease in activity.
Adopted a resolution providing on-sale liquor license fee relief for 2020 renewals only for on-sale intoxicating licenses, including wine/strong beer and combination licenses. The fees will be reduced from $1,500 per year to $1,000 per year for on-sale liquor license fees, on-sale wine, with strong beer authorization, will be reduced from $300 per year to $200 per year and combination licenses of on-sale intoxicating and off-sale intoxicating will be reduced from $2,000 per year to $1,340 per year. All other ordinance requirements will remain in effect including late payment fees.
Adopt a resolution establishing the withholding for reforestation and trails prior to the tax forfeit distribution. With setting aside 30% of tax-forfeited settlement for reforestation and 20% of tax-forfeited settlement set aside for maintenance of county recreational areas.
Approved changing the tax-forfeited land sale date to 9 a.m. Oct. 10, 2020 at the Cass County Courthouse. This sale was originally scheduled for June 13, but due to COVID-19, social distancing requirements and to ensure the health and safety of customers and staff it wasn't possible. Kirk Titus, Cass County Land Commissioner, was on hand to present this request and stated that the law states that the sale has to be conducted in person and at the county courthouse. With these requirements, it was noted that there is limited space to conduct this sale and still maintain social distancing.
The next board meeting will be 9 a.m. Tuesday, June 2, at the Land Department Meeting Room in Backus.