Meeker County Council Approves Courthouse Security Upgrades | New
With security being today’s topic, Meeker County Council last week heard options for the installation of safety glass in the Meeker County Courthouse.
Facilities Manager Joel Ramthun presented the bids and requested final approval for the installation of safety glass on the third and fourth floors. He suggested installing tinted glass on the fifth level. According to Ramthun, the additional tint on the fifth floor of the courthouse would increase energy efficiency and provide certain security measures.
The county received a grant of $33,750 for the project, and the Board approved the facility at a net project cost to the county of $44,895.
If you are wondering why there is roadwork on the newly paved roads at the west end of the town of Litchfield, this is a new pavement chip sealing project.
“It’s basically a sunscreen on the new pavement,” according to public works manager Phil Schmalz, and is designed to prevent the new asphalt from drying out and becoming brittle.
Schmalz also submitted a reclassification project for the southeast side of the city of Dassel, and the Council approved.
This year being an election year, there has been much discussion regarding the creation of a mail-in polling station for the county. Judges must be trained and declare a party in order to participate in the process. There are several different levels of ballot sorting, according to Meeker County Auditor Barb Loch, with about 25 to 30 meetings scheduled, and the process is transparent to the public.
The topic of using county staff rather than outside judges generated some discussion.
Some counties use county staff exclusively, some use a mix, and some use only non-county staff, Loch said. The declaration of party affiliation creates a potential disadvantage in using county staff, Loch said.
The primary postal voting period began on Friday. Constituency members can expect their mail-in ballot around July 11.
Conditional use permits granted
Conditional use permits have been granted for a landscaping project on Stella Lake and the installation of a retaining wall in Darwin Township. The Commission has approved an application to rezone two plots of farmland to rural residential areas and divide the two into three plots for building eligibility.
Changed transfer station contract
Endurance Environmental Solutions is requesting an amendment to the transfer station operating contract with Meeker County, stating that the contract is no longer viable. Several waste management options were discussed, including the possibility of a change in how management fees are paid, revenue collection and responsibility for day-to-day operation of the landfill. Leaving future review on the table, the Board approved amending the current transfer station operating contract and changing the landfill fee effective July 1.
The board approved the Communicable Disease and Communicable Disease Prevention through Social Services Policy that was established during the COVID-19 pandemic with the addition of a requirement for medical documentation. Additionally, due to legislation, the board approved an amendment to the policy to coincide with a Minnesota statutory change. The law requires companies to make reasonable accommodations for an employee to express milk for her baby during the first 12 months after birth.
Are landing inspections worth it? Currently, the county’s budget is $153,000 for the summer, and that funds inspections of area lakes on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. While the DNR reiterates that it may be more for education purposes than for inspection purposes, the county will continue to evaluate the program.
Regional issues discussed
Council members attended a June 13 district meeting in Wright County and reported on what is being discussed in other counties in the area. A hot topic was VRBO (vacation rental by owner) management, nuisance enforcement and restrictions as VRBO becomes increasingly popular in lake areas. Other important elements are the regulation of opioids, a growing concern for all, and broadband which is progressing in bringing the Internet to rural areas.
Commissioners heard that the Pioneerland Public Library System, which includes four libraries in Meeker County and 32 libraries and 160 staff throughout the region, receives no federal or state funding. The library system depends on city and county support to operate.