Wright County Board Minutes

BOARD MINUTES BOARD OF WRIGHT COUNTY COMMISSIONERS APRIL 30, 2020 Reconvened from the April 28, 2020 Board Meeting DATE APPROVED: MAY 5, 2020
The Board Meeting of 4-28-20 was reconvened at 10:00 A.M. with Husom and Vetsch present. Commissioners Daleiden and Borrell joined the meeting remotely. Commissioner Potter was absent.
Husom stated Governor Tim Walz has not yet provided an update regarding COVID-19 and the stay-at-home order. It is expected he will offer more guidance this afternoon.
Lee Kelly, County Administrator, said Governor Walz held a press conference on 4-23-20 which offered a phased approach to reopening. Utilizing that information, a memo to the County Board was drafted, “Reopening Phased Approach.” The phased plan is to keep citizens and employees safe and healthy while gradually reopening County Services. The draft language is below:
Wright County’s current closure of public counters extends through Sunday, May 3 which coincides with the State of Minnesota’s current stay at home order.
On April 23rd Governor Walz announced a phased approach to reopening businesses in Minnesota.
Steps to a similar phased approach for county operations are outlined below. Phase I recommendations are proposed for an implementation date of Monday, May 4. The main objective of the phased plan is to keep our citizens and employees safe and healthy while gradually reopening County services.
We will employ the following strategies:
1. Public counters will remain closed to general walk-in traffic.
2. Service by appointment is offered for certain services that cannot be completed via other methods or are difficult to complete online due to lack of an electronic solution, complexity of transaction, or customer barrier to accessing the service online.
3. Electronic processing of documents and applications, and delivery of services via virtual methods are continued and increased where possible. Methods for effective virtual service delivery are refined.
4. A number of steps have been implemented to prepare facilities for future operations Physical spaces such as meeting rooms are to be arranged to support social distancing, protective barriers have been installed, increased cleaning protocols will continue.
5. Employees will continue to work remotely as much as possible while maintaining essential county functions.
Protocols related to services that are reopened will be guided by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) recommendations. Reopening Wright County - Phase II will be recommended to the Board later based upon health data and trends, with the goal of incrementally reopening all Wright County buildings and services.
Phase one services accessibility
• Public counters remain closed at the Government Center, Highway Department and Health and Human Services Center
• Property Tax Payments can be submitted via U.S. mail, online payment service or by appointment at Government Center.
• Marriage licenses are available by appointment contact 763-682-7355 or are available via electronic processing
• Compost Facility: Reopening May 7th with self service drive-through service and drop off of hazardous waste. Appointments are required for hazardous material drop off. Appointments can be made by calling (763) 682-7338.
• Parks remain open. The Schroeder Park & Campground and Collinwood Park & Campground will open Thursday, May 7, 2020.
• Restroom facilities at Bertram Chain of Lakes Regional Park, Beebe Lake County Park, Clearwater/Pleasant County Park, and Otsego County Park will open Thursday, May 7, 2020
• Wright County Sheriff Office lobby will be closed to the public except by appointment only. To make an appointment, please contact the Sheriff’s Administration line 763-682-7622 or email the Sheriff’s Office general email account sheriffclerical@co.wright.mn.us
• Permit to purchase firearm applications can be found on the Sheriff’s Office web page and can be completed along with a copy of your current drivers license and sent to the Sheriff’s Office general email sheriffclerical@co.wright.mn.us
• To pick up property from our Property / Evidence room please call the following numbers: 763-682-7680 or 763-684-2363
• Please see the following link for special instructions concerning jail visitation and instructions specific to the Wright County Jail. http://www.co.wright.mn.us/DocumentCenter/View/19100/New-Visiting-Rules
Kelly said the situation is fluid and will be closely monitored. Staff continues to strategize and plan for the reopening of public counters. Discussion has included the use of face coverings. He recommended approval of the draft as Phase I of the Reopening Phased Approach, starting May 4, 2020 and effective until May 18, 2020.
Discussion followed on directing Administration to research providing face coverings upon reopening for employees and the public. Borrell thought it would be good to seek available options and samples. He said history has shown that use of face coverings is effective in spread of a virus. Seth Hansen, Emergency Management Director, said there is a shortage of masks for first responders and law enforcement. Kelly said it is important to distinguish between face masks and coverings. What the County will look at will be face coverings. Husom said face coverings can be made from cloth. An option would be to inform the public that they will need to wear face coverings while in County buildings. Daleiden stated that the Wellness Committee is researching face covering options for employees. Husom said both Administration and the Wellness Committee continue to look at options.
Daleiden requested that the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) topic be added to the 5-05-20 County Board Agenda.
Vetsch moved to approve Phase I, Reopening Phased Approach document as presented. The motion was seconded by Daleiden and carried 4-0 on a roll call vote.
Vetsch requested the Board schedule a Committee Of The Whole (COTW) Meeting on 5-04-20 at 1:00 P.M. to discuss funding allocations through the Central Minnesota Council on Aging (CMCOA) and how that relates to the Senior Meal Program through Wright County Community Action (WCCA). He stated WCCA has been struggling with funding for the Program. He would like discussion to include the revenue stream from the State to the CMCOA and how that is distributed to counties.
Daleiden understood that Public Health received some funding, and that the State may have also received additional funding. He is curious as to whether that funding will be distributed to counties. Husom said discussion at the proposed COTW Meeting would be specific to the WCCA Senior Meal Program. Vetsch said the WCCA is at zero funding to facilitate the program, and they are working daily to meet this need. Vetsch has been in contact with Lori Vrolsen, CMCOA Executive Director, who will attend the COTW meeting.
Vetsch moved to schedule a COTW Meeting on 5-04-20 at 1:00 PM to discuss CMCOA revenues, expenses and the WCCA Senior Meal Program. He requested that Jay Weatherford, WCCA Executive Director, be invited to the meeting. Seth Hansen, Emergency Management Director, will be invited as well. The motion was seconded by Daleiden and carried 4-0 on a roll call vote.
Kelly said there was discussion at the Legislature on a first round of funding that went out to counties with a population of over 500,000. There is discussion on how that is going to be distributed to the remaining counties. Kelly will provide updates on funding as they are received.
Sarah Grosshuesch, Public Health Director, stated that public health response fund grant funding was received in the amount of $147,000. That funding has been spent. The Association of Minnesota Counties and the local public health association are trying to obtain information from the Minnesota Department of Health, on the status of additional funds through FEP that has not been allocated to the local level. The regular public health emergency grant renewal was received with an additional $1,800, and that funding is being used toward the Public Health Emergency Preparedness position.
Staff trained by the Minnesota Department of Health will be taking on case investigations next week. They continue to watch what is occurring in surrounding counties. As targeted testing is implemented for at risk groups, they are seeing some increase. They also worked with Human Resources on a staffing plan which will be implemented. Grosshuesch referenced the economy and the positive effect on peoples as things are re-opened. However, with that comes additional work for public health relative to isolation and quarantine. She does not suggest a repeat of opening and closing. Husom said she appreciates the graduated opening.
Vetsch would like more information on funding from the federal to the state level and how that is divided out. It may be that it is tied up at the state level, determining how to reallocate the funding.
The meeting adjourned at 10:31 AM.
County Board Minutes submitted by Susan Backes, Clerk to the County Board
Published in The Herald Journal, May 22, 2020.