Printer Friendly Version  Email A Friend  Add This  Increase Text Size  Decrease Text Size

Douglas County Board Meeting February 15 2023

Posted: 02/28/2023

Author: Julie Anderson

Category: County Board, Departments

< Back

The February 15 meeting of the Douglas County Board of Commissioners began with a public hearing regarding the Conditional Use Permit of Virkus Properties. Land and Resource Management Director Dave Rush told commissioners this is the first time in his years with the county he has brought a request to consider revoking or suspending the Conditional Use Permit (CUP) of a business owner. Virkus Properties owns Crooked Willow Event Facility in Osakis Township. Rush explained the permit, issued in 2018, had nine conditions and two of them were not being met. He shared both verbally, and with written information in the board packet, that Virkus Properties has had adequate time and assistance to come into compliance with the conditions of the permit. Rush and County Attorney Chad Larson told board members the county board has an obligation to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public.

Derek Virkus walked through the steps he says he has taken to come into compliance. One of the primary concerns is meeting a state fire code requirement that event facilities accommodating 300 or more occupants have a fire sprinkler system. Virkus told the board he is prepared to install a sprinkler system if the state will not allow a fire wall to be constructed which would reduce the facility’s capacity to less than 300 occupants.

Virkus referenced the challenges he faced during the COVID19 shutdown and asked to have until the end of 2023 to come into compliance. Instead, the Board of Commissioners granted him six months to complete the work with the opportunity to ask for an extension if supply chain, or other issues out of his control, delay the process. Virkus did submit a severe weather plan which satisfied the other condition not previously met.

Following the public hearing, Rush presented his other agenda items. The first was a revised agreement for the Long Prairie River Watershed Plan implementation. Since commissioners first signed the agreement, Otter Tail County has asked to join the plan and therefore the board must re-sign the agreement.

The board approved the final plat of a 33-acre parcel in Lake Mary Township. The county purchased the parcel from Reed and Kay Hvezda. It will be used for the storage of road and ditch construction and maintenance materials and potentially for storage buildings or maintenance sheds. The property had been used as an aggregate mining site.

Coordinator’s Office

County Coordinator Heather Schlangen presented a request from residents of Douglas County looking for approval for aerial spraying to control forest tent caterpillars. The spraying will take place between May 15 and June 15. The board approved the request. Commissioner Jerry Rapp voted no on this agenda item.

Sheriff’s Office

Sheriff Troy Wolbersen asked the board to receive a $300.00 donation from the Golden K Kiwanis Club of Alexandria for the Sheriff’s DARE program. The sheriff said this annual donation is very nice and much appreciated.

Facilities and Maintenance  

The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, which houses the 911 dispatch center, needs a replacement generator. Following research done by Facilities Director Rod Naab, the board approved the purchase of a generator from Interstate Power Systems, Inc. for $116,200.00.

Information Systems

IT Director Brent Birkeland asked for and was given permission to purchase next generation firewall technology. Birkeland said the low quote includes replacement of two firewalls and associated security services running on them. The cost is $99,962.46.


Items of general interest

The Red Willow Arts Coalition received permission to use the Douglas County Courthouse lawn for concerts again this summer. All performances begin at 7 p.m.  Chuck Wencl told the board the concerts continue to be very popular.

Shelli-Kae Foster, executive director of the Alexandria Senior Center, appeared before commissioners to ask the county board to commit to an increase in 2025 funding for operational costs so the senior center can enter into a long-term lease agreement with the YMCA. The goal is to expand the YMCA to house the senior center. This will provide much needed parking space and increase opportunities for educational programs, health and wellness activities, and social events. Foster shared the current success of all programs being offered and said that many refer to the center as the Douglas County Senior Center because members come from all over the county.  Commissioners also learned that some other counties, cities, and townships offer a much higher percentage of funding for senior centers as compared to that in Douglas County. Foster told the board she is hoping the county can commit to $25,000 in 2025. Kathryn LeBrasseur, a former county department head and longtime supporter of the senior center, was among the group appearing with Foster. She thanked the commissioners for always caring about seniors. The presentation was informational only and the board will still need to take action on the request.

Social Services

Director Laurie Bonds presented three contracts for approval. One is with the Developmental Achievement Center and two are for children’s mental health services. The new contract with Lakeland Mental Health is for children’s therapeutic support and includes emotional disturbance therapy in the home. The other contract is an addendum with Lutheran Social Services to provide an intensive level of therapy for children who would otherwise be placed outside their home.

Public Works 

 The board approved advertising for bids for the 2023 paving projects and grading of County State Aid Highway 8. It also approved the low bid for sign materials. M-R Sign Co. provided a quote of $13,940.24.

Emergency Management

Douglas County Emergency Management Director Julie Anderson asked for and received commissioners’ approval of the 2023 Hazard Mitigation Plan. This plan must be updated every five years. Cities, townships, county staff, and representatives from other agencies provided input. Each city must pass a resolution to adopt it along with the county. Once that process is complete, FEMA will approve it and the county will remain eligible for federal mitigation funds. The plan outlines the vulnerabilities and risks in the county and specific ideas to reduce those risks. The county’s highest risks from natural disasters are tornadoes and winter storms. Other risks include flooding, landslides, drought, and wildfires.  


Commissioners approved lawful gambling activity permits for the Minnesota Sheriff’s Association to conduct a raffle in December and United Way of Douglas and Pope Counties for a raffle at its fundraising event March 10.

Board of Commissioners

The commissioners provided their monthly per diem reports, they appointed Kevin Lee to the Douglas County Library Board and then went into closed session to discuss purchasing 32 acres at the Douglas County Fairgrounds area. The next board meeting will be Tuesday, March 7 at 9 a.m.



Be the first to leave a comment.

Leave your comment:
*Please note: Your comments need to be approved and will not display immediately after your submission.
CAPTCHA Validation