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Douglas County Board Meeting January 17 2023

Posted: 01/18/2023

Author: Julie Anderson

Category: County Board, Departments

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A refreshing start to the January 17 Douglas County Board of Commissioners meeting included the introduction of members attending this year’s Leadership Alexandria program. That program is organized by the Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce so business leaders can learn more about local government. Board Chair Charlie Meyer welcomed them and Chamber Executive Director Tara Bitzan.

One of the first items on the agenda was to approve pay levels for seasonal workers who will begin applying for positions soon.  The county plans to hire 14 watercraft inspectors who will look for and educate watercraft owners about aquatic invasive species. The pay range for a Level 2 inspector is $16.71 and $15.76 for a Level 1. Parks maintenance workers will also be paid $15.76. The county plans to hire three people for this position. Other seasonal jobs include an engineering technician intern at $15.76 an hour and a highway maintenance worker for $21.47 per hour. The Auditor Treasurer’s Office will hire an office assistant for May and October at $15.76 per hour and an election assistant at $19.56 per hour. Commissioner Tim Kalina made the motion to approve the hiring with the condition that if the county can’t find workers it will raise the wages. Douglas County employment opportunities can be found online at

Sheriff’s Office

Sheriff Troy Wolbersen asked the board to approve contracts for dedicated patrol service with the cities of Carlos, Evansville and Miltona. The county charges the cities $43.75 per hour for this service. The sheriff pointed out this dedicated service is in addition to routine patrols and response to calls for service. 

The sheriff also asked the board to accept two donations for the K-9 unit. Both came with personal notes. One thanking a deputy for how he handled a call at her home and the other thanking the sheriff’s office for all they do every day.

Social Services

Providing mental health services to Douglas County residents is a vital service. Director Laurie Bonds asked commissioners to approve contracts with Lakeland Mental Health Center for pre-petition screening and outpatient and clinical supervision. She also asked them to approve contracts with Productive Alternatives for day support services and supported employment services and a contract with PrimeWest Health for targeted mental health case management for adults and children. 

Bonds then asked commissioners for approval of the children’s mental health Local Collaborative Time Study Grant Contracts for:

  • Alexandria Area High School
  • Kalon Prep Academy
  • Osakis School and Community Mental Health Partnership
  • Runestone Alternative School

The board approved all contracts.

Public Works

County Engineer and Public Works Director Tim Erickson asked for final payment approval for the 2022 paving contract with Mark Sand and Gravel. The final payment amount was $39,623.53.

He asked next for the ability to purchase a Shoulder Reclaimer off of state contract. He and maintenance supervisor Steve Johansen said this machine will be a huge benefit and will allow for two staff members to work on other projects during the busy summer season. 

Next on the agenda were requests to purchase equipment for the GIS specialist and the county surveyor. Commissioners learned there will be trade-ins with this equipment to keep the price down. Those prices will be included in the February board packet for review.

Commissioners made the annual approval of using not more than 20 percent of receipts from the sale of tax forfeited land to acquire and maintain Douglas County parks and recreational areas for the betterment of Douglas County and its residents.


Vicki Doehling asked for and was given approval of a gambling permit for Ladies of the Lake raffle at Arrowwood on February 11.


Finance Director Jill Frisell asked the board to approve the annual transfer of funds from capital projects back to the general fund. This time the request involves election equipment that needs to be purchased. The cost for 69 iPads and related equipment is $29,842.40.

Frisell also informed the board the county has received what’s called local assistance and tribal consistency funds. These are federal dollars and can be used for a wide range of projects and equipment. Douglas County received the first $50,000 in December of 2022 and will receive another $50,000 in 2023. No decision has yet been made on how that money will be spent.

Land and Resource Management

Director Dave Rush presented a series of license renewals for disposal haulers, excavator/landscaper and sign erection and maintenance. All were approved.

Rush then presented the final plat for the Bertrand First Addition which is a one lot plat for residential use in Lund Township.

During the Land and Resource Management presentation, Commissioner Jerry Rapp also reiterated his concern over the county issuing permits for new developments without requirements for reducing salt disposal into area lakes.  He said the said the county needs to be front and center on demanding change. Commissioner Charlie Meyer agreed with Rapp saying we can’t keep dumping a bunch of salt at the head of our chain of lakes. The board has had extensive discussions on salt from water softeners entering the lakes and how it can be reduced.

The board’s next meeting is a rare Wednesday. It will be held February 15 at 9 a.m. in the board room located at 821 Cedar Street Alexandria.



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