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

Douglas County Board Meeting May 16, 2023

Posted: 05/18/2023

Author: Julie Anderson

Category: County Board, Departments

< Back

At its May 16 meeting, the Douglas County Board of Commissioners proclaimed May 2023 as Mental Health Month to increase public awareness of mental health. Along with Laurie Bonds, Director of Social Services, members of the Local Advisory Council on Mental Health shared with the board the unmet needs in the mental health system. Among them long waits to see a psychiatrist, long waiting lists for subsidized housing, and a shortage of psychiatric beds which are all located outside a 60-mile radius from Alexandria. Also, the workforce shortage means a lack of staff in residential and community-based facilities. The Advisory Council did point out some positive aspects which include the Region IV South Mobile Crisis Team is available 24 hours a day, and on-going support is provided by Vikingland CSP through their services and drop-in center in Alexandria.

The council invited commissioners to take part in the Mental Health Walk which occurred May 19 in Alexandria. Several of the commissioners take an active part in the work to improve resources for serving those with mental illness. Commissioner Jerry Rapp is a member of the Local Advisory Council on Mental Health. Commissioner Keith Englund is part of the Region IV South Mental Health Initiative and Commissioner Tim Kalina sits on the Regional Mental Health Committee and Lakeland Mental Health Center.  

Bonds also presented for approval, a resolution establishing the Douglas County Opioid Task Force and Screening Committee. Ann Stehn, Director of Horizon Public Health, and Community Health Strategist Amy Reineke shared the resolution which states Horizon Public Health, in its role as facilitator and organizer of Douglas County’s community response related to opioids, recommends, after consultation with county stakeholders, the formation of a screening committee. The committee will include voting representatives from Horizon Public Health, Douglas County Social Services, Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, Alexandria Police Department, a local school, healthcare, mental health and two members at large. Additional membership will include Douglas County Coordinator Director, Douglas County Finance Director, and Douglas County Social Services Director. The committee will determine how to spend funds received through a national settlement.  

Public Works

Commissioners approved advertising for bids to rebuild County Road 24 in Lund Township.

The board approved an arrangement that will bring ice cream, chips, candy, and beverages to the Le Homme Dieu Beach this summer. Trio Treats, owned by Jackie Lair, was given permission to sell the packaged items at the currently unused concession stand. The treats will be available seven days a week from noon to 7 p.m. starting Memorial Day weekend.

Commissioners asked Park Superintendent Brad Bonk a couple of additional questions about other parks. He said the first treatment for weeds at Lake Brophy beach will be June 6 and he expects the Pilgrim Point Park restroom to be open to the public on Memorial Day weekend.

Land and Resource Management

Director Dave Rush presented the final plat for the Berns Addition on Lake Cowdry which splits one lot into two. The motion was approved but Commissioner Jerry Rapp stated he remains concerned about not requiring sewer upgrades in this area.

A Conditional Use Permit was approved for Blu Waters LLC which will be allowed to have two private vacation rental units on one parcel. Having more than one unit requires the permit. Overnight guest capacity will be determined by sewer capacity.

A Conditional Use Permit was also approved for the Marvin and Marlys Jensen Trust. This project will be a seven-unit residential planned unit development on a 30-acre strip of land on Red Rock Lake. 

The board approved a Conditional Use Permit for Landon Craig which will allow him to expand his animal feedlot from 67 to 299. The plan is for a new facility to include a new total confinement barn and a new roofed manure stacking slab. The facilities will house both swine and beef initially with beef eventually being phased out. The board agreed to hold a second public hearing so neighbors could ask additional questions about this facility before voting on whether to grant the permit application. Residents were concerned about odor and manure disposal and overall impact on the environment. The facility is located in Holmes City Township.

Rush also presented the board with two projects completed through the Douglas County Water Quality Legacy Fund. In 2018 the county set aside funds to support environmental projects. Rush asked them to approve or deny payment of $25,000 for the restoration of three prairie pothole wetland basins totaling 70 acres and $10,000 for a native buffer installed to restore shoreline and stormwater basins on the grounds of Bethel Manor on Lake Winona. This work filters runoff coming from a steep slope prior to discharging into the lake. Commissioners approved the $10,000 project but did not include funding for the $25,000 project.


Vicki Doehling asked for approval of a temporary on-sale liquor license for the Alexandria Elks Lodge which will provide and serve alcohol during the Anderson Bash June 30 and July 1. 

Douglas County Sheriff’s Office

The sheriff’s office asked for and was given approval to accept generous donations to the office. $400 came from DeWayne and Dorothy Bisek to honor the memory and service of Pope County Deputy Josh Owen and will be used for the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Unit and $100 came from Ascheman Trucking to be used for the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office fitness room.


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