Yellow Medicine Commissioners share updates from across region

Jess Gorman
Staff Writer
Yellow Medicine County Justice Center

The YM County Commissioners met Tuesday morning for their regular bi-weekly meeting. Commissioner reports detailed, interesting information from across the region. Gary Johnson met with the parks committee and relayed the parks are in great shape however the fairgrounds are “terrible” with portions of the grounds needing maintenance. In other updates, in relation to Prairie Five and semi-truck size distributions tied to regional food shelves, Johnson questions statistical data that labeled Yellow Medicine County too small to participate in the resource, more information and insight was requested of the Administrator Angie Steinbach. Johnson also reported on the RTCC, regional transit meeting through Prairie Five also, noting a three year grant is coming up regarding implementation that is being pursued, regular ride pricing returns to the ride program as of 8/3 and a hot and cold truck was purchased by Prairie Five utilizing grant funds.

Commissioner Kack reported on a DAC meeting noting out of 30 calls made, 14 clients appear to be returning/seeking service at this juncture. If staff were to return to the office to serve clientele it would cost the program just under $2200 a day to open. With the appearance that 14 clients are returning the revenue for service would be approximately $840 dollars a day still projecting a loss of a little over $1300 a day. Scenarios will continue to be crunched to see if service is feasible. Kack also gave Western Mental Health updates, explaining the agency had closed an office in Ivanhoe and are opening a new office in the clinic in Tyler, effective and open for service next week. Last week the first staff Western Mental Health Staff member received a positive Covid-19 test, all other staff tested showed was negative.

Antony and Johnson both attended recent county budget meetings, noting the diligence or staff and ease of process working through the numbers. In other department meetings Antony explained interest in staff wondering if live in “partners” could have the same benefit coverage as the married spouse of an employee, per research relayed from Steinbach this request of extended coverage is not allowed under the current insurance plan. Berends handed down updates from the Covid Ad-Hoc committee, and the county museum which is seeing booming business due to a traveling WWI exhibit that is currently on display. Berends explained the exhibit is “more of a local flair on WWI” and will be on display the remained of the week.

Administrator Angie Steinback reported the county Covid-19 case count is at 41 cases as of Tuesday, with increased occurring at about a case a day recently. Steinback also reminded county recycling events are coming up on Agust 7 and 8.

Commissioner Antony questioned the recent mask mandate, trying to talk through the semantics of participant identification in meetings when masks are worn, when masks can be lowered for conversations and explained he is approached on the street by residents regularly upset by confusion on mask orders. Berends explained his interpretations of the mandate and was thankful for the remote option of the meeting in easing mask wearing constraints. Berends conveyed that the new mandate may have additional impacts on businesses, noting there is a portion of the population that is fearful to go out into commerce areas because of risk of covid-19 and that there is also now a portion of hte populations that are “too angry” to go out over recent mask mandate measures. “When you take those two groups and add them together and its devastating for businesses” said Berends. The commissioner referenced the mandate is an emotional issue and a political issues, noting with optimism , “I think we will get through this”.

For additional information on the recent YM county board meeting visit their website with the recent agenda and attachement links!