Yellow Medicine County Board talk CARES funding

Jess Gorman
Staff Writer
Granite Falls Advocate Tribune

The Yellow Medicine County Commissioners met Tuesday morning with an ambitious docket of CARES ACT funding approvals, numerous department updates, and discussion around the format of the upcoming commissioners meetings.

In CARES ACT fund disbursement approvals, the County IT department submitted for reimbursement the cost of adding a Secure Door Access to the LRM Building and the Sheriff's Satellite Office along with a Camera and Secure Door Access for the HHW Building in CF. These items are meant to “reduce contact with frequently touched surfaces and provide surveillance security for Household Hazardous Waste”. Countryside Public Health was also approved for expenses incurred, $112,031 will be distributed out of the JPA CARES allocation.

In other approvals the county will receive permanent drop boxes at the County office locations meant to allow individuals to leave documents for the county in a secure area. CARES Funds will pay for the drop boxes due to the Governor's Orders regarding limiting in person contact and social distancing. The Yellow Medicine County Sheriffs mobile field force was approved for equipment, as well as county approvals for a carpet cleaner needed to sanitize due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a pressure washer that can steam clean surfaces to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The Resignation of Don Mock the Parks Coordinator/Equipment Operator was originally intended as a consent agenda item but saw heavy discussion regarding where or not the position should be restructured before a replacement is sought.

In Commissioner Reports, Ron Antony noted an upcoming regional training event coming Saturday available to all SW Minnesota Firemen and EMS personnel in Marshall.

Commissioner Greg Renneke received a concern call from a citizen who farms near Wood Lake Creek at county ditch 10, over ditch flooding affecting potential farmland use. Renneke made note he will pursue more understanding of the issue through discussion with county workers. Commissioner Gary Johnson reported the community corrections audit was conducted and came out satisfactory, the group will also have an upcoming CARES ACT request. Johnson also noted recent complaints received regarding roadway visibility due to tree coverage and requested county workers look into specific sites. Johnson conveyed a wealth of volunteers had been gathered for the upcoming Food Truck distribution in Clarkfield, and was pleased with the overwhelmingly supportive responses of so many. He hopes this event will roll the ball on a more cohesive county food shelf strategy.

Johnson also resigned his seat on the Parks board. Commissioner Antony volunteered for the vacant post which appeared to be a welcome offering but in a odd turn of events later in the meeting Commissioner Johnson made a motion to appoint Commissioner Kack instead to the Parks Board Seat, citing Kack’s wealth of experience. The motion seemed to confound some of Johnson's peers as a volunteer had stepped forward, yet another was being nominated. Johnson's motion failed and a new motion was proposed by Commissioner Reneke to fill the post with the original Volunteer Ron Antony. The motion passed.

Commissioner Berrends discussed the upcoming Sociability Run, an event put on by the Yellowstone Trail Alliance of Western Minnesota, happening this coming Saturday the 12th covering numerous communities along the historic highways stretch in Minnesota. The event includes live music, classic car ride, and museum hop options. In Berrend’s Prime West meeting update, increases were seen in clientele numbers. In other interesting Prime West updates, the total cost of covid related expenses for the full service area was estimated to be 750,000 to 1,000,000 dollars, an estimated 420,000 is all testing costs that yielded 197 positive tests.

The commissioner spoke in great detail about the possibility of returning to in person meetings and consideration of a hybrid option. Items discussed were the courses of action of other agencies and boards in the region and the types of meetings currently being held. With upcoming technology updates coming to the county meeting room in October, the board decided to proceed with the next meeting via a digital format in hopes of making a smoother safer transition in October back to regular meetings, given the parameters of the Governors most recent orders still impending.