By Kendra Hennis
Douglas County Board members met for their monthly meeting on Wednesday, December 16 at 9 a.m. All board members were present, with Board Member Ed Luth joining for his first meeting following his election win.
The board approved a number of resolutions in the meeting, including resolution 20-R-40, the annual budget, appropriations, and tax levies for 2021. With this, the County Board Finance Committee, Chairman Don Munson, and other appointed officals compiled a list of expenditures for fiscal year 2021. These expenditures specific amounts for the individual annual Tax Levies include: County Tax Levy – 1,157,000; Tort Immunity Tax Levy – 1,080,000; County Highway Tax Levy – 429,000; Board of Health Tax Levy – 429,000; Social Secuity Tax Levy – 300,000; County Aid to Township Bridges Tax Levy – 215,000; Federal Aid Matching Tax Levy – 215,000; County Retirement Tax Levy – 0; Workmen’s Compensation Insurance Tax Levy – 100,000; Extension Education Program Tax Levy – 60,000; Veteran’s Assistance Tax Levy – 0; Unemployment Compensation Insurance Tax Levy – 0; Tuberculosis Tax Levy – 9,000. The resolution states that “the monies received by the County Treasurer from Taxes, and other revenues, for the use of Douglas County within Fiscal Year beginning December 1, 200, the following sums of money as set forth herein, and be the same hereby appropriated for the County’s purposes in and for the fiscal year beginning December 1, 2020 and ending November 30, 2021. Adjustments will be made as necessary and approved monthly at the full County Board Meeting and published within those minutes.”
Following, they approved Resolution 20-R-42, extending the declaration of emergency in Douglas County for 30 more days due to COVID-19. The state of emergency was declared in the county on March 18, 2020. The declaration allows Board Chairman Don Munson to have authorization to sign documents and approve finances as necessary without the need to call an emergency meeting. The declaration also allows the board to continue to live-stream their meetings on Zoom while still being within the Open Meetings Act.
The board then approved a contract extension for public defender T. Jeannine Garrett for a one year term beginning January 1, 2021. They also approved the appointment of Chana Ray as Interim EMA Director until March 17, 2021. The board then appointed Kevin Breen to the Douglas County Ag Center Board of Directors for a three year term as well as Dr. Virginia Wade to the Douglas County Health Board for a three year term.
The meeting ended with an update from Douglas County Health Department Administrator Amanda Minor with the Health Deparment’s Annual Report. Minor reported that the DCHD has a lot of services, not just those that are COVID-19 related. The DCHD also handles dental, immunizations, blood drawing services, nail cutting servies, and so much more. However, Minor noted that there were a lot of changes this year due to COVID-19, including no patients in the office, and a large number of COVID-related services required in the county. She reported that thus far the DCHD has completed over 26,000 tests, these are currently being completed in a drive-thru setting at the DCHD’s new spot in the Outlets of Tuscola between Old Navy and Vanity Fair. Minor also notified the board that the DCHD should soon begin receiving shipments of the COVID-19 vaccine. She said that healthcare workers, first responders, and residents of long-term care facilities will be given priority in the first-wave vaccine immunization. Candidates for subsequent waves are likely to be people at high risk for severe COVID-19 illness due to underlying medical conditions, people aged 65 or older, and other congregate populations, though state officials continue to fine-tune these lists. Minor noted that once the vaccine becomes available to everyone the DCHD is planning to do a large drive-thru COVID-19 vaccination clinic. She also commented that the vaccine is an emergency-use vaccine and it will have side effects, they are your body’s defense to building it up. She ended thanking everyone in the county for being able to come together to help one another during these times.
The board also:
* Approved the minutes of the November 18 regular board and November 30 special board minutes.
* Approved the transfers and/or emergency appropriations.
* Approved the payments of the county’s financial obligations.
* Approved the reports of fees of county offices.
* Approved Resolution 20-R-41 approving increases in appropriations in the fiscal year 2020 budget and appropriations bill in reference to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act).
* Approved Resolution 20-R-43 authorizing execution and amendment of Federal 5311 Grant Agreement.
* Approved Resolution 20-R-44 approving bridge construction contract.
* Approved Ordinance 20-O-14 establishing a risk management plan for calendar year 2021.
* Approved an extension of contract services for property evaluation and tax advisors.
* Authorized the county clerk to close fiscal year 2020.
* Announced that they would be accepting applicants for the EMA Director. The application will be available soon and following interview dates will be set appropriately.
* Adjourned at 10:32 a.m. until the January 20 board meeting at 9 a.m.