Douglas County receives clean audit; no vote on roundabout
The Minnesota Office of the State Auditor recommends no less than five months of expenditures in the fund balance, and Douglas County is at 8.25.
Douglas County commissioners received good news pertaining to the county’s audit at the Tuesday, Sept. 1, regular board meeting. The county received an unmodified or “clean” opinion based on the financial statements.
Miranda Wendlandt, a certified public accountant with CliftonLarsonAllen, the county’s auditing firm, said the clean audit is the highest assurance the county can receive. She also told the commissioners she appreciated all the hard work that Char Rosenow, the county’s auditor/treasurer, and her staff puts in each year on the county’s behalf.
The Minnesota Office of the State Auditor recommends no less than five months of expenditures in the fund balance, and Douglas County is at 8.25. Wendlandt said it is “strong and stable,” which it has been for years.
The county’s revenue for 2019 was about $54.2 million, which was up from the $52.9 million in 2018. The expenditures for 2019 were about $52.8 million, which is also up from the $49.4 million in 2018.
The audit was approved by a 5-0 vote.
No action taken on roundabout
Douglas County Public Works Director Tim Erickson briefed the commissioners on an open house held recently on a proposed new roundabout.
The third roundabout in Douglas County, this one would be at the intersections of County Road 8, known as the Barrett Road, and County Road 40, which was and still connects to State Highway 114. The intersection is west and slightly north of Alexandria.
He went over the comments that were made in person, as well as comments that were submitted to him. Those against it think it’s a lot of money to be spent on one intersection. The estimated cost is roughly $1.6 million. But Erickson said, “What’s the cost of a life?”
Douglas County Board Chairman Keith Englund said safety is more important than anything and that the roundabout is the best choice when it comes to safety.
In the last 10 years, there have been 15 crashes, with the most recent crash – on Aug. 8. – killing a 47-year-old Brandon man.
Rod Johnson from Alexandria, who opposes the project, was in attendance and although it was not a public hearing, Englund asked if Johnson wanted to share his thoughts.
Johnson said that he has voiced his opinions already but then said that although the recent death was tragic, he hasn’t heard anyone talk about the fatal crash that occurred several years ago on County Road 90 and County Road 45.
Johnson feels that a four-way stop would be a better option. Although he added that motorists running stops is an issue.
“Law enforcement needs to address this,” he said. “I hate to drive in Alexandria, people just roll through stop signs and red lights.”
Englund thanked Johnson for sharing his thoughts.
The board did not make a final decision yet on the project, but is expected to soon.
In other board action
The following items were approved by the commissioners:
Appropriations to the following entities – Douglas County Ag Association, $15,000; Osakis Economic Development Commission – $2,278; Viking Library System, $138,314; and West Central Initiative, $8,250. All of these are the same amounts as was appropriated last year.
Purchases in the amount of $180,721 using money the county received from the Coronavirus Relief Fund. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act, was established to provide assistance for state, local and tribal governments. It provides money to help navigate through the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak. Some of the items purchased included five electrostatic disinfecting machines, stand-on auto scrubber, walk-behind auto scrubber and sweepers, along with technology upgrades for the commissioners room and several other items.
A $100 donation to the Veterans Service Office from James and Pat McKay for veterans in need.