A resolution approved by the Douglas County commissioners at their Tuesday, May 19 board meeting extends the deadline for second-half property taxes for businesses.

The deadline was moved from May 15 to Oct. 15 for those businesses affected directly or indirectly by COVID-19, including being shut down due to the governor’s executive order, having a reduction in business due to the stay-at-home order or having someone who was unable to work as a result of the order and did not receive any COVID-19 related benefits.

A property tax penalty abatement request form must be filled out completely and accompany the property tax payment at the time the payment is made, according to Char Rosenow, Douglas County auditor/treasurer.

She also noted that no refunds will be given, though, to those who paid in a timely manner.

Property tax penalty abatement forms can be found on the Douglas County website, co.douglas.mn.us, under the quick links on the right hand side of the homepage. If a payment is made online, the form has to be mailed to taxdept@co.douglas.mn.us.

Questions can be directed to the auditor/treasurer’s office at 320-762-3077.

Liquor license fees

County commissioners also approved to temporarily reduce the on-sale license fees to 50% to offset the time Douglas County establishments have been closed and/or unable to use on-sale licenses due to COVID-19 and the governor’s shutdown of bars and restaurants.

The following fees will be temporarily reduced for the upcoming renewal year:

  • On-sale liquor.

  • On-sale Sunday liquor.

  • On-sale wine and strong beer.

  • Brewed malt liquor taproom and Sunday sales.

  • On-sale 3.2% beer.

Rosenow said the auditor/treasurer’s office will be reaching out to owners of those affected businesses to notify them of the reduced amounts they will be required to pay for the upcoming renewal year.

Emergency operations update

Julie Anderson, Douglas County emergency management director and public information officer, provided an update to commissioners regarding COVID-19.

To date, staff has created and distributed about 4,000 cloth masks. She said they will continue to make sure the need is met.

She continues to work with the state to distribute products, such as hand sanitizer, to law enforcement officers and first responders, among others. In addition, she participates in twice-weekly calls with the State Emergency Operations Center, as well as, organizes weekly calls with local authorities within the school district, hospital, public health and others.

Anderson is working on processing FEMA Disaster Declaration funds, which she said there are enormous challenges ahead but that the state has applied for funding.

“The economic impact, as well as mental and health impact, we’ve just begun to see,” she said. “It’s a day-by-day situation, but we are hoping to look for some positives this summer.”