By Randy Neumann, Todd County Commissioner

So it has been five months that we as a society have been dealing with COVID-19. As we try to get back to somewhat of a normal life, there are things we can and cannot do. To mask or not to mask, that is one issue that I am hearing.

If a business owner is asking you to wear a mask to shop in their establishment, I agree that that is their right. The problem some people have is when government starts telling us what we can and cannot do, as if we have no common sense.

I believe we all can agree we would like things to get back to normal. I think of all the summer events that have been canceled. The question of what our schools should do. My wife is a retired teacher and our conversations are how not having school affects the kids. Socialization, life skills and team building are just some of the things schools provide our kids.

Think about when some of us were growing up in the 60s and 70s, most of us had at least one parent home and it was usually mom. Nowadays both parents are working and with one parent required to stay at home and help educate the children online, it will affect them financially. As of Monday July 27, Todd Counties COVID numbers were 410, up five from last week, with an average age of 36.6.The cases out of isolation since July 12 are 401 and still two related deaths. So in reality, Todd County has nine active cases of COVID as of July 27.

Todd County news: The county started its phase 3 reopening plan which included HHS and the Main Street Government Center the week of July 20. We still have a number of staff working from home and this will continue at least until Aug. 12 when again a decision will be made by the governor on the peacetime emergency.

The Todd County Parks and Trail Board had an observation deck built at Battle Point Park, which is on the highest part of the park overlooking the big end of Lake Osakis. Big thanks go out to Les Levin, Randy Johnson and crew of Legion Riders from the Long Prairie American Legion for getting this great asset built. So check it out, have a seat once you are up there, and enjoy the view.

We were notified that there is a culvert issue on the Lake Wobegon Trail, which Todd County will be working with MnDOT to replace sometime this fall. This culvert is located west of the intersection of County Road 2 and County Road 51.

The Finance Committee has been meeting and working hard on the 2021 budget. I believe most of us commissioners have concerns on how COVID-19 will affect the last half of taxes in 2020. This could affect both the 2020 and 2021 budgets for the county. I know the Finance Committee has asked all department heads to really study their budgets and staff replacements.

If you are in Long Prairie, please go out and take a look at the Expo building and how nice it looks. The county had set aside funding for this construction. The Facility Committee has been meeting with the Ag Society, Long Prairie Hockey and the Long Prairie School superintendent pertaining to the building.

At the July 7 Commissioner meeting, the County Board approved the appointment of Paul Hartmann to the Sauk River Watershed. Manager Hartmann took his oath of office at the July 21 Sauk River Watershed meeting. The Todd County Commissioners have had discussions on a set of responsibilities they desire a manager to adhere to. Here are a few of them: To be fiscally responsible to the taxpayers of Todd County. Report monthly to the County Board. Go in person to site projects within Todd County to ensure that when a vote is taken on the project that there is ample understanding of the project’s scope. Providing articles for local newspapers to keep people updated.

Also at the July 21 work session, it was brought to the board’s attention of creating reciprocal feedlot setbacks to dwellings for discussion. All surrounding counties have this requirement. As for Todd County, we have none. There will be a lot of discussion and public meetings as soon as public meetings are allowed due to COVID-19.

I have had the pleasure and honor of representing the people of Todd County as the District 5 Commissioner. I try my best to represent my constituents and the people of Todd County. I am hoping I can continue to do so.

Osakis Voices is a rotating column written by community leaders who share their thoughts in their field of expertise.