Commissioners Dewey Severson, Eric Johnson, Robert Burns, Teresa Walter, and Greg Myhre were all present via Zoom on June 1, 2021, for the regular meeting of the Houston County Commission. Chairman Burns called the meeting to order at 9 a.m. The meeting adjourned at 9:53 a.m.
Commissioner Johnson led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Commissioners approved the agenda and amended board minutes from the May 25, 2021, commission meeting.
John Pugleasa, Houston County Public Health Director, reported that the county’s immunization rates are strong, and the county’s ranking improved.
According to the Minnesota COVID-19 dashboard, the percent of Houston County’s population, by age, that has received at least one dose of vaccine is as follows: 98.9% age 65 plus, 67.9% age 50-64, and 69.10% age 16 plus (56.60% of the total population) has received at least one dose. Also, as of this week, 66% of residents 12 and older have received at least one dose. This week’s numbers put Houston County in the top 10, and a couple of the numbers put Houston County in the top five. The Southeast Minnesota region is also strong.
The county is not doing any large-scale clinics but is offering the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine at the Public Health office, 611 Vista Drive, Caledonia, at various times and dates. Vaccines are by appointment only. Register online at prepmod.health.state.mn.us//appointment/en/reg/0215762593. If you require assistance, contact Houston County Public Health at (507) 725-5810. The department’s website reminds residents to add themselves to the waitlist for future clinic options.
The county’s partnerships with the schools have been strong throughout the pandemic as they have been with the county’s health care partners across the river. The county is in communication with Sterling Pharmacy which is administering vaccines.
Pugleasa summarized, “We have an excellent team. The numbers make our county proud.”
Commissioner Walter motioned to approve the consent agenda. Myhre seconded. There being no discussion, commissioners voted by role. The motion was approved.
The commission approved the 2021 State of Minnesota Annual County Boat and Water Safety Grant Contract Agreement, and approved the process to hire a probationary social worker. Additionally, the commission approved the Guardianship Contract with Renata Luedtke. Luedtke will provide Guardianship/Conservatorship (DD and Adult) services.
Donna Trehus, County Auditor/Treasurer, recommended the commissioners approve the following county liquor licenses.
•Liquor licenses, Wine and Strong Beer – Ferndale Golf LLC (Rushford), Valley High Golf Club (Houston), Shellhorn Roadhouse (Brownsville), and Little Miami (Caledonia).
•On Sale Beer Licenses – Pine Creek Golf Course (La Crescent), Lawrence Lake Marina (Brownsville), Gopher State Sportsmans Club (La Crescent), and La Crescent Snowmobile Club.
•Off Sale Beer Licenses – Pine Creek Golf Course (La Crescent), Lawrence Lake Marina (Brownsville), La Crescent Snowmobile Club (La Crescent), and Houston Food Mart (Houston).
Houston County Engineer Brian Pogodzinski recommended that the commissioners approve the Dunn Blacktop Company’s quote to mill two inches off the existing bituminous (asphalt) wedge and pave areas on County State Aid Highways 3 and 18, both within the Brownsville city limits. The total amount of the quote is $31,343.00. The work will be completed within the next couple of months, and Pogodzinski is hopeful that the repairs will last a few years. The request was approved by roll call.
The $350 billion American Rescue Plan will provide financial support for local governments to invest in infrastructure, including water, sewer, and broadband services. All commissioners agreed that the county needs to begin discussing potential projects to consider funding while waiting on the specific guidelines. Conversations will start at the June 15 working meeting, and Spring Grove Communications and AcenTek will be invited to the session.
The Houston County Commission’s next meeting is Tuesday, June 8 at 9 a.m. The meeting will be held in person at the historic Courthouse in downtown Caledonia. The public is invited to dial in. Contact Donna Trehus, (507) 725-5803 to be included in remote meetings.