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Martin County Library to reopen

FAIRMONT — Martin County Commissioners heard from Jenny Trushenski Tuesday, concerning the reopening of the Martin County Library. On November 23, 2020, the library switched over to contactless pickup only at all library locations due to Gov. Walz’s dial back restrictions in slowing the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Set for Jan. 22, Trushenki explained how reopening would work.

“What we would like to do, after speaking with staff and the library board, is reopen to the public at 50 percent of our building occupancy according to the fire code,” she said. “We’ll also be asking people to keep to a 30-minute time limit. That would include 30-minute sessions on our public computers, per person per day just to keep those available.

This would be similar to how we reopened last June and is similar to what some of our neighboring libraries are doing as well.” After a discussion with Public Health, Trushenski noted that computer equipment and seats will be wiped down with disinfectant between users. Commissioner Steve Flohrs, who is on the library board, noted that reopening is the recommendation of the board, stating that he believes it to be a good plan.

In related business, the board accepted the retirement/resignation of Deena Frerichs, Assistant Library Director, set for February 28.

“This will be her retirement after 44 years here, and she is going to be very much missed,” said Trushenski. The board will be looking to fill that position.

Turning to other matters, the board heard from Pam Flitter, Martin County Planning and Zoning Director, who gave a year-end update for 2020.

“Even though there was a pandemic going on and the courthouse being closed, we were exceptionally busy this year,” she said. The P&Z office issued 195 building permits in 2020, up from 134 in 2019 and 112 in 2018. The number of septic permits and variances was also up for 2020.

Only 5 feedlot permits were issued, down from 7 in 2019 and 23 in 2018. Three of those sites were state permitted, including one beef and two swine feedlots. Two sites were county permitted, one beef and one swine.

“If I remember right they all got built but one,” said Flitter. “Financing has been really difficult for them. It’s been changing a lot, we’ve been getting a lot more calls regarding the actual registration number and what their last inspection required. So it’s really good that we’re still doing the inspections on a four-year rotation.”

In another matter, the board approved a motion to purchase Beacon website enhancements at a one-time cost of $5,080 and $2,520 for annual hosting. The Beacon website is a geographic information system used by Martin County for assessment purposes. The site is also open for use by the public.

County Assessor Mike Sheplee explained what the enhancements would provide.

“For the public, there’s a new product Beacon is offering called a tax estimator,” he said. “It will allow anyone to put in the district, type of property, and value and then just hit a button to show them what the estimated taxes are.”

The other enhancement includes better tools for personnel use in the County Assessor’s office.

In other action the board:

— Approved a motion authorizing the signature of Solid Waste and Recycle Transportation for haulers in 2021. Each year solid waste haulers and recycling haulers must submit an application for licensure to be able to work in the county.

— Approved a motion to dispose of or recycle surplus/obsolete county computer equipment via the Martin County Sentencing to Service program.

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