1/8/2021 2:26:00 PM DuBose new County Board chair; Heartland hand-off moves forward
The Chisago County Board voted 5-0 to seat Commissioner Chris DuBose as Chair for 2021. Minus his face mask while seated (also lacking a mask, Commissioner Dunne) Chair DuBose stated that he looks forward to productive collegial debates about local issues and accepted the gavel from outgoing Chair Ben Montzka.
Board Chair DuBose then mediated the Board’s first real debate of the year, on adopting the new “ethics and operations” guidelines. These first-ever operating rules suggested by county legal and administrative staff, generated input from the Board on when, and how much, citizens should be allowed to have their say, plus there was a question about the chair’s ability to cut-off speech, and how to structure agendas in 2021. A motion (withdrawn) to change the meeting times was seen as inconsiderate of daytime employed-farmer Rick Greene, and the commissioners opted to stick with 6:30 p.m. for both monthly sessions rather than one daytime meeting. The Board will continue to meet the first and third Wednesdays.
There will be more review of the idea to place public microphone later on the agenda. The goal is to avoid causing confusion on what is considered the “public record” when there are no hearings, but people still come to express their opinions. Commissioner Montzka noted that, “Like it or not citizens view the County Board as an avenue to appeal (planning commission recommendations.)”
Commissioner Robinson said open mic could come after land use items so the public could still comment but there’d be no question that any new information impacted a decision. The problem is that applicants frequently do not attend the Board meeting when the action at the planning commission has been positive. The planning commission holds the public hearing.
County Attorney Janet Reiter added that the attempt to re-position open microphone is meant to avoid any conflict over claims that information influenced a decision and applicants were under the impression the official record had been closed.
The Board may revisit the open microphone agenda time slot.
There remains an open spot on the water Plan Policy Team, but otherwise the expiring seats for citizens were filled.
~Gregg Carlson and John Sutcliffe were put on the Board of Appeals
~Extension Committee got Nancy Mergens.
HRA/EDA Dan Hoffman was re-appointed
Library Board got Patricia Frank
Planning Commission incumbents David Whitney and Frank Storm were re-appointed.
Heartland Express assets officially transferred to new operator On a unanimous vote the agenda item to transfer Chisago County office equipment materials, vehicles and one building in North Branch to the new Heartland Express operators passed. The agreement with Arrowhead also required Isanti County to do the same thing and Chisago County is “authorizing” this to happen, according to County Administrator Chase Burnham.
He said having Arrowhead win the state bid for the transit program opens up the region here to much bigger services. People should be able to ride a bus to Duluth if they want, and it “opens up Forest Lake” because the former program didn’t leave the Isanti-Chisago County area. Arrowhead is required to maintain at least the current level of service.
The switchover is tentatively set for March, the County Board learned.
Mike Robinson and Marlys Dunne are appointed to the Transportation Advisory Committee that will have input on the new Arrowhead Transit program.