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County Commissioners look at options on how to better protect staffers

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HARTINGTON -— Cedar County Commissioners last week debated the possibility of making some permanent changes at the courthouse to protect employees.

Commissioners discussed the idea of installing a partial glass partition at the counter in front of the County Assessor, County Clerk and County Treasurer’s office area. 

This is being prompted by the COVID-19 virus and the need to take the necessary precautions now and possibly in the future to protect the county employees and the public against the spread of any disease. 

The Sheriff’s Department, County Attorney, Court Magistrate and Clerk of District Court already have glass separating customers from employees.

Commissioners are considering a shatter-proof glass partition that could possibly be 24 inches high with a four-inch opening at the bottom to allow easy access for paper work and for better ease of conversations.

More research on the cost and the recommended specification of the glass partition will be taking place before the next scheduled meeting. 

Commissioners expect that since each county courthouse has different facilities, there will probably be some general guidelines that will be required by the state for the county courthouses to follow. 

The commissioners were all concerned about the public reaction to putting some sort of partition between them and the county employees, but state guidelines need to be followed to protect the safety of all concerned. 

“The norm as we have been used to may not be the norm going forward, at least for the foreseeable future,” said Cedar County Commission Chairman Dave McGregor. 

This item will be on the agenda for a possible decision on the direction to be taken by commissioners at the next commission meeting, scheduled for May 12. 

Also on the agenda at last week’s meeting was Road Supt. Carla Schmidt, who  explained the workman’s comp claim procedures if and when an employee is injured on the job. 

Discussion was then held on underground permitting to make sure everyone is using the correct procedures regarding digging in county road right of ways. Discussion then took place on some possible minimum maintenance road closings between Sections 29 & 32 and Sections 28 & 33. Schmidt recommended the closing of the two roads. The commissioners were all in agreement and directed her to proceed with the closing procedures that include submitting the appropriate paperwork to the County Attorney who will publicize a public hearing and then take the appropriate steps to close the two roads. Discussion then took place on 576 Rd. located on the east side of Section 12 in Precinct 7. No action was taken. Schmidt then mentioned a letter she had received from Terry Baxter from NIRMA regarding sign inventory and sign inspections in the county. Discussion was held on several signs that need to be replaced county wide.

Zoning Administrator Tim Gobel presented a variance for Les Jones to build a shop in Precinct One, which was approved by the commissioners. 

A conditional use permit was then presented and approved for Mike Nelson for a 5.45 acre tract of land. 

A conditional zoning permit was presented and approved for the same tract changing it from a RM zoning to R1. 

Gobel then presented a plat for the Braken Ridge Acres plat for up to six lots of one acre or more, which was approved by the commissioners. 

He then presented a number of building permits that were all approved previously by the zoning board. 

The permits presented were:

Gary Kavanaugh for a 24’ X 36’ garage

Terry Gowery for a 30’ feed bunk

Les Jones for a 30’ X 36’ garage

John Brandow for a 30’ X 60’ pole shed 

Marsha Gubbels for a 30’ X 60’ concrete pad and also a permit to build a house on the pad

Matt Lundahl for a 50’ X 75’ farm shed

Eric and Ty Becker for a 70’ X 400’ cattle shed

St. Helena Dance hall for a 20’ X 40’ building.

A motion was made by McGregor and seconded by Bartels, and approved 3–0, to increase the meeting fee for zoning board and variance board members per meeting from $25 to $50. 

A motion was then made again by McGregor, and seconded by Tramp, to approve a special designated liquor license for Sept. 20 to Nissen Wine.