At Tuesday's Watonwan County board meeting, the board discussed options for tax relief for those who have been affected by COVID-19.

"There's different options that the commissioners have," said Kelly Pauling. "You can choose to provide no tax relief— which some counties— that has been their choice. Another option is to reduce the penalty rate. We could go from a 2% down to a 1% for those that can't pay between May 15th and July 15th. You can choose to abate penalty for all payments that come in late between those time periods and encourage taxpayers who can pay to go ahead and make that payment."

"The final option that we've seen out there is via simple application. That is actually the option I support as county treasurer to offer a simple application to be completed by business owners whose business operations that have had to close or alter due to Covid-19, or for individuals who have been laid off and they're unemployment has not covered all of their lost wages."

"If full payment is not paid by July 15th, the penalty would be the full penalty that would have went on May 15th."

"This would have little impact on our cities and townships, but it would give tax relief to businesses who truly are affected by the COVID-19 virus."

Individuals who have their taxes escrowed and public utility class would not be able to apply for this abatement in penalty.

The board passed the tax relief form with minimal discussion.

A discussion was held earlier in the meeting regarding a Madelia city shed.

The doors to the shed are broken, and the shed keeps paying for the door to be replaced.

"It's a city-owned shed and they have been paying for the maintenance, and they don't think they can do that any longer," said Kyla Schlomann.

Another issue the shop is running into the need for a new well. Drilling for the new well would force the need for a new location.

One potential location was a triangular piece of land in front of the Madelia City Shop. The other piece of property was a small plot west of Gappa Electric.

The board decided to table the discussion for the next meeting to allow Schlomann to revisit the location, get quotes to put up a shed, and to see if the city of Madelia would allow the county to plant trees to help guard against the wind.

Teal Spellman provided construction updates for the Riverdale township bridge project, highway 19 project, and highways 2 and 21 project, as well as projects to start in mid-May.

Spellman also gave updates on the parks. Updates and repairs will start once more staff is hired.   

The next Watonwan County Board meeting will be held May 19th.

Other items:

- Approval of two grants for Emergency Communications. One grant worth $8,750 for the completion of a GIS system. One grant for $55,3765.50 for a new call handling platform. The remainder of the $100,000 payment for the system will be done through E-911 grant program through the state of Minnesota.

- Approval of GBERBA for the administration of the Watonwan River Watershed- One Watershed One Plan implementation grants

- Approval of Fidlar Technologies donation of $500 to Sertoma, to be distributed among other local charities

- Approval of quote from Karl's Chevrolet to replace Unit 15 for $28,878.14.

- Approval of quote for replacement of Unit 59 from Nuss Truck and plow equipment from Towmac $208,615

- Joint power agreement with South Central Workforce Development

- Annual Step increase for GIS coordinator

- Satisfactory completion probation period by deputy Nicholas Kielas

- REplacement camera for sheriff squad car from Watchguard for $4,845