Updates: Water Quality, CARES Act Monies, Small Business Grants, and Recycling Abusers

What is the Connection Between Water Quality and The Geology of Olmsted County?

To make sure Olmsted County has good water quality today and in the future, it is important to understand where drinking water comes from and how it gets to the aquifers from where we get our water.  Understanding the geology in in Southeast Minnesota helps guide us in our efforts to keep our water pure and safe.

To learn about ground water movement, how contaminants move into the groundwater, and how the geology plays a part in water quality, please view the videos prepared by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.  Go to:  youtube link.

Confusing CARES Act Rules Confounds Counties

The Federal Government appropriated money to help counties and cities as the result of lost revenue and extra expenses due to the COVID 19 crises.  Olmsted County received about $19 million.  Some of this was used to help small business and non-profits (see September 15 post).  Since the CARES Act funds have been distributed the rules and guidelines for the use of the money has become contradictory and confusing.  This creates a problem for counties who want to use the money but want to avoid having to pay back the money if they misinterpret the rules and guidelines.  This dilemma has made it difficult for counties.  I support using a fiscally conservative approach.  (I have already gone on record supporting a 0% increase in the levy.)  To do this, some of Olmsted’s reserves will have to be used.  I want to avoid having to raise property taxes in the event that the Federal Government wants to “claw back” CARES Act money.  A fiscally conservative approach will help us avoid a situation in which the Federal Government will use its confusing rules to take back CARES Act funds.

One clarification was provided by the Feds; Olmsted can use salaries of public health and safety employees that worked on Covid related issues.  This clarification was very helpful.

Olmsted County Will Change Website Address on December 1

The current website for Olmsted County is www.co.olmsted.mn.us

On December 1 the new website will be changed to:  www.olmstedcounty.gov

In addition to the new web address, the County will activate its new website design and structure.  The new website will make it easier to find information.  Please know that the old web address will still take you to the Olmsted County website.

Small Business Grants are Available

Olmsted County used $5 million from the CARES Act funds it received for small business and non-profit organization Covid relief.  At the end of the grant period there was about $1.3 million unused.  The County has launched a second round of grants that are now available for small businesses.  The qualifications for the grant were changed to allow more small businesses to apply.  No small businesses that received grants in the first round are eligible for second round funding.  Small Business can contact RAEDI for more information on the grant process.

Recycling Bin Abuses

The trash haulers in Olmsted County are reporting that some residents are placing trash in their recycling bins.  When trash is put in the recycling bins its costs extra for the trash haulers to remove the trash and it is a loss of revenue for Olmsted County.  The haulers asked Olmsted County to allow a $20 fine to be assessed to homeowners who egregiously abuse the recycling process by putting trash in the recycling bins. I received several comments from the public that were included in the open meeting.  Following the open meeting on this issue, I asked that the question be tabled to November 17 so that concerns raised by other commissioners and me could be answered and other alternatives could be considered.  Thank you to those of you who took the time to write your comments to the Board and me.

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