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County board insists on 1W1P collaboration, entity is not necessary

By Anna Jauhola
The Kittson County Board of Commissioners is standing firm in its position to collaborate rather than form a new entity regarding the One Watershed One Plan (1W1P) implementation.
During its regular meeting Tuesday, June 1, the board agreed it’s “collaboration or bust” when it comes to the 1W1P. This plan includes a group of entities from Roseau, Kittson and Marshall counties as the Two Rivers Watershed District covers portions of each. It has been developed through BWSR to help small agencies work together and develop “prioritized, targeted and measurable implementation plans.”
Commissioners Theresia Gillie and Leon Olson have been attending meetings regarding the issue and said it’s only the Roseau groups that feel the need for a new entity.
“I think we should try the collaboration,” Gillie said. “There is no reason to have another entity.”
Olson added that should they form a new entity, then they must have separate insurance, but with a collaboration the current county policy is sufficient.
“The thought here is we want collaboration, but are there any terms or conditions or concessions that would make this board comfortable with an entity, if it came down to that?” asked Dillon Hayes, county administrator. “And maybe there’s no option in which you’re comfortable with (an entity).”
“That’s me,” said Commissioner Darrel Johnson. “Remember, if you don’t like this, you have 30 days and you can back out. If you don’t like either one, you can back out.”
Gillie and Johnson, both of whom farm, emphasized the need for clear, dry ditches. The 1W1P is focused on clean water.
Hayes relayed that Kittson Soil and Water District, as well as Two Rivers Watershed, are on board with a collaboration. They want to minimize any bureaucracy in decision making.
Commissioner Loren Younggren is the only board member without ditches in his district and said he doesn’t like the idea of creating another entity.
“I like to stick by our guns,” he said. “If that’s the feeling of the board that we want a collaboration, then I say it’s collaboration or bust. And we could review it, if they come back and say this isn’t what we’re going to do.”
The board took no action on the discussion.
In other business, the board:
• Held a public hearing to review and approve the revised county fee schedule. No one from the public attended the hearing and the board approved the schedule.
• Approved two special meeting dates. The board will hold its next regular meeting on Tuesday, June 15 at 5 p.m., after which it will hold the annual Board of Appeals and Equalization. The board will also hold a special meeting on Tuesday, June 29 at 1 p.m. to meet with Gary Weiers of DDA Human Services to talk about organizational structure.
• Approved an updated COVID-19 preparedness plan, which removes the mask requirements and associated requirements.

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