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BC Community Services building locked to the public

Clients seen by appointment only

BROWN COUNTY — Due to the number of increasing positive COVID-19 cases in Brown County, the Brown County Community Services building, 1117 Center Street, was closed to the public as of Nov. 16.

Departments working out of the Community Services building are the Human Services Department, and Brown County Public Health.

Building staff are still doing business. Clients are seen face-to-face by appointment only, according to the Brown County Human Services consent agenda for the Nov. 24 Brown County Board of Commissioners meeting.

The meeting begins at 9 a.m. in the Law Enforcement Center Training Room. Zoom access is available by calling Brown County Administration at 507-233-6600.

Staff are using appropriate safety measures for child and adult protection investigations, drug testing and child visitation.

To limit contacts, staff is encouraged to use the phone or virtual appointments during this time.

Public health/nursing can be reached at 507-233-6820, human services at 507-359-6500.

At their meeting Tuesday, commissioners will also:

• View the proposed 2021budget and levy information that will be presented at the public meeting set for 6 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 1 in the 3rd floor district courtroom in the Brown County Courthouse.

The purpose of the meeting is to explain the 2021 proposed budget and tax levy and hear public feedback on the proposed county budget. It is not a valuation meeting. Those meetings are held in spring.

Market values shown on Truth-In-Taxation notices are final and not a subject for the Dec. 1 hearing.

Proposed property tax statements include taxable market value for taxes payable in 2020 and an estimate of taxes payable in 2021.

Brown County’s 2021 preliminary tax levy was set at a 2.79% increase from 2020. The total budget increase for 2021 is 7.3%.

In 2019, Brown County had the 73rd lowest levy per capita among 87 Minnesota counties.

Significant changes in Brown County’s 2021 budget include a new law enforcement center camera system, new (air conditioning) chillers for the LEC/courthouse, new tools at Lake Hanska Park, an additional deputy in the sheriff’s department, and a new countywide Microsoft office system.

• Renewing 2021 contracts at a 10% increase for an hourly rate of $13.23/hr. with Enterprise North for cleaning the transition apartment and cleaning county-owned human services vehicles. The 2020 contract authorized $12.60/hr. Apartment cleaning costs come from an adult mental health initiative grant.

• Approving Community Resource grant awards of $30,000 to Enterprise North; $20,000 to MRCI; $15,000to the Southern Minnesota Crisis Nursery and $2,500 to the New Ulm American Legion.

This is a similar program to what neighboring counties have approved. It ties it to support organizations that help provide housing services, food, childcare programs, employment opportunities, and access to social and health services mitigating the demand on Brown County Social Services and Public Health programs.

(Fritz Busch can be emailed at fbusch@nujournal.com).

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