The Burnett County Board of Supervisors approved passing an emergency declaration. The following day the County Board and County Administrator were closing the Government Center to non-essential functions.
Don Taylor explained the declaration is similar to actions taken by the World Health Organization (WHO), the U.S. Federal government and Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers.
“This follows actions taken by those organizations. We are continuing to work closely with department heads,” Taylor stated. “I am confident we’re ahead of countless counties in Wisconsin.”
Taylor said the declaration will allow himself and county administrator, Nate Ehalt, to allocate funds and get them to the department faster by bypassing the full county board.
An example was given if Health and Human Services (HHS) needs $4,000 and cannot wait for all
county board members to convene for approving requests.
“The County Administrator, in consultation with the County Board Chair, is authorized to make such decisions and temporary policy changes without the necessity of prior Board approval to keep operation of the County running and to meet the changing circumstances of the situation.”
The declaration outlines that Ehalt and Taylor may approve requests under $5,000 with a total allowance of $25,000. Any single request over $5,000 or if they need to exceed the $25,000 cumulative amount the requests must be approved by the Administration Committee and the County Board of Supervisors.
Most operations at the Government Center are continuing. The courthouse is the exception.
Taylor told the committee that Judge Melissia Mogen is scaling back court proceeding.
“They are canceling hearings and trials in hopes to keep in line with the 10 person gathering guidelines.”
In an effort to promote social distancing the monthly full county board meeting was moved to a different meeting room and seats were spread out giving each supervisor approximately six feet between each of them.
Eight of the 21 County Supervisors called into the meeting, electing to avoid the large gathering.
The Government Center has recently canceled or postponed all meetings scheduled to be held at the Government Center through mid-April.