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County to hold October public meetings on jail and courthouse projects

By Kayla Kloos

Sun Tribune

The Stevens County Board of Commissioners' jail and courthouse building project committee is expected to schedule public meetings in early October to detail plans for the $15 million project.

The board committee also is meeting with Morris City Manager Blaine Hill about the potential for vacating a block of California Avenue to prohibit traffic and create a plaza and parking lot leading to the courthouse.

The county board discussed the meetings during its regular meeting Tuesday at the courthouse.

The building committee is meeting with county department heads to discuss space needs in the proposed new facility.

According to current plans, the county will build a 40-bed jail and will construct a new Law Enforcement Center above the jail. The move will open space in the courthouse, which will be renovated in stages. The open space should allow the county to move its Human Services department into the courthouse from its current location on Highway 28, and move the Morris office of Stevens Traverse Grant Public Health to the current Human Services building. The public health office on Pacific Avenue would be sold.

In other county business:

County Assessor Judy Thorstad was reappointed for another four-year term. Thorstad has served as County Assessor for 30 years, and board members thanked her for her years of service.

• The board held a public hearing for the adoption of the county's All-Hazard Mitigation Plan resolution. The resolution allows county, city and township government to receive federal aid funding in case of a disaster involving hazardous material.

• Stevens County employees will now be required to wear identification badges while at work. The board passed the policy at Tuesday's meeting.

The policy applies to all Stevens County elected officials, employees, student workers, interns and volunteers. The policy is being enforced in anticipation of the remodeling and construction project.

The new building plans call for the installation of a key-card entrance that will be linked to a chip in each employees' identification badge, allowing them to enter the building.

• The West Central Trailblazers received a grant in the amount of $68,250 for the snowmobile trail development.