Weather Forecast


Commissioners discuss public health, water, roads

STEVENS COUNTY - The Stevens County Board of Commissioners approved a new joint powers agreement for Steven Traverse Grant Public Health, learned about the state of the Bois de Sioux Watershed District and took a county road tour at their meeting on Tuesday morning.

Sandy Tubbs, Stevens Traverse Grant Public Health director, said the current revision to the joint powers agreement was prompted by the fact that the old joint powers agreement had a reference to a board that no longer exists. In the process of making that change, the board made a few other small changes.

The new agreement slightly alters the way the organization is funded. Under the new agreement, the administrative costs for a director and assistant director will be split equally among the three counties. The remainder of the cost will be distributed to the three counties based on total population percentages from the most recent census.

The agreement also adds a section requiring each of the three counties to provide office space and office furniture for the staff housed in that county. Tubbs said this had been a long-standing practice, but until now was not stated in the agreement.

Finally, the agreement now states that the public health board shall appoint a fiscal agent responsible for issuing reimbursements and payroll for Stevens Traverse Grant Public Heath. Currently, the Stevens County Auditor/Treasurer serves as the fiscal agent and is paid through the public health department.

Updates about the Bois de Sioux

"Water's always a heated discussion, no matter what side of the creek you're on."

That's the challenge for the Bois de Sioux Watershed District (BDSWD), explained Linda Vavra, one of Stevens County's representative to the BDSWD Board, who updated the commissioners about the activities of the watershed district.

The BDSWD encompasses a total area of 1,412 square miles of the drainage basin of the Bois de Sioux River in Minnesota. Ninety-three percent of that land is used for agricultural production across six counties, said Vavra.

The BDSWD is tasked with water gauge monitoring and permit processing throughout the watershed.

Since 2000, the BDSWD has processed 200 permit applications for work in Stevens County. Of that 200, only eight were denied and another seven were withdrawn. Since 2003, the BDSWD has also provided $69,400 to the Stevens Soil and Water Conservation District since 2003 to assist with administering the buffer strip and wetland restoration projects, said Vavra.

The BDWSD Annual Watershed Report for 2010 is available online at

Other business

County Engineer Brian Giese told the board that they had finished crushing 40,184 yards of gravel in the Fischer Pit. The board approved a final payment for the gravel of $79,451.

The board then left the courthouse for a two-hour, 90 mile road tour around Stevens County to see various Highway Department projects. Planned tour highlights included a look at damage at the transfer station following a truck fire, a roadway tiling project on CSAH 4, repair accomplishments on county ditch 21 and a stop at the Fischer Pit to explain the county's gravel crushing process.