Okey re-elected as Barron County Board chairman

Re-elected on May 18 to lead the Barron County Board of Supervisors are from left, Don Horstman of Cumberland, first vice chair; Louie Okey of Birchwood, chair; and Burnell Hanson of Rice Lake, second vice chair.

The Barron County Board of Supervisors, with and without masks according to their own choosing, held an in-person meeting and were scattered throughout the auditorium of the Barron County Government Center on Monday evening.

The bulk of the meeting featured the election of elective positions with those nominated speaking of their experience and interest in the positions.

Elected unanimously for another term as chairman of the County Board was Louie Okey, who represents the Town of Cedar Lake, Ward 2 of the Town of Doyle and Ward 1 of the Town of Oak Grove.

After the vote, Okey thanked the supervisors and said, “I will try to do my best to earn your confidence.”

Three were nominated for first vice chair—Don Horstman of Cumberland, Bun Hanson of Rice Lake and Jim Gores of Almena. Horstman received the most votes to retain the position for another term.

Four supervisors were nominated for second vice chair—Hanson, Gores, Russell Rindsig of Sarona and Gary Nelson of Barron. Both Gores and Nelson declined the nomination. Hanson won the vote for another term as second vice chair.

The seven  supervisors who expressed interest in serving on the Highway Committee were asked to stand and state their interest and qualifications. After the vote, all five who had been serving on the committee retained their seats for another term. They are Horstman, Gores, Marv Thompson, Dale Heinecke and Roberta Mosentine.Not elected were Pete Olson and Bill Effertz.

 Apppointments approved by the board included Cheryl Hakseth, reappointed to another term on the Commission on Aging; and Vlad Sajka, Sharon Rollins, Rudy Walz and Jenny Hengst and Bob Olsgard, all reappointed to the governing board of the Aging and Disability Resource Center.

 Highway shop meeting set

The County Board took no action on a COVID-19 response plan specific to Barron County. Instead it asks residents to abide by the guidance put out by the Barron County Public Health Department.

Board members voted not to rescind the emergency declaration resolution that will allow committeess to meet electronically until June 16.

Administrator Jeff French said, “It is my opinion that the ED in-place gives the board chair and COVID-19 response team flexibility in this very fluid environment.”

The emergency declaration will also allow the May 27 special meeting at 7 p.m. on the proposed new highway shop to be attended in-person or, as requested by a supervisor, to be attended through Google Hangouts.

The meeting will be conducted as a Committee of the Whole to pose questions and discuss the possiblity of moving forward with construction of a new highway facility. Presenters scheduled to attend are architects CBS Squared and the county’s financial counselors Ehlers and Associates.

The County Board also approved the Ag Commission’s recommendation to   award $750 scholarships each to Jonathan Scheps and Elizabeth Erb. The funds come from the Ag Enowment Fund.

(Copyright © 2020 APG Media)

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