County Board votes to allow

Posted 3/29/22

In-person meetings resume without masks At the Pierce County Board meeting held Tuesday, March 22 the board voted to allow public in-person attendance at meetings while continuing to offer online …

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County Board votes to allow


In-person meetings resume without masks

At the Pierce County Board meeting held Tuesday, March 22 the board voted to allow public in-person attendance at meetings while continuing to offer online access. They also lightened the regulations around the COVID-19 Back to Business Plan.

During public comment at the beginning of the meeting, Chair Jeff Holst spoke to the board


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about this meeting being the last with the current board before the April 5 election.

“I usually wait until the end of the term to make this speech but this will be the last meeting as this board with these people,” Holst said. “It has been a fun board to be on and a very productive board.

“I want you to know what a privilege it has been for me to serve with each and every one of you and although we may have had differences throughout the years, we have always attempted to do what is best for Pierce County.”

Following public comment, the board took action on whether or not they would continue offering virtual meeting availability going forward. The board unanimously voted to continue offering the alternative meeting mode.

The board started providing online access to meetings due to the COVID-19 pandemic; this allowed for members to meet and the public to attend during times when they may have been quarantined. It has also proved to be convenient for those who want to attend but can’t physically get to the meeting, no matter the reason.

Supervisor Ruth Wood said, “I think it is a good safety measure as we all know to stay away but also be able to continue to participate.”

Board members will not be allowed to attend closed sessions virtually; that will remain in-person only.

The board also discussed the status of the Pierce County COVID-19 Back to Business Plan.

“The most recent revision has really peeled off a lot of layers, one of them is meeting attendance being in person and other things pertaining to how we conduct business…our COVID-19 numbers as a county have really dialed back,” said Administrative Coordinator Jason Matthys. “In consultation with our work group as well as our public health staff, I think they are agreeable that we can really start to dial things back, we aren’t talking about ending the state of emergency in Pierce County at this point but I just wanted to bring that to your attention.”

Some discussion was had about the elimination of the plan. Some members brought up concerns about continuing to encourage businesses to act within their own discretion and telling their employees to stay home if they are feeling ill.

Wood said, “The only thing I was thinking about as I read through this is that it seems that it wouldn't necessarily be important to have a plan or a guideline, but to continue to encourage all businesses to encourage their employees to stay home if they don’t feel well and to encourage these businesses to continue to offer remote services.”

The board voted unanimously to eliminate the Back to Business plan.

Holst added, “I think people need to have some responsibility for their own actions, staying home if you’re sick is common sense and if entities wish and choose to appease their clientele by offering remote services then they’ll do


Other business

The board approved the following resolutions (upon second reading):

•Amend fees for issuing permits and making inspections and investigations of certain types of establishments. Public Health made revisions to its fee structure to align with new state categories, which are based on risk and complexity rather than sales.

•To accept an anonymous donation of safety equipment through Badger State Sheriffs’ Association. The amount, up to $55,800, will be used for a drone, ballistic vests and ballistic shields.

•To use the Jail Assessment Fund for completion of jail security camera equipment project.

•Salary adjustments for elected Clerk of Court and Sheriff positions for 2023-2026.

•To order issuance of deeds to Pierce County for properties subject to a tax certificate.

An ordinance was also approved, upon second reading, to amend the Pierce County Code – Parks & Recreation to allow ATVs/UTVs on certain county roads.


The board approved the following committee appointments:

•Rich O’Connell and Julie Hoffman to the Ethics Board, effective Sept. 1, 2022-Aug. 31, 2025.

•Indianhead Federated Library representative Curtis Wandmacher, effective March 22, 2022-Dec. 31, 2022.

•Liz Gunderson to the Information Services Committee, effective March 19, 2022-April 1, 2025.

•Jim Kleinhans to the Solid Waste Management Board, effective April 2021-April 30, 2024; and Chace Kinneman and Nate Hagens, effective April 2022-April 30, 2025.

The next county board meeting will be held at 9 a.m. April 19.