Commissioner meetings to rotate around St. Louis County again in 2021
The first meeting to go on the road will be April 27 in Morse Township outside Ely as the county expects dramatic changes due to the availability of the vaccine by then.
Some measure of normalcy may be returning to St. Louis County later this year.
Anticipating relief from the COVID-19 pandemic, the St. Louis County Board is scheduled to take its meetings back on the road in April, and return to its regular Duluth meeting chambers in the courthouse in July.
“We hope and expect the availability of a vaccine will dramatically change the COVID situation by then, but would certainly revisit this schedule if necessary for the health and safety of all participants,” county spokesperson Dana Kazel said.
It remains a priority for the board to continue meeting throughout the county to ensure access to meetings for all residents, Kazel added.
The board’s tradition of holding meetings in town halls and even remote townships had to be cut back significantly due to COVID-19, with some meetings being relocated throughout 2020.
The board is scheduled to meet in Morse Township outside Ely on April 27, according to a 2021 meeting schedule released Friday. It will be the first meeting outside Duluth or Virginia since Oct. 27 at Mountain Iron City Hall.
From there, the board will hold meetings in the city of Rice Lake (May 11), Grand Lake (May 25), Toivola (June 22), Tower (July 13), Proctor (July 27), Brookston (Sept. 28), Brimson (Oct. 12), Brevator Town Hall in rural Cloquet (Oct. 26), Saginaw (Nov. 16) and Buhl (Nov. 30).
The board meets the first, second and fourth Tuesdays of the month. In Duluth, it's been meeting at the Government Services Center because the courthouse has not yet been technologically equipped for recording.
Until late April, the board will continue to conduct meetings at both the Government Services Center in Duluth and a large training center at the Public Works facility in Virginia located at 7823 State Highway 135.
The board had previously been using the Government Services Center in downtown Virginia.
“This room is much larger than the conference room at the Government Services Center in Virginia, making it better able to accommodate more people attending in person,” Kazel said.
The training center previously did not have the necessary equipment and wiring to make it a suitable option for virtual attendance, but the county information technology and property management staves have been working to make it suitable.
“We’re excited to shift some of our meetings to this location as it suits two audiences: those who want to attend in person, as well as those who prefer watching a livestream,” Kazel said.
Board meetings are aired live and available for viewing afterward on the county’s Facebook page .
A return to the District Courthouse in Duluth is scheduled for July 6, as the county works toward recording solutions there.
The board will meet Tuesday at the Government Services Center in Duluth for its annual meeting, where it will install a new board chair from among the commissioners. It’s unknown who will ascend to the top of the board.
The position typically goes to last year’s vice chair, but last year's vice chair, Beth Olson, did not seek reelection to the board.