BEMIDJI -- The Beltrami County Board of Commissioners will meet Tuesday, Jan. 21, with no agenda item related to the refugee topic brought forward two weeks ago.
On Jan. 7, the board voted 3-2 to opt out of the United States Refugee Resettlement Program. Commissioners Richard Anderson, Craig Gaasvig and Jim Lucachick voted in favor of the motion to do so, while Reed Olson and Tim Sumner were against.
The action has become temporarily null, though, following an injunction issued in federal court that halted an executive order by President Donald Trump. The executive order gave counties the authority to take action on whether or not to accept refugees through the program. If a county took no action, it was considered to be opting out of accepting refugees.
Beltrami County became the first Minnesota county, and only the second in the country, to vote not to accept refugees.
At Tuesday's county meeting, set to start at 5 p.m., no refugee matter is listed on the agenda, and Gaasvig, who's serving as board chair for 2020, said it's not likely to change.
"I don't anticipate anything on it happening right now, especially with the court decision anyway," Gaasvig said.
County meetings do include a comment period for matters not on the agenda, though, meaning residents could speak on the issue. If there is a large crowd for the refugee topic, Gaasvig said some items on the agenda may be rearranged. There has been speculation in the community that Tuesday's meeting might draw a large crowd because of all the controversy surrounding the Jan. 7 vote.
"I don't doubt that there might be a crowd of people there knowing that it's not on the agenda and they can talk during the time for addressing topics not on the agenda," Gaasvig said. "If there is a big crowd, if possible, I've been looking to move the comment period to the end so we can get our regular business done first."
The board's regular agenda includes a review of the solid waste manager position as part of the solid waste operations plan and a revolving loan fund request of $45,000.
Before the regular meeting, from 3-5 p.m., the commissioners will hold a work session. There, they'll receive a preview of the 2020 legislative session, an update on the Northwestern Minnesota Juvenile Center and a presentation from the Health and Human Services Department on how the county implements child protection services.