Douglas County Adopts Two Emergency Ordinances
Emergencies happen and the way that local governments handle them is vitally important to the health and safety of its citizens. Recently, the Douglas County Board adopted two separate ordinances aimed at shoring up their responses to future emergencies. The ordinances directly address the ways in which the county can respond.
The first of the ordinances adopted gives authority to the Douglas County Board to declare an emergency "when civil unrest or disasters impair[...] transportation, food or fuel supplies, medical care, fire, health and police protection, or other critical local government critical systems". Essentially, the ordinance gives the board the power to "protect the health, safety, and welfare of the people and property...".
The second ordinance concerns the Public Health Officer - adjusting duties and authority. The new measure allows the board to acknowledge any order given by the Public Health Officer. Under this ordinance, the Public Health Officer would have the power to inspect public buildings for conditions - and give direction of what is needed to combat and suppress the spread of disease. At the same time, the ordinance assigns fines which can be levied against people who interfere with the Public Health Officer or somehow violate direction. According to news sources, the fines range from $100.00 to $500.00 for each individual infraction.
The move came on the recommendation of the Wisconsin Counties Association and was introduced by Douglas County Board Chair Mark Liebaert. While its origin stems from the current COVID-19 Pandemic, the local regulation will provide oversight for the future - while following state guidelines.