It clearly goes without saying that 2020 was very challenging for both the citizens and communities of Sherburne County, as well as for the local governments that serve you. Both professionally and personally, your hard-working local public servants have been asked – not just once but several times – to change how we work and, more importantly, how we stay safe and healthy in doing so.

The COVID-19 global pandemic and resulting national, statewide, and local response are unprecedented in recent history. Since early March, nearly nothing else has required as much time and attention or consumed as much time and as many resources.

Yet, amid the uncertainty and the obstacles that 2020 brought us, our community and our county government have risen to the challenge. Our can-do spirit has championed Sherburne County’s flexibility in adapting to every one of 2020’s curveballs and its many “next normal” situations.

As 2021 begins, we look forward to seeing vaccinations and good public health measures help us round the corner and finally defeat this virus. We look forward to students in schools; to restaurants, gyms and café’s fully open; to assisted, independent living, and nursing home facilities able to allow residents to receive family, friends and visitors; to taking in a game – in person – and not wearing a mask everywhere we go; and to not learning every day of friends, family members, and fellow Minnesotans taking ill, being hospitalized, and even dying because of COVID-19.

We in local government also look forward to renewing our focus on making our neighborhoods and communities great places to live, work and raise a family; on keeping our local taxes low and our service delivery top notch; and on ensuring we remain focused on our core responsibilities of public safety, public health and human services, and public infrastructure (roads, bridges and parks).

As 2021 begins, and despite the many challenging months still ahead of us, I take particular comfort in a message first shared by Great Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, which seems even more foretelling today than when we first began this COVID-19 pandemic journey:

“We should take comfort that while we may have more still to endure, better days will return. We will be with our friends again; we will be with our families again; we will meet again.”

On behalf of the County Board and staff, I wish you a truly happy, healthy, and prosperous 2021! — Bruce Messelt, Sherburne County administrator

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