The Olmsted County Board may be ready to make a decision at its next meeting on a permanent weapons screening program

for the county portion of the Government Center. The Board today reviewed 5 options. Three are described as limited screening and would affect access to the floors above the second level. The other two would affect access to most of the county section of the building. The skyway and the connection to the city portion of the building - including the board room - would not be affected. The estimated costs of the options range from $3.2 million to $5.7 million, although they also include $750,000 to replace the current elevators. The board will discuss the options at its next meeting and will also have information on the estimated personnel costs to operate a screening program. The board may also consider two other options - add more security without a screening program or do nothing.

The Board today also set a public hearing date to modify the county’s existing Tobacco Sales and Youth Access Ordinance. It was adopted in 2000 and no longer conforms to a state tobacco-related law that was passed in 2010. The county’s public health staff is recommending bringing the county’s ordinance in compliance with the state law.  Another change would affect e-cigarettes. They would be treated like a tobacco product, meaning they would face the same restrictions as real cigarettes and could not be sold to anyone under 18 years old. The hearing will be held during the board’s first meeting in May.