County Commissioners approve fire district in Minot township

During the budget process for Cavalier County department heads, the county commission instructed the heads to cut five percent from their respective budgets.

Posted on 2/22/14

By Lee Coleman

Cutting budgets are hard enough but when the cuts are reportedly made for a head, well, things could get a little confusing.

At Tuesday’s Cavalier County Commission meeting, Jill Denault of Social Services was on the agenda to discuss her department cuts.

“We were told to cut the budget five percent and on Feb. 7, I get my budget and five percent was taken off,” explained Denault. “I had no input. Why was it taken off without my knowledge?

“Five percent was taken from employee salaries.”

County auditor Dawn Roppel made the adjustment and told Denault she assumed the two commissioners on the social services board of directors would take it back to Denault.

According to Denault, that didn’t happen.

“I faxed it over but never got anything back,” Roppel said. “I was not targeting your salaries, I just had to get the numbers in.”

During the budget process, the commissioners approved a four percent pay increase for social service employees.

“We approved the four percent increase,” stated commission president Rich Flanders. “Why was five percent targeted to salaries rather than something else?”

Denault bluntly said she would have liked to make the adjustments herself.

“I don’t want this to be taken out of my hands,” she exclaimed. “This is my budget.”

Commissioner Tom Borgen agreed with Denault.

“You can’t arbitrarily choose to take it out of one line item,” he said. “Jill [Denault] should have had the opportunity to make adjustments.”

There was not a motion or a vote taken on the issue. Flanders summed it up quite poetically.

“You two have to work this out,” he stated.

In other meeting news, the meeting was recessed for a hearing on the request from the Minto township to establish the Wales Rural Fire District.

“Unless the Minto township objects, I recommend the approval of the request,” said county attorney Scott Stewart.

“Nearly 100 percent of the electors signed in approval,” said Brian Hart of the Wales Fire Department. “The commissioners have to approve to have a township and a fire district.”

The commission unanimously approved the request.

Also, Todd Borchardt was approved as the newest member of the Cavalier County Job Development Authority Board of Directors.