The Cavalier County Commissioners had a short agenda but filled their time with several topics.
Posted on 3/7/15
By Melissa Anderson
The only listed agenda was the further discussion of Tom Valentine’s requested abatement.
Valentine had previously requested the abatement for the 2012 taxation of land regarding a specific soil type. Cavalier County Tax Director Pam LaFrenze presented the recommendation from the State that she had received concerning the request. The State agreed with what Tom Valentine had presented, that there had been a mistake in the soil type on his land.
The commissioners, after some discussion on what maps Cavalier County uses officially and the map used by Valentine to determine soil types, the commissioners approved the motion give Valentine the requested abatement on 23.7 acres for the 2012 tax year. Valentine’s taxes will be readjusted to match the tax rate at that time for that soil rate. Valentine also requested information be provided to him so that he could recalculate the figures and present an abatement request for the 2013 tax year on the same acreage.
Cavalier County Commissioner Tom Borgen raised his concern again about the recent revocation of the $700 a month stipend that was part of the illegal policy that was adopted last June. Borgen stated that he now has a significantly decreased salary of about $80 a month as a result of having to pay for his Medicare coverage.
Borgen, during open discussion, suggested an adjustment in salary for the commissioners covered under Medicare might be done to cover the cost of paying out of pocket until the November enrollment period to compensate.
Chair Rick Ring stated that the commission could not raise their salaries unless the entire staff of employees for the county also had their salaries adjusted.
His fellow commissioners who were on the commission when that policy was made, Elsie Magnus and Rick Ring, stated that while this is an unfortunate side effect of rectifying the mistake that it was necessary to remedy the situation immediately rather than wait until the November enrollment period.
Commissioner Stanley Dick pointed out that Borgen has the option of approaching the State’s Attorney to see if there are any legal options for him.
The commissioners discussed the new insurance provider for state employees, Sanford Health, who replaces long time insurer Blue Cross Blue Shield. Cavalier County Auditor Dawn Roppel informed the commission that the new insurance provider does not provide an opportunity for earlier enrollment for those commissioners currently using Medicare.
In Other Business
• The City of Osnabrock submitted a request to the Cavalier County Commissioners that the county revoke the back taxes owed on a particular property. The property in question is in a state of advanced disrepair and is currently inhabited by animals. The commission raised legal concerns and decided that the issue would be tabled until the next meeting when the State’s Attorney would be present.
• Ole Nowatski gave a very good report on the North Central Planning Committee. Nowatski informed the commission that the committee currently has a little over $250,000 available for projects that need financial assistance.
• Borgen informed the commission of growing concern among land owners south of Langdon about the City of Langdon’s pumping of water into Mulberry Creek and the potential flooding that could result in the spring.
• Commissioners also discussed the idea of moving the NDSU Extension Agent’s office from the Cavalier County Courthouse to the NDSU Research Center. The reasoning behind moving the agent’s office is that the new agent would then be among their peers, the research, and better accessibility to the local farmers.
• The commissioners met with Highway Superintendent Terry Johnston and the representative from KLJ to discuss funding for upcoming construction projects and which roads should be addressed.