County Commission meeting held on Jan. 5

The Cavalier County Commissioners met to wrap up loose ends of the previous year and to start preparing for the upcoming road work season and tax season.

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Posted on 1/9/16

By Melissa Anderson

The commission met with Road Supervisor Terry Johnston first and discussed the upcoming road work projects and requests that Johnston had received.

The commission and Johnston continued the discussion that occurred at the previous meeting about tightening the specs for gravel that is going to be used for the upcoming summer projects. The reason the commission would like to see tighter specs on the gravel is to ensure the longevity of the gravel and subsequent “bang for the buck”.

Johnston informed the commission that he was approached by a resident to replace a bridge  close to Osnabrock. This isn’t the first time Johnston was made aware of the bridge and asked the resident and the previous resident that notified him to attend the next meeting and explain why the bridge needs to be replaced to the county commission. Johnston suggested that should the commission approve the replacement that it could be replaced with box culverts as the road and bridge is not that heavily traveled.

Johnston continued his report by stating that KLJ and the county did not submit safety projects this year as no safety projects correlated with the scheduled chip seal project. Johnston and KLJ felt that rather than try to work around the chip seal project they would wait a year and submit the safety projects for 2017.

The commission, Johnston, and Cavalier County Auditor Lisa Gellner discussed the R&B Excess Levy. Gellner and Johnston suggested to the commission that they vote to place the levy on the 2016 ballot for voter approval as the levy is set to expire before the 2018 voting time period.

The commission discussed how those funds should be used in the future as the county catches up with necessary road work. Commissioner Stanley Dick suggested a portion of the funds be used to help cover the cost of updating the county equipment. Another suggestion was to use a portion of the revenue to cover the costs of gravel.

The commission approved putting the measure on the upcoming ballot and will continue discussion at their next meeting.

The commission met with Cavalier County Tax Director Pam Lafrenz for status reports on the implementation of the Vanguard software, the farm exemption, assessors, preparing for the upcoming tax season, and the soils committee.

Lafrenz is currently working with Vanguard by sending them information for the parcel create. This task cannot be finalized until all parcels in the county are finalized and any updates made.

Lafrenz will be meeting with all township assessors to get the necessary information for the parcel create. This information needs to be completed and filed by February 1 for assessments as well.

Lafrenz has started preparing for the 2015 tax season by sending out homestead credit and farm exemption letters. Lafrenz has been very busy fielding questions and phone calls regarding the farm exemption as well as abatement requests.

Because of the workload and impending deadlines, Lafrenz requested that the commission allow her to hire temporary help. The commission agreed to Lafrenz’s request but raised concerns about protocol in regards to the expediency needed to hire the temporary help.

The commission met with Cavalier County States Attorney Scott Stewart and newly contracted Cavalier County Human Resources Officer Angela Butts to determine if one week of advertisement would suffice.  Stewart and Butts stated it would, advising that Lafrenz use temporary administrative assistant in the advertisement.

The commission and Lafrenz reviewed the Cavalier County Soils Committee openings and policy. The commission and Lafrenz determined that the policy should be reworked by the soils committee and also appointed Chad Henderson and Tom Valentine to the vacant positions in District 1 and 2. The county commission will meet with the soils committee at the next county meeting.

In Other Business

• Cavalier County Treasurer Cindy Stremick informed the commission that she and her deputy are attending a training session in Bismarck on January 28 and 29 and requested that the treasurer’s office be closed. The commission asked Stremick to find someone to be in the office, and if that was not possible then the office could be closed.

• The commission and Butts rescinded the contract previously agreed to and signed a new contract that Butts provided. This was done because the previous contract raised concerns from Job Service ND.

• Cameron Sillers presented the findings from Tom Valentine’s abatement hearing for the commissions approval. The findings will be filed, and, should Valentine pursue an appeal, will be for court use.

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