Cavalier County Commissioners discuss Vanguard program at meeting

The Cavalier County Commission held their last meeting of January on the 19th.


Posted on 1/23/16

By Melissa Anderson

The meeting covered numerous areas of county business and had intensive discussion concerning the Vanguard program and need for township assessors.

The commission met with Cavalier County Tax Director Pam Lafrenz, Langdon City Assessor Jerry Ratzlaff and Langdon City Auditor RoxAnne Hoffarth to discuss implementing the Vanguard assessing software this spring versus this fall.

Lafrenz explained that the reason the implementation was being postponed was so that the county could combine parcels, reducing the number that will needed to be assessed by the Vanguard assessment team and ultimately save the county money.

Lafrenz forwarded the request of Ratzlaff to Vanguard President Bob Ehler to verify the county’s position that the request was unnecessary and expensive. Ehler responded that the work that Ratzlaff wants to do would be duplicated when the parcel create was done and also by the Vangaurd assessment team when they begin working on reassessing the entire county this fall and next year.

The implementation of the software this spring would also start the contract time frame, almost a year of which would make the program used exclusively by the City of Langdon.

The commission asked Ratzlaff to justify his request. Ratzlaff stated that he wants the Vanguard program now because the Excel program currently used by the City of Langdon is too cumbersome for him to learn and use. Ratzlaff also stated that he only wants the program as a blank slate so he can input the new sales, construction, and should any complaints come in about assessments he can address them.

The commission made a conference call to Ehler to answer if it would be possible to get the blank program before the parcel create, the financial aspect of doing so, and if the county would be responsible.

Ehler clarified his opinion that the implementation of the software for Ratzlaff’s purposes was possible but mostly unnecessary as any work Ratzlaff completed could possibly be changed when the Vanguard assessment team begins their work. Ehler also stated that Ratzlaff would have to have the main program installed on the city laptop for his use or he would have to be in the courthouse to complete his work.

After some discussion, the county commission agreed that  they would be willing to start the contract for the Vanguard software, only supplying the necessary features of the software that Ratzlaff would need and having it placed on the city‘s assessing laptop.

The commission stressed that before they would make a final decision, Ratzlaff would have to have the Langdon City Commission approve the $610 per month expenses incurred until the county begins to use the software as well and return the main back to the county when it was time to do the parcel create.

The county commission will also have States Attorney Scott Stewart review this proposal.

The commission then discussed the need for assessors who are qualified under the new state guidelines and what the charge for these assessors would be. Lafrenz is currently meeting with township assessors so she will have a list should the townships be unable to find an assessor. The commission agreed that the assessors would have to set their own fees for assessing. Commissioner Stanley Dick suggested that should the townships not complete their responsibility of assessing properties, that Lafrenz might have to go out and do the work.

Lafrenz responded that it would not be possible for her to take on that additional work should it come to that and that it is the townships’ responsibility to make sure assessments are done in time.

In Other Business

• The commission met with the soils committee and expressed their desire that the committee essentially start from scratch in regards to term rotations, policy, and  address the inconsistencies in soil types that is rampant across the county.

• The commission met with Road Supervisor Terry Johnston and representatives from KLJ to discuss road projects.

• Cavalier County Emergency Manager Karen Kempert presented the emergency plans for fire, tornado, etc for the courthouse. The plan was reviewed by department heads and employees and approved. The commission approved it as well and now the courthouse can implement drills.

• The department heads presented suggestions for updates to the courthouse including flooring, doors, and paint. The commission gave permission for the continued planning and seeking of estimates.

• Cavalier County Treasurer Cindy Stremick presented pledges of security at various financial institutions which were all approved by the commission.