Cavalier County Commission meets with full agenda

The Cavalier County Commission had a full agenda that stretched into the afternoon on Tuesday, July 19.


Posted on 7/23/16

By Melissa Anderson

The commission heard department updates from the Cavalier County Clerk of Court, Public Health District, Recorder’s Office, Treasurer’s Office, Social Services, Sheriff Department, State’s Attorney, and the Tax Director’s office. Many of the departments also presented preliminary budgets to the commission.

The Cavalier County Memorial Hospital (CCMH) Ambulance presented its proposed budget to the commission for review. CCMH Chief Financial Officer Marcus Lewis explained to the commission that the ambulance budget would not be finalized until a later date due to documentation issues that required an audit. Lewis gave an update on the staffing issues the ambulance service is facing but that CCMH is actively recruiting staff.

The commission also met and discussed individual budgets with representatives of the Cavalier County Water Board and the Devils Lake Basin.

The commission met with Roger Kram who expressed his displeasure over the length of time it took for the weight limit signs on the county roads to be taken down following the direction of the county commissioners to do so. Kram stated that the signs were still up days after the direction was given by the commission for them to be taken down. Kram stated that many semis were traveling loaded above the weight limit signs posted, and the signs were not taken down until he complained.

The commission stated that they understood Kram’s frustration with the time it took for the signs to be taken down, but so long as the signs were in place, they are enforceable. The commission also stated that some roads may have road limits remain in place at the discretion of the commission in order to preserve the road.

Cavalier County Tax Director Pam Lafrenz addressed the commission with some concerns she had about her work environment. Lafrenz informed the commission that she felt that there were numerous petty things being done to undermine her ability to perform her duties as the Tax Director for Cavalier County. Lafrenz stated that she is not being given adequate communication in order for her to perform her job. Lafrenz stated that she just wants to do her job, but the work environment has become unbearable and is making her miserable. Lafrenz requested FMLA leave because of mental distress caused by the work environment within the Cavalier County Courthouse.

Lafrenz stressed that the requests from the public nor her duties was the reason but solely the work environment of the courthouse and the serious issues of the staff within the courthouse not working together.

Commissioner Rick Ring stated that as her supervisor, he felt Lafrenz should be able to come to him with her concerns and that the commission as a whole needs to get to the bottom of the issue of the courthouse employees not working together.

Moving on, Lafrenz then addressed the issue of a property not being properly assessed. Lafrenz  informed the commission that after reaching out to the State Tax Commissioner’s office, the property owned by Jerry Danielson was not farm exempt and needed to be assessed for a residence.

Tom Valentine, along with two others from the Fremont Township, expressed concern over the fact that the property was never assessed for the residence and that it should have been done in 2015 and 2016. Valentine and the others discussed at length with the commission the issue of properties being inaccurately assessed. Valentine and the other assessors in Fremont Township had gone through all of the parcels to insure accuracy and equality.

The commission met with the City of Langdon to discuss the police services contract. Langdon City Auditor RoxAnne Hoffarth, City Attorney Quentin Wenzel, and City Commissioner Cody Schlittenhard were present to discuss the contract with the commission along with Chief Deputy Greg Fetsch. Fetsch went over the contract briefly for the county commission. The discussion went over what services the Sheriff’s Department would do for the City of Langdon as well as the reasoning for the substantial increase in the amount for the services.

The representatives from the city requested that a few members of the commission be present at the next city commission meeting to discuss the contract further.

In Other Business

• The commission met with HR officer Angela Plummer to go over the county policy manual. Plummer had presented the revised manual to the department heads and reported to the commission that only minor changes to wording were requested.

Plummer also went over timekeeping and stated that at this time, it would be best to wait for that addition to the manual until a new law affecting overtime goes into effect later this year. The commission approved the manual as presented.

• The commission met with a representative of Honeywell for updates regarding the asbestos abatement and repairs to the heating system of the courthouse. Honeywell informed the commission that due to miscommunication, the asbestos abatement could not be completed until November 1 of this year. As a result, the courthouse will need a temporary heating system. The commission rejected all bids that had been submitted for the project prior to this update and approved the new scope of work necessary to heat the courthouse. Honeywell will go through another bidding process that includes the increased amount of work.