Cavalier County Commission reviews preliminary budgets

The Cavalier County Commission met with a full agenda meeting with department heads to go over preliminary budgets for the upcoming fiscal year.

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Posted on 8/6/16

By Melissa Anderson

The departments that presented their preliminary budgets included the Emergency Manager/E-911, Cavalier County District Health, Maintenance, Veterans Services (VSO), Weed Board, and Tax Director.

Emergency Manager Karen Kempert presented her budget for the upcoming year. Kempert stated that she is requesting an increase in salary due to the duties and responsibilities of her position changing and expanding since she first took over. Overall, Kempert’s budget is down $1,100.

Cavalier County Public Health District Administrator Terri Gustafson presented the budget for that department. Gustafson briefed the commission on the changes including the increases on vaccine costs now that the state is no longer paying for the vaccines. The mill levy is still at $60,000 and the total budget for the department is $300,000.

Terry Girodat presented the maintenance budget for the courthouse. Because of the issues the courthouse is currently facing with their heating system, the commission discussed implementing line items for future projects in the hopes of creating a fund for emergency projects. The commission also requested that Girodat create a plan for necessary projects to keep the courthouse up-to-date and in good repair.

Veterans Service Officer Leon Hiltner presented his budget. The only changes that Hiltner noted was a floating line item for the operation of the Veterans Van. Those funds are reimbursed by the state.

Cavalier County Weed Board Officer Leon Pederson gave his budget to the commission as well as future plans towards working with area landowners and North Dakota Game and Fish to control weeds in Cavalier County.  Pederson explained that the increases to his budget were because of increases in salary and compensation to the weed board.  Pederson also noted that printing expenses were larger due to ongoing efforts to inform the public of spraying protocols.

Cavalier County Tax Director Pam Lafrenz presented the tax director’s budget for the upcoming fiscal year as well as updates on ongoing issues with tax abatements. The commission and Lafrenz discussed her continued need for her assistant and the possibility of hiring the assistant to a permanent position. The commission stated that they would place the issue of making the assistant a permanent employee at the next meeting.

The commission met with Cavalier County Chief Deputy Greg Fetsch to discuss the police contract negotiations with the City of Langdon. The city failed to submit their counter-proposal following the Langdon City Commission meeting on July 25. The county commissioners who attended that meeting Stanley Dick, Elsie Magnus, and Rick Ring informed the other commissioners of what had transpired at the city commission meeting.

After extensive discussion amongst the commission and Fetsch, the county commission, based on what had been discussed previously with the city, decided to present another proposal that allows for the City of Langdon to pay 75 percent of the increase the first year and then the full contract price the following two years. The commission directed Fetsch to present this updated contract proposal to the City of Langdon at their next commission meeting on Monday, August 8.

In Other Business

• The commission reviewed the request from the Red River Basin for Cavalier County to join it. The commission denied the request.

• The commission reviewed the request from Sandy Wade, Reserve Force Officer with Selective Service System, to recommend an individual for the open position on the Selective Service Board. The commission reviewed the request with Leon Hiltner, and it was decided to have Hiltner announce the open position in his column.

• The new RDO representative, Ryan Clark, introduced himself to the commission.

• Following the county commission meeting on July 19, the Cavalier County Republican was approached by a county employee with accusations  that another county employee engaged in misappropriation of funds from North Dakota Game and Fish. Cavalier County Republican investigated these claims and finding no evidence of wrong-doing, presented the information to the Cavalier County Commission to confirm innocence.

After visiting with Vice Chair Nick Moser, Moser assured the paper that disciplinary action would be taken against the accusing county employee.

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