The Cavalier County Commission held their first meeting for the month on May 2, conducting business in numerous areas of concern.
By Melissa Anderson
The commission met first with Cavalier County Road Supervisor Terry Johnston and KLJ representative Jeff Daley to discuss upcoming road projects the bids that came in for them.
Three projects were reviewed as well as the bids received for those projects. Daley noted that all of the bids came in lower than the engineer’s estimates. The commission accepted the lowest bids for each project and asked Daley and Johnston if it would be possible to add miles to certain projects with the cost savings. Daley responded that it would have to first be cleared with NDDOT and then discussed with the winning contractor.
Following the discussion with Daley, the commission and Johnston reviewed culvert requests. The commission approved the requests as well as a easement request from Polar Telephone.
The commission met with Cavalier County Tax Director Pam Lafrenz and Deputy Tax Director Steph Bata to discuss the workload their office is experiencing. The commission and tax directors office discussed options such as expanding Bata’s hours to a full five days as well as reducing some of the duties and having other offices handle them for the interim until the office is caught up. Also suggested was closing the office to public for a span of few hours everyday to allow the staff to work without interruption.
Lafrenz and Bata agreed that all of the suggestions would be beneficial in getting the office caught up and better able to meet deadlines. Bata will now work a full five days, data entry work will be given to the treasures’ office which volunteered to help and road billing will be handled by the auditors office.
The public should note that the tax director’s office new hours open to the public will be from 8:30 to 2:30 everyday and after 2:30 by appointment only. These changes are all temporary until the Vanguard assessment of the county is completed sometime in October.
The commission also discussed some issues that had been brought forward by the Langdon City Auditor occurring between the Langdon City Assessor and the office of the tax director. Lafrenz addressed the complaints and was supported by Cavalier County Treasurer Cindy Stremick. After hearing the two department heads, the commission decided that a working meeting was needed to address sort out the issues that were occurring between the City of Langdon and the Cavalier County departments.
Cavalier County Recorder Vicki Kubat brought forward information regarding the digitizing of county records. The company contacted to do the work, U.S. Imaging has time in their schedule to complete the scanning process this summer and requested to know if that would work for the county. The commission and Kubat discussed how much funding could be put toward the first phase of this process. It was decided that Kubat’s department could offer $20,000 to begin the process and seek a payment schedule for the remainder of the balance for the first phase.
In Other Business
• The commission held a conference call with a representative of Sidwell, the company that handles the agricultural side of the tax base, along with several assessors and soil committee members. The representative answered questions and clarified what Sidwell can do and assist the county with during the assessment and update to the land records.
• The commission received the final meeting compensation request from the soils committee. Mark Schneider informed the commission that the entire committee was in agreement that $75 per meeting with no mileage was acceptable. The commission approved the new rate and made it retroactive to January 1 of this year.
• Bruce Lee representing Fremont Township put forward a request along with the ND Department of Parks and Recreation to have the county be a non-financial sponsor for a grant to improve a roadway. After discussion of the specific roadway, the improvement plan, and what would be required of the county, the commission agreed to the request.