The Cavalier County Commission had a full agenda for their meeting held on Tuesday, June 6. The county also held the equalization meeting later that morning.
By Melissa Anderson
The first item that the commissioners addressed was a request from Cavalier County Human Resources Officer Jolene Ullyot to extend the temporary contracted hours as she still has a heavy workload. The commission agreed to the extension, giving Ullyott an additional eight hours until the end of August.
The commission met with Cavalier County Road Supervisor Terry Johnston and a KLJ representative to discuss the summer construction projects as well as where the county stands in terms of funding from the state legislature bills.
The Swenson Coulee bridge was discussed at length as the bids had been received for the project. The commission ultimately decided to keep the historic and photographic appeal of the bridge as it is mainly used for tourist driving. The bridge will be repaired to bring it out of its current category 3 condition.
Cavalier County Weed Officer Leon Pederson gave an update on the progress being made for the purchasing and construction of a weed building for the holding of chemicals. Pederson explained there were some legal concerns that were being handled and that the project is currently in the engineering phase due to the need to meet EPA regulations concerning the control and containment of the chemicals that will be housed there.
Bruce Lee was present on behalf of Fremont Township and the North Dakota Parks and Rec to request a letter of recommendation from the commission for the grant that the township and NDPR are working to get for the improvement of a recreational use road. The commission discussed what the letter would contain and agreed to sign it for the township.
Cavalier County Sheriff Greg Fetsch gave a department update and also informed the commission of some upcoming expenses. The Sheriff’s Department is in need of replacing their tasers, and the only company that sells the tasers they need requires a five year contract. The department is also needing two new radars. Fetsch explained that his budget can handle the expense for the contract for the tasers for the next four years. The commission agreed. Fetsch also informed the commission that the department will soon receive a new vehicle from the Homeland Security Grant. Because Fetsch intends to keep the current vehicle received last time, the new vehicle will need all new equipment as well as the cost of install. Fetsch has worked out the grant to cover the cost of the new equipment leaving the cost of install to the county, which his budget can cover. The commission agreed.
Fetsch also informed the commission that he, along with the sheriffs of Pembina and Walsh counties, have signed a memorandum to create a task force to better handle dangerous situations. Four officers from Cavalier County will receive training as well equipment similar to that of a swat team or riot gear. The total cost for the gear will be $1,350 per officer.
The commission moved into the equalization meeting. There were several residents present, with many from Fremont Township due to not only the removal of the modifiers from ag land values but also the changing of the soils values. The commission and Cavalier County Tax Director Pam Lafrenz explained that only the modifiers were supposed to be removed this year as the Cavalier County Soils Committee will be working on new values for the soils.
Also discussed in connection with Fremont Township was how the native woodlands were being handled this year. Because it cannot be determined which soil values to attribute the native woodlands to, an average of the soil values will be taken for that specific parcel. The native woodland value will be based on that number.
Inundated land applications were also discussed. There had been some confusion on how to properly apply for this, and Lafrenz and the commission went over what was required for the application.
The rest of the complaints dealt with the removal of the modifiers from the ag land values as well as the commission’s needing to make sure all townships were being taxed the same.
The commission approved the tax rolls.
In Other Business
• Commission met with Lafrenz to discuss the Vanguard assessment. Lafrenz stated that they are starting slowly on the assessment, and she has met with two assessors. The commission requested that Vanguard be present at the next meeting to give an update and introduce themselves.
• Cavalier County Auditor Lisa Gellner gave the commission the two quotes from local banks for financing of the Vanguard assessment. The commission chose Farmers and Merchants Bank. Some discussion was held on how the county saves money by going through local banks rather than financing through the companies. They also directed Gellner to begin seeking financing options for the county recorder’s digitizing of records.