The Cavalier County Commission had a very full agenda and busy meeting on Tuesday, July 18 as the county prepares for budget time and also looks into ways to better secure the county courthouse network.
By Melissa Anderson
The commission heard from several departments and entities including Cavalier County:
• State’s Attorney – State’s Attorney Scott Stewart presented a budget that remained relatively unchanged. The domestic abuse fund will be transferred from the social services’ budget to the state’s attorney. The auditor’s office will handle the funds but the funds needed to appear in a departments budget.
• Public Health – Terri Gustafson presented the public health budget which had no changes.
• Recorder – Vicki Kubat presented her department’s budget as well as expected revenue for this year and the expenditures slated for next year’s budget.
• Social Services – Jill Denault gave the commission the expected budget that will be used for the state as no county dollars will be given in 2018. Denault stated that the projected funds from the state total $924,000 which will be used to give staff a four percent salary increase and update office furniture and equipment at the social service’s office.
• Tax Director – Pam Lafrenz updated the commission on where the tax director’s office is as well as how the Vanguard assessment is going. Lafrenz stated that the assessors are still working on the City of Langdon and estimating on moving out to rural areas by the middle of August. Lafrenz explained her proposed budget including the expenses associated with the projects to rectify the outdated tax records.
• Veteran’s Services – Leon Hiltner presented his budget that was also mostly unchanged from years prior.
• Job Development Authority (JDA) – Shannon Duerr presented her budget for 2018 and explained that the department will be seeking the full 4 mills allowed by state century code. This would add approximately $40,000 to the total budget that JDA would use to promote the county. Duerr also informed the commission that JDA has reached a purchase agreement for the eastern third or tactical area of the Nekoma missile site. JDA plans to utilize the area as an industrial area and the remainder of the site as optimal location for data storage.
• Senior Meals and Transit – Karrie Mikkelsen presented the budget and went over the demand that is facing the department for their services.
• Water Board – Shauna Schneider informed the commission on proposed projects for 2018 and how that affects the budget for the board.
Cavalier County Memorial Hospital (CCMH) also presented their budget and needs for the ambulance service. The budget was presented by CCMH CEO Chris Wyatt, CFO Pete Fromme, and Ambulance Director Lindsey Mehlhoff. Fromme went over the budget which included a proposed three year plan in order to accrue funds for a new ambulance as the current ambulances are experiencing breakdowns and are reaching their usefulness. Wyatt also explained how the funds from the county will be handled differently now versus the prior administration. CCMH asked that the mill levy for the ambulance be increased to six mills. This will have to go to a vote of the public on next years ballot.
The commission heard two IT proposals as well during their meeting. One was from Computer Express located in Oakes and the other was from Svar Technology of Langdon. Computer Express provided three options for the commissioners to consider. The option the commissioners were most interested in had the company sending a tech once a month to assist as well as being available for emergencies. A lot of their work would be done remotely.
Casey Bredeson, owner of Svar Technology, explained that they have four other clients within a few block radius of the courthouse and that he or one of his employees would be able to assist when needed within a short amount of time and would make twice weekly visits to the courthouse to check in with the departments. Bredeson also stated that he would be able to work remotely as well.
The commission discussed the three proposals that had been presented for IT support and security. The commission preferred Svar Technology but would like to meet again for further discussion. The issue was tabled.
In Other Business
• The commissioners discussed the paying of mileage to commissioners appointed to boards that require a county commissioner because of century code. The commission decided to give the mileage for those commissioners that are appointed to boards because of state but not to those who volunteer to be on boards that only have it as a requirement in their own by-laws.
• The commission decided to reimburse Cavalier County Social Services for the vehicle they wanted to trade-in and will use it as a county vehicle for employees to use when traveling to training or other instances of county business.