County Commission has short agenda

The Cavalier County Commission had a short agenda full of discussion at their most recent meeting held on Tuesday, September 4.

Posted 9/6/18

By Melissa Anderson

The commissioners met with Cavalier County Emergency Management Director Karen Kempert to discuss a tower that assists with county employee communication. The tower is currently owned by Cavalier Rural Electric who is willing to sell the tower to the county. The land upon which the tower sits, however, is the cause for the possible sale. The current owners and Cavalier Rural Electric cannot find documentation pertaining to the lease of the land that the tower is located.

Kempert, along with Commissioner Nick Moser, explained to the commission the situation as well as the possible outcomes and best scenarios. The cost to move the piece of equipment that assists with communication would be upwards of $15,000 along with having to work with Canada to insure there is no frequency interference.

Another issue is the Siren 2020 which could make the current location ineffective in the future. In addition, there is currently proposed costly updates that the tower and building to it will need in the future.

Kempert explained that the first option is for the county to lease the land from the current owners and purchase the tower from Cavalier Rural Electric. She stated that a minimum of a two year lease with a maximum of five years would be ideal. Kempert stated that it may be in the county’s best interest to have a study conducted to determine the best location for a communications tower when looking toward future regulations. The commission made no decision in regards to the study and decided to wait to see if the owners would be amicable to a lease agreement with the county.

The tax director’s office sent out notices of increases of 2018 property values recently which brought attention to the Dakota Spirit Arena and its tax status. Steph Bata informed the commission that no representative from the Dakota Spirit Arena had brought concerns about the new tax amount to the city or county commissions during the time frame required.

Prior to the 2018 assessment, the structure of the hockey arena had not been included in the assessment. With its addition the tax rate has skyrocketed. Bata had been in contact with the State Tax Commissioners office as well as speaking with the Cavalier County State’s Attorney. Both offices stated that since the 2018 assessment was correct that there was no standing for an abatement. Neither party could also give a reason for the exemption of the building, and with no paperwork available, the arena’s ability to prove the reason for the exemption was not clear.

The Commission and Bata, along with some members in the gallery, discussed the 501c3 status and how it applied to the building. The commission decided that as the arena is located within Langdon city limits, the issue must first go to the city and then to the county.

The Commission moved on to review the state measures that will be voted on during the primaries. There are a total of four measures appearing on the ballot this fall, but two measures, in particular had extensive discussion amongst the Commission. Measure One, which deals with ethics in politics, and Measure Three, the legalization of recreational marijuana in the state.

The Commission had extensive discussion on these two measures citing their own opinions as well as that of the North Dakota Association of Counties.   Cavalier County States Attorney Scott Stewart was present and also weighed in on the measures from a legal standpoint and how they could affect the county and its ability to run efficiently.

In Other Business:

Moser brought forward a complaint from a resident of the county about trees located in the right of way that inhibit travel with machinery on county roads because of their canopies. The county has policies in place that dictate two courses of action. The decision was made to clear the tree branches.

Cavalier County Commission Chair Stanley Dick informed his fellow commissioners on the direction the state will take with social services. Currently, a pilot study is being implemented that would remove boundaries of county and instead place social services into zones.  Social service employees would also be taken under the state employee umbrella, and as such, the county would no longer have any say in salaries. Other initiatives are also in the works to streamline the social services department.