The Cavalier County Commission had a very full morning of business that was conducted on Tuesday, December 18.
By Melissa Anderson
To begin the meeting, the Commission reviewed the North Dakota Association of Counties briefing of the upcoming North Dakota legislative session set to begin on January 3. Commissioner Stanley Dick pointed out a few of the issues that had been noted by the NDACo as very important to Cavalier County. One of the issues is proposed legislation coined “Operation Prairie Dog” which relates to infrastructure funding. There is also anticipation that a bill will be drafted addressing farm-residence exemption in the state.
Cavalier County Road Supervisor Terry Johnston met with the Commission to continue discussion on 2019 road projects with KLJ. The large gravel project slated for next year would use nearly $2 million in federal funding. Johnston and KLJ both referred to the need to evaluate if the Operation Prairie Dog bill hits a road block or does not work out in favor of rural counties like Cavalier County. Overall, the decision was made to review this further in spring once roads can be inspected and the results of the legislature are set.
The Commission discussed the billing of townships for road grading. The issue was when the billing should begin- from the moment the grader leaves its shop or when it arrives at a township. Extensive discussion finished with a roll call vote with all commissioners voting in favor of billing beginning once a grader reaches the township.
The next agenda item for discussion was the personal vehicle mileage policy. The Commission reviewed the policy that is in place and felt that it needed to be adjusted. The topic stemmed from county employees using their personal vehicles to conduct county business. The suggestion was made by a commissioner to have the policy read that all personal vehicle used for county business must be pre-authorized by the department head in order to receive mileage compensation. The commissioners also felt that trips for county business should be made during a regular working day to avoid the use of a personal vehicle. It was decided to turn the issue over to the HR Director for review and clarification of the policy.
The Commission discussed board appointments for the Northern Plains Resource Board, Cavalier County Job Development Authority (JDA), and Weed Board. Commissioner Greg Goodman was appointed to the Northern Plains Resource Board while the six individuals recommended for appointment to the JDA were approved, including Commissioner Austin Lafrenz.
Cavalier County Weed Officer Leon Pederson was present at the meeting to discuss the weed board. Pederson reported that there are only three board members who routinely show up at the weed board meetings despite three reminders he sends out prior. The commissioners reviewed the official minutes for the weed board to confirm Pederson’s statement. It was noted during the review of the official minutes that there are some non-compliance issues that the weed board will need to address for future meetings. The suggestion was made to decrease the current board to only five members. The Commission decided to invite the weed board members to the next county commission meeting to discuss that option.
Cavalier County Sheriff Greg Fetsch put forward two project requests to be approved before the end of the year. As a result of the department not having any female prisoners this year, the department has some flexibility with this year’s budget to address some equipment and maintenance issues. Fetsch requested approval for the replacement of flooring in the jail room and the purchase of in-car cameras for police vehicles. The commissioners approved the expenditures.
A conference call was held with prospective HR Officer Crystal Beggs to confirm the proposed contract and discuss any other items related to her working for the county. Beggs requested that she receive mileage compensation since she would have extensive travel to reach Cavalier County from her home in Ramsey County. The commissioners approved one round trip of mileage per week for Beggs, which would be four times per month. The Commission and Beggs were satisfied with all other areas of the contract.
The Commission opened two bids relating to Johnston’s office, the mower bid and the pick up bid. They accepted the bid from Langdon Implement for the mower bid and a state bid for a new 2500 Chevy HD. Bids were also opened for the 2009 Chevy Impala. There were a total of four bids submitted with the high bid of $2,000.00 from Joel Mostad being accepted.
The Commission approved being named as a sponsor for a grant that the City of Langdon is writing to receive funding for two blocks of new sidewalks around the city park and pool area. The grant stipulates that towns with less than 5,000 residents have county sponsorship.
The commissioners approved an extension amendment for the CDBG grant for the courthouse bathroom project.
Commissioners met with Cavalier County Tax Director Steph Bata who presented a 5 year contract for the Vanguard website. Bata explained the usefulness of the website to not only county residents but realtors, bankers, etc. for reviewing of property values in the county. Commissioner Stanley Dick was wary of a 5 year contract and instead recommended a one year contract with an option of going longer after that. The commissioners approved the one year contract option.
Cavalier County Social Services Director Jill Denault was present for opening of vehicle bids from D&B Motors, which presented three options to the county. At the request of Denault the commissioners approved the purchase of a 2019 Chevy Traverse.
The Commission held a special meeting on Friday, December 21, to review bids for the Social Services building as well as to approve any year-end vouchers.