Cavalier County Commission holds extended meeting

The Cavalier County Commission didn’t have much on the agenda but discussion was extensive.

Posted 4/4/19

By Melissa Anderson

During open discussion, Lynetta Johnson announced her retirement from her position with Cavalier County Public Health District with her last day being May 31. Teri Gustafson requested that Public Health be allowed to advertise for Johnson’s replacement so that the training may begin as soon as possible. The Commission approved the advertising of the position.

The Langdon Community Development Coordination requested that the Cavalier County Commission write a letter of support and recommendation for the City of Langdon to continue the Renaissance Zone program. Commissioner Nick Moser explained that the program is very beneficial to the city as it provides funding and support or improvements to existing properties.

Commissioner Stanley Dick asked what the effect of this program has on the county. Cavalier County Auditor Lisa Gellner explained that the program allows for a tax break for a certain amount of time. Once the property comes out of the program, the improvements made will give the property a higher tax rate. After the explanation, Dick felt that the letter of support only benefited Langdon. Dick added that he is against Renaissance Zone programs across the state. A roll call vote was requested by Dick with all commissioners except Dick voting in favor of the letter of support.

The Commission approved the Langdon Country Club ‘s application for a beer and liquor license. The Commission also reviewed the agreement between the county and Cavalier County Memorial Hospital for the using and responsibility of the Search and Rescue Building. The establishment of who owns the building is under question but is believed to be county owned. While CCMH has the building rent free, they are responsible for any damages to the building from the staff of CCMH.

The commissioners heard department updates from the States Attorney office, the Cavalier County Job Development Authority, Emergency Manager, Cavalier County Water Board, maintenance, and the Cavalier County Sheriff’s office.

The Commission approved the purchase of laptops for commission use from surplus supply at $50 per laptop. There was a roll call vote taken with Dick and Commission Chair Dave Zeis voting no and the rest of the commission voting yes. The county IT will update the computers to meet the commissioners’ needs.

Cavalier County Weed Officer Leon Pederson requested that the Commission approve the participation of Cavalier County  in the LAP program and the DOT.  The Commission approved the two requests. Pederson also discussed the palmer amaranth action plan created by the  North Dakota Weed Control Association, North Dakota Extension Service and the North Dakota Department of Agriculture.

“If you find palmer amaranth, leave it in place. Call myself or the extension service. We will come out, take a look at it, and come up with a plan to get rid of it. It’s very, very important– leave them in place,” Pederson informed the Commission. Pederson explained the danger and why palmer amaranth is a game-changer in terms of weeds in Cavalier County.

Pederson also informed the commissioners that there is a lawsuit that will most likely be filed against Mahindra. The weed department purchased a vehicle that had its first major breakdown within 70 miles. Pederson explained in depth that the issues that kept mounting with the vehicle leading to this point.

Cavalier County Treasurer Cindy Stremick presented an option to the Commission of transferring some money from the county checking accounts at both Choice Bank and Farmers and Merchants Bank into a CD. The commissioners discussed at length the best option for handling the county funds. Interest earned from transferring an amount to CD and earning a higher interest on the funds would be wise financial planning. Greg Goodman motioned to place $2 million into a CD at FM Bank at a 2.5 percent interest rate for 12 months.

The Commission reviewed applications for abatement from North Olga Township and Perry Township. They approved the recommendation from the North Olga Township to change the amount of the property seeking abatement. The property in Perry Township was miscategorized as cropland when it should have been non-cropland. The abatement for Perry Township property was also approved by the Commission.

Auditor Lisa Gellner and the Commission discussed at length why the auditor’s office is in need of part-time help. Gellner explained and answered questions from the commissioners about the request. Since Gellner’s first time being elected, the office has been repeatedly mandated by the state for compliance in terms of reporting on top of already required duties. With the upcoming general election in 2020, Gellner feels it would be in the best interest of the office and county to have a part-time person in the office knowledgeable on regular auditor’s office duties. Gellner and Deputy Auditor Monica Porterfield stated that many of the duties handled in the auditor’s office cannot leave as they are intertwined making the move to another office inefficient.

The commissioners, especially Nick Moser, requested that the auditor’s office try to find an in-house solution that creates more efficiency. Stremick also voiced that some suggestions made such as switching programs were not logical as there would be substantial cost with little gain. Goodman stressed his concern was in making the entire courthouse run more efficiently, meaning less paper and time spent on tasks. Discussion ended with a call for a motion. Moser stated that because the item was not on the published agenda, he did not feel comfortable making a motion and asked that the issue be added to the next meeting’s agenda and decision made then.

At a special meeting held on Monday, April 1 the commissioners reviewed the vehicles in the county fleet and created a list of replacement. At this same meeting the commissioners reviewed bids from RDO and Butler for two new motor graders.

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