The Cavalier County Commission conducted business at their recent meeting covering a variety of areas.
By Melissa Anderson
The Commission discussed with Human Resources Director Crystal Beggs the proposal put forward by the courthouse salary committee for raises for the county employees. The requested raise increase was 3 percent.
Commissioner Nick Moser stated that over the past few years, there have not been raises due to the tight county budget. Moser felt the requested 3 percent raise was fair for this reason. Commissioner Stanley Dick struggled to accept the requested 3 percent.
“Personally, I would like, at the most, 2 percent and then have that asterisk at the bottom that we go to the step system as well and get that figured out. That’s just my opinion, and I base it on the farm economy,” Dick said.
A part of this discussion was how the county will handle the pay scale of new employees as well as current employees moving forward. The commissioners and Beggs discussed utilizing either a merit or step system. The Commission ultimately decided to give the county employees a 3 percent cost of living increase for budgeting purposes and utilize the merit system. Moser abstained due to a conflict of interests and a roll-call vote was taken with Dick voting “no” and Greg Goodman and Commission Chair Dave Zeis voting “yes”. The motion passed.
The Commission and Beggs discussed probationary periods for new hires. Beggs explained that she would like to see the probationary period be removed and instead have a six month evaluation instead. The Commission decided to remove the probationary period from county policy and replace it with an evaluation. Beggs will work on this change and present it at next commission meeting.
The commissioners reviewed the Senator Young Dam rehabilitation proposal. The project has been green-lighted by the Cavalier County Water Board, which has requested a local cost share from the county to conduct a feasibility study which would include engineering and environmental studies. The Commission discussed at length the options and what could occur with each choice.
One concern for the commission was County Road 45 and its future. Goodman, who has been attending meetings about this, explained that while the county is not obligated to participate, the idea is that this should be a ‘working together for common good’ project. Because the road runs across the dam, the reasoning is that the county should be involved in this project. Dick was concerned about the amount of control the county would have on this project, especially when money is involved.
The commissioners were in agreement that having something in writing on how much control they would have is important before deciding anything. The Commission was in agreement that unless there is a threat to the county road that they will stay out of it and have the water boards handle it.
Cavalier County Weed Officer Leon Pederson informed the Commission of cement projects he would like done at the new weed building. Pederson said that this project will be paid for as a result of grants off-setting the expenses of weed and pest control.
The commissioners discussed at length the process of making sure the funds from the grants are applied appropriately. Cavalier County Auditor Lisa Gellner explained that the budget can be amended if the weed department were to go over. The Commission wanted to be sure that they knew how this expense would be explained. The commissioners approved the project for cement work.
In Other Business
• Cavalier County Road Supervisor Terry Johnston discussed v-plows on trucks, projects and funds, and culvert requests.
• The Commission approved the Langdon Country Club gaming site authorization.
• The Commission reviewed updated bids for heating and cooling of the social services building. The commissioners approved the bid from Jenson Heating and Cooling contingent on funding.
• Beer and liquor license fees were brought to the Commission by Gellner. Gellner explained that currently a full year is set at $500 and 6 months is at $100. This mostly affects area country clubs and Frost Fire Park. The commissioners, after extensive discussion, approved adding on sale/off sale for the full license and maintaining the current fees.