Cavalier County Commission holds county equalization meeting

The Cavalier County Commission had a full agenda for their regular meeting held on Tuesday, June 4. The Commission also held their special meeting for county equalization near the end of the meeting, hearing requests from residents for consideration.

Posted 6/6/19

By Melissa Anderson

Cavalier County Emergency Manager Karen Kempert was one of the first to address the commissioners during their regular meeting. Kempert informed the commissioners that an assessment had been completed on the courthouse and recommendations had been made to replace the doors leading into the courthouse as they are not shatterproof, and they do not allow a way for a lockdown of the building. Kempert had applied for a grant to rectify these issues. She believes she can get the funding for the front door replacement but may still need money for the lockdown.  This will be included in the budget if necessary.

Chad Henderson informed the Commission that he will be widening an approach to an area he uses. The commissioners saw no issue and, after discussion with Cavalier County Road Supervisor Terry Johnston, gave approval for Henderson to go ahead with the widening.

Graveling of county roads was a major topic during the discussion with Johnston. The Commission discussed costs as well as the quality of gravel when looking at re-graveling roads. The cost of bringing gravel to some of the roads poses a major challenge in trying to find the money to complete the areas that are of concern.

Terry Girodat updated the commissioners on the progress being made on courthouse construction projects. The construction also includes finishing the task of making all entrances handicap accessible.

NDSU Extension Service Regional Director Kim Ruliffson and Cavalier County Extension Agent Anitha Chirumamilla spoke on how soon the position for Family and Community Wellness agent could be filled. Ruliffson went over where the Extension Service currently sits as far as funding and being able to fill positions across the state. Cavalier County will have to wait upwards of 6 months as other counties seek agents for their open positions, also.

One concern that the Commission, specifically Stanley Dick and Greg Goodman, had was the impact that this will have on Chirumamilla. Both commissioners stressed the importance of her work as the Ag agent for not only the county but the entire area and across the state. Chirumamilla will take over the 4-H duties as well as being the county coordinator for Extension Services. This led into an extensive discussion on the options available to the Commission in assisting Chirumamilla in keeping her current workload and also finding someone to continue the services offered by the Extension on the Family and Community Wellness side. The commissioners requested more information from Ruliffson.

Cavalier County Tax Director Steph Bata informed the commissioners that there are townships in need of assessors. Bata discussed the issue with the State Tax Department. Bata and her deputy are certified to assess and can do so should the township not be able to find someone. The Commission gave approval to Bata to send a letter with an early deadline to the township(s) without an assessor and develop a contract in the event that Bata or her deputy need to assess.

The Commission recessed from their regular meeting to hold the county equalization. There were quite a few residents from both cities and townships present requesting the commissioners review their properties. The Commission adjusted properties noted by Bata and were recommended to be adjusted. Some of the biggest issues came from the City of Langdon and surrounding areas. Two properties will be reviewed by Langdon Assessor Jerry Ratzlaff.

The commissioners and county assessor Lisa Buchweitz discussed at length the map factor of Elgin and Manilla Townships. Buchweitz and a fellow assessor who was present pointed out the disparity between the townships because of the city of Langdon. To remedy the difference between the townships as a whole, the Commission created a boundary two miles out from Langdon city limits to create a different map area. The two miles will have parcels that are in Manilla and Elgin and their map factor will be a .85. The rest of Elgin and Manilla that do not fall into those two miles will be a .7 map factor.

In Other Business

• The Commission held a conference call with County HR Crystal Beggs to discuss updates she recommends to some county policy. The commissioners and Beggs reviewed the timekeeping as well as the use of sick time and vacation. There was also some discussion on employee leave for FMLA and maternity. The policy updates were approved.

• The Commission received one letter of interest for the open position on the education committee and appointed Melissa Anderson.

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