The Langdon City Commission conducted business at their recent meeting held on Monday, June 24 that covered a wide range of topics. The primary focus of the Commission was the police contract with the Cavalier County Sheriff’s Department and city ordinances.
By Melissa Anderson
The commissioners reviewed the proposed police contract that had been discussed at previous meetings. Cavalier County Sheriff Greg Fetsch explained that the department could not lower anything and would remain firm. This became especially true following the county HR discovery that the Sheriff’s Department is underpaying their employees when compared to other similar counties. Langdon City Auditor RoxAnne Hoffarth stated that she and Langdon City Attorney Quentin Wenzel are looking at special levies as the city is already at the maximum for mills.
Fetsch also reviewed the vehicle requirement aspect of the contract. Fetsch had received bids from the two local dealerships for police vehicles, with D&B Motors having the lower bid for a Chevy Tahoe fitted for police use. Total cost of the vehicle that the city is required to purchase would be just under $50,000 which would also include the purchase and installation of lights. The City Commission approved the purchase of a vehicle for the department this year.
The commissioners continued discussion on the police contract. There were a few concerns raised by Commission Marty Tetrault and Hoffarth regarding the handling of dispatch. Both shared similar events during a private call to dispatch and once for the ambulance,; the on-duty dispatcher did not contact the deputy on duty right away but instead said they would wait to have the oncoming deputy handle the issue in a few hours. Fetsch stated that this was unacceptable and would speak with dispatch about this. The Commission ultimately approved the police contract for 24/7 coverage by the Cavalier County Sheriff’s Department.
There were a few different ordinances discussed during the meeting; one was the abandoned vehicle and junk ordinance that has been a focus of commission chair Jerry Nowatzki. Fetsch stated that since the last meeting, he had reviewed a small portion of the city and found over 30 vehicles that would be in violation of the ordinance. The main concern is, because of the sheer number of violations, the cost of towing and then impounding the vehicles may not be worth the effort by the city to try and enforce the ordinance. Fetsch also noted that it is not just junk cars that are scattered through the city but other junk items such boats, campers, lawn mowers, tillers etc.
“In my opinion, you got more problems than cars,” Fetsch stated to the Commission.
The commissioners and Fetsch discussed at length reasons for the junk and garbage pile up in the city. The sanitation department no longer picking up certain items during clean-up week was noted as a possible cause for the pile up. The Commission and Wenzel also discussed if the ordinances relating to commercially zoned property could be addressed to be more strict in what can be left on the property. This would all have to be done and maintain property rights.
“I wanted to start looking into this, start looking into the way the ordinance is written because if you hit somebody in the pocket book, you normally get a result,” Nowatzki said.
The decision to have Wenzel, Nowatzki, and Fetsch meet to further discuss options on how the city and Sheriff’s Department can enforce the ordinances and clean up some of the unsightliness of Langdon was decided.
Langdon business owner Karla Rademacher submitted a letter to the Commission regarding the ordinance that has businesses renting space from another business paying utility fees. Rademacher suggested an addendum to the ordinance within her letter suggesting a flat fee and more clearly worded designations that the ordinance and fees would apply to.
“I do have to say I am disappointed that our town forefathers chose to add this ordinance. I believe this is a more ethical way to charge water rates,” Rademacher states in her letter, “I ask that this is fairly billed to all businesses that qualify -not a pick and choose thing, or because one thinks this is how the business works, but in actuality the owner may be renting spaces.”
Commissioner Lawrence Henry motioned to leave the ordinance as is with a second by Commissioner Cody Schlittenhard. The motion carried with Nowatzki not casting a vote and commissioner Jim Rademacher voting against it. Nowatzki stated that the ordinance could be revisited at a later date if more than one business petitions the City Commission to change the ordinance.
In Other Business
• Tetrault informed the Commission that the ditch that runs through town for Mulberry Creek drainage is in desperate need of attention. Tetrault explained that there is damage to the retaining walls- it’s full of debris and trees are over grown at the north end of it.
• Choice Bank President Todd Borchardt went over options on what the bank could do in terms of a loan for the city for their city hall renovation project. Choice Bank could offer the city a 2 percent fixed rate loan while Farmers and Merchants could only go as low as 2.25 percent. The commissioners will keep the funding local and finance through Choice Bank.
• Moore Engineering’s Andrew Aakre gave updates for the projects currently ongoing for City of Langdon. Aakre informed the Commission that the Phase I paving will be going into liquidated damages as the contractor will not meet their paving deadline of Friday, June 28. Phase II is ongoing and progressing on schedule.
• The commissioners asked for advice for the handling of Dennis Luhmann’s request for the city to pay for intersection paving in his addition. Aakre gave the Commission a few suggestions to pass on to Luhmann and provide his contact information to Luhmann.
• The Commission approved the designation of depositories, pledge of securities, and fireworks permits.