The Cavalier County Commission spent the morning of Tuesday, August 20 discussing the need to return the mill levies to a level that can sustain the county expenses. Part of that discussion was ways in which the county could try to trim costs, which brought attention to the pay scale of county employees.
By Melissa Anderson
The Commission held a conference call with Cavalier County HR Officer Crystal Beggs to review her work on the salary pay scale. The commissioners requested the creation of the scale to compare the pay of Cavalier County employees to their counterparts in similarly sized counties in the state.
Cavalier County Commissioner Nick Moser had a few suggestions for improving the scale and gaining a true comparison. Moser asked Beggs to remove some markers for comparison and instead focus on the salary-to-salary for comparable positions. The suggestion was also made that the benefit package of Cavalier County be added in the comparison as it has a heavy impact on the compensation received. With the suggested changes, the commissioners will revisit the guideline in a few months.
At the end of the meeting during open discussion, the topic of salary and benefit packages was again revisited by Moser. With the county facing increased costs of operations, the need to trim where they can is pressing as the mill levy will see an increase in the next tax year to offset the increase. Cavalier County Auditor Lisa Gellner reported that one mill will be worth approximately $55,000. The county will most likely see a minimum of a seven mill increase.
The Commission met with Cavalier County Emergency Manager Karen Kempert to discuss the potential implementation of the SIRN 2020 system. Kempert explained that early adoption of the system will give Cavalier County the benefit of a focused service as those wanting to see it implemented will give special attention to ensure satisfaction. The system update will provide increased and better coverage of radio consoles for the emergency services of Cavalier County along the northern border and within the Pembina Gorge. After extensive discussion the commission agreed with Kempert and entered into a 10 year contract with 25 years of tech support for the system. The initial funding will come from 911 while ongoing maintenance will be a line item in the Sheriff’s budget.
The Commission met with Cavalier County Tax Director Steph Bata. Bata reported that the values of the all taxable parcels within Cavalier County fell within the state required percentage, with the parcels being set between 95 to 100 percent of their total taxable value. Bata also discussed the new farm exemption requirements with the commissioners. The changes will need to be noted by those who want to file, and the Tax Director’s office will be sending out explanations at a later date.
The Commission discussed the hiring of a part-time deputy auditor with Gellner. Gellner explained that the start date for the new deputy will need to be moved up by about two months. The commissioners gave approval for the hiring process for the new deputy to begin with a start date of Nov. 1.
In Other Business
• Cavalier County Weed Officer Leon Pederson announced his resignation to the weed board at a meeting held on August 19.
• Cavalier County Clerk of Court Anita Beauchamp informed the Commission that the state had approved the district court prosecuting for the City of Munich. Cavalier County Sheriff Greg Fetsch stated that because the City of Munich is only asking for the enforcement of their ordinances and nothing more, no additional contract is needed for the Sheriff’s Department. The commissioners approved the court contract.