County commission approves budget, looks for ways to cut costs

The Cavalier County Commission held a short meeting on the morning of Tuesday, September 17. The main topic of discussion was the budget and the potential for cuts that could be found.

Posted 9/19/19

By Melissa Anderson

The Commission discussed at length options that are available to decrease spending in hopes of saving tax payers some money. The concern stems from the current situation that this heavily agricultural-dependent area finds itself in as harvesting a crop that may not even have a market plagues many.

“If things don’t change over the next 12 months, things are going to be really challenging economically in Cavalier County,“ Commissioner Greg Goodman said.

The commissioners reviewed the proposed budget for 2020 and spoke with a few departments to determine if the budget could be reduced in anyway. Commissioner Stanley Dick discussed possible legislative attempts to bring more of an equitable distribution of tax dollars in the well-off oil counties to the rest of the state that are struggling to not blow their budgets.

Employees and department heads of Cavalier County also voiced some frustration with the budget and budgeting process. Some departments are still in limbo as to what their final salaries will be, making it difficult to seek grants. Others are dissatisfied with the compensation they currently receive for a position that has had its duties expanded considerably.

During discussion, Dick stated that the situation with salaries that the Commission has right now cannot happen again in the future. The commissioners approved the 2020 budget as presented.

The Commission met with Cavalier County Road Supervisor Terry Johnston to discuss road projects, gravel budgets, and culvert requests. Also discussed was the newly-created road foreman position. The job description for the position was reviewed by the commissioners and Johnston. Discussion included the reasoning for the creation of the position. Commissioner Nick Moser stated his views that by hiring someone now in this position, they would be able to work under Johnston learning the ropes for the position of road supervisor when Johnston retires. Part of the duties of this new position would be overseeing the county roadmen and being the main point of contact between them and the Commission. The position would also improve the accountability of the work being done.

As the Commission looks ahead to the upcoming winter and the condition of the roads, the issue of having one extra snow plow operator was discussed. Commissioner Austin Lafrenz explained that Jim Rademacher had expressed interest in the position again. The commissioners discussed options for the position and the need, ultimately deciding to hire Rademacher on in an as-needed basis at an hourly wage.

In Other Business

• Dick reviewed the progress being made on the Social Services building remodel and repair. There have been some changes made and improvements to the building. Dick also reviewed the progress of the social services redesign.

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