The Langdon City Commission convened on the evening of November 25 to hear updates and discuss new business, including a proposal from Cavalier County Memorial Hospital (CCMH).
By Melissa Anderson
Commission Chair Jerry Nowatzki, on behalf of the Commission, congratulated the Langdon Area-Edmore-Munich sports teams for the two state championship titles that have been won.
“This city is doing a very good job of raising fine, young athletes with the boys football back-to-back champs and girls volleyball,” Nowatzki said.
CCMH CEO Jeff Stanley approached the Commission about the hospital’s interest in leasing the Langdon Activity Center. He stated this is a preliminary interest to get feedback from the Commission on their feelings towards the idea.
“We would like to run it as a department of the hospital,” Stanley said. “Using it for employee wellness and making it a better place for the citizens.”
The idea was put forward by the previous CEO of CCMH, but at that time it was for the purchase. One concern that was raised about the negotiation process is that the Center doesn’t have a manager after December 6 which could make finding a new manager difficult for the city as the position’s security would be unknown.
Commissioner Marty Tetrault stated that he would be open to the idea so long as the original intention for the building would remain being available to the kids of Langdon. The Center is there to encourage healthy lifestyle and activity. Tetrault added that if the Center were to have hours reduced or limited access to residents that he would not support the idea.
“I think we probably would extend the hours, “ Stanley said.
Commissioner Jim Rademacher stated that as part of his job in driving the activities bus, discussion with coaches has revolved around the issue that the facility needs an update, including the gym floor. Other areas of the facility are also in need of attention. Rademacher theorizes that if this were to happen and needed improvements made, this could take some pressure off of the school’s needs.
Nowatzki noted that CCMH would have access to funds and grants that the city is not, making the possible lease of the building a win-win for all.
“They can run it better than I think we could, “ Nowatzki said.
The commissioners were all in agreement that the Langdon Activity Center is not used to its full potential, making the leasing of the facility to CCMH a good move.
The Commission revisited the tabled Ordinance 6.0105. Nowatzki stated that the Commission had three options – do nothing to the ordinance, amend the ordinance, or remove the ordinance from city code. Tetrault, who was not present at the last meeting, stated that this ordinance has been brought up several times over the 20 plus years he has been on the Commission.
Tetrault, along with Commissioner Lawrence Henry, could see both sides of the argument but were ultimately against making any changes to the ordinance or removing it from city code. Rademacher stated that while he will recuse himself from a vote on the ordinance, he has concerns on the legality of the ordinance and also felt that the city is in essence penalizing businesses.
There are approximately 18 to 20 affected businesses that currently fall under the ordinance. The projected increase in rates for the city would be approximately $2 per meter in Langdon should the ordinance be removed in its entirety. Langdon Water Department head Jason Busse stated that he would support a change that treated these affected businesses more like apartments, where the building owner informs the city if there are tenants and is billed accordingly. A suggestion put forward by resident Lisa Buchweitz would be to have a separate garbage fee for the extra businesses as the water charges will be covered regardless.
“Maybe what would be reasonable and what I heard at the last meeting, would be to have a separate garbage fee to cover for extra garbage pick up and things like that. I think there is a way to mediate that fee so that it’s more tolerable to the businesses where they don’t feel like you’re being anti-business against those trying,” Buchweitz said. “Another aspect of it is if you are going to do that to business, then you need to do it to all, cause you’re not catching them all – and how are you going to do that?”
The Commission and those present agreed that the suggestion was worth considering. Tetrault stated that the commissioners must consider what is in the best interest of both the city and the business owners. The Commission tabled the discussion on the ordinance until the next meeting at which point Nowatzki stated he would like a vote to take place. This will also provide further feedback from the community and business sector.
In Other Business
• The Commission had an update from Moore Engineering’s Andrew Aakre. Aakre presented a letter to the commissioners which they approved that will be sent to Quam Construction regarding their failure to meet contract obligations. Aakre also discussed the potential for future projects.
• The city opened bids for the farmland for rent. Two bids were received with Brian Kakela orally raising his bid to $2,300 per year, giving him the higher bid. He was awarded the land rental.
• Langdon City Commissioner Cody Schlittenhard has resigned from the Commission effective immediately. The Commission has 15 days from the meeting held on November 25 to decide to either appoint a new commissioner or hold a special election to vote in a new commissioner. Residents also have the ability to petition the city to hold a special election within the 15 day window. The commissioners will decide on the matter at the December 23 meeting.