Discussion of the county’s road maintenance and snow plow fleet took a major part of the recent Cavalier County Commission Meeting on October 6.

The meeting opened with Steph Welsh from Cavalier County Public Health informing the Commission that static COVID testing will be moved indoors due to the cold. They will use the north meeting room, and testing will be by appointment. The Commission supported this move. Also discussed was the changed/updated close contact quarantine order by the governor last week. The modified approach provides an incentive for people to wear masks. The definition of close contact has not changed, but masked people will be less likely to be quarantined and unmasked people more likely.

The agenda then turned to road maintenance. Bridges and intersections were a point of concern and whether all roads approaching a county road should have a yield or stop sign. An inventory of missing signs and signs that need to be replaced will be done so that needed signs can be ordered.

Trees planted too close, overhanging and encroaching into the roads was also a concern. Some trees have been trimmed back in the past, but ideally the whole tree would be removed. Input from landowners and utility companies is needed.

A lengthy discussion ensued on whether the purchase of a new snow plow was needed or if the snow plow fleet could be managed and directed more effectively. Snow removal can be done in a day with the present equipment, but everyone wants to get their road done first, complicating the issue. The county does some township snow removal, also. Switching from a district to a quadrant mentality was mentioned. A motion was approved to explore bids only for a new single axle truck with a one-way plow and V plow but not to purchase one. The issue will be discussed again at the next meeting.

County Tax Director Steph Bata provided a review of the Forest Stewardship Program. With COVID, there is no longer confidence that the state legislature will increase the tax per acre from 50 cents to $2.00 for land that was in the program. One commissioner commented that what is being seen is non-residents are buying land for recreational purposes, not forest stewardship. The Commission wants Bata to find out if the County Commission has the authority to set a resident and non-resident tax price. It was mostly agreed to support only those applications where the applicant is a resident of Cavalier County until the tax price question is answered.

Other Business

• County Treasurer Cindy Stremick sought feedback regarding some vehicle fees. She had a spreadsheet showing four different fees, the maximum that can be charged, what is currently being charged, and what she proposed to change. After a brief discussion, the commissioners supported what was proposed.

• Individual properties for the County Tax Sale Appraisal were reviewed, prices set, and approved.

• A raffle permit was approved for Our Ladies Preservation Church in Olga.

• Janelle Bata and Amanda Buchweitz were approved to attend the North Dakota State Fair as delegates.

• County Auditor Lisa Gellner reminded the commissioners that the NDACo Annual State Convention is next week. Register now if you have not already done so, sign up for webinars (free this year), and get your credits.

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