January 17, 2006 Regular meeting minutes
The regular meeting of the Ward County Commission was called to order by Chairman Gruenberg at 9:00 am with Comms. Romine, Watne, Erickson and Lee present. Also present were Auditor/Treasurer Devra Smestad and County Engineer Roger Kluck.
Moved by Comm. Romine, seconded by Comm. Erickson to approve the minutes from the January 3, 2006 regular meeting. Roll call: all voted yes; motion carried.
Smestad then presented the bills. Kluck appeared briefly for comment. Moved by Comm. Romine, seconded by Comm. Lee to approve the bills totaling $149,883.03, including Social Service bills totaling $40,387.36. Roll call: all voted yes; motion carried.
Howard “Bucky” Anderson, an applicant for the Ward County Weed Board then appeared to introduce himself to the Board. Moved by Comm. Romine, seconded by Comm. Lee to appoint Howard “Bucky” Anderson to a 4 year term on the Ward County Weed Control Board, effective immediately, through December 31, 2009. Roll call: all voted yes; motion carried.
Juvenile Detention Director Allison Hughes then appeared regarding an employee’s request for un-paid vacation leave in February. Personnel Director Colleen Houmann also appeared briefly for comment. Moved by Comm. Romine, seconded by Comm. Erickson, to approve the leave request. Roll call: all voted yes; motion carried.
Court Administrator Dixie Knoebel and Sheriff Vern Erck then appeared regarding Courthouse security and an updated proposal for employing four part-time retired police officers or deputy sheriffs for security at the west door of the Ward County Courthouse, the updated information included the salaries plus the cost of benefits. After much discussion it was moved by Comm. Watne, seconded by Comm. Erickson to move forward with the hiring of retired officers for courthouse security. After more discussion, a substitute motion was moved by Comm. Romine, seconded by Comm. Watne to have the committee proceed with further development and more specific information of the plan, to include where the deputies would be stationed, the type of things that would be allowed through security and how the plan would be implemented. An amended motion was made by Comm. Lee to schedule two public hearings before any implementation is done. Comm. Romine suggested that the hearings could be conducted at the time when more information is brought back to the full Board. Comm. Lee withdrew his amended motion. Roll call on the motion to have the committee proceed with development of the plan with more specific information: all voted yes; motion carried.
Director of Tax Equalization Don Siebert then appeared. Moved by Comm. Watne, seconded by Comm. Romine that five applications for abatement and/or corrections of errors of assessments; two applications for two-year new construction exemption; four applications for corrections of errors of assessments on mobile homes; three applications for homestead credit; six mobile home exemptions for 2006; one mobile home exemption for 2005 and 2006 be approved. Roll call: all voted yes; motion carried.
With Siebert still present, it was moved by Comm. Romine, seconded by Comm. Erickson to direct the County Assessor to certify that the county average value of agricultural land will be $279.68 per acre, thus putting the value within the tolerance State Board of Equalization. Roll call: all voted yes, except Comm. Lee who voted no; motion carried.
Smestad then presented items for the Board’s action.
Moved by Comm. Watne, seconded by Comm. Erickson to make a grant training program available to other Department Heads, with tuition of $825 paid through the Commissioner’s Contingency account and to Dixie Knoebel; and have whoever attends the session hold a class for other Department Heads. Roll call: all voted yes; motion carried.
Moved by Comm. Romine, seconded by Comm. Watne to receive and file the following correspondence: ND State Auditor regarding 911 performance audit report; Department of Corrections regarding compliance inspections of the Jail and Juvenile Detention Center; City of Minot regarding sharing cost of Central Count voting machine. Roll call: all voted yes; motion carried. Comm. Romine commended the Jail and Juvenile Detention on their certification.
Discussion then turned to the All Seasons Arena seating project. State’s Attorney John Van Grinsven appeared regarding the opinion issued by the Attorney General. Comm. Lee questioned if an amendment could be made to the 1974 Tri-party agreement since the Attorney General suggested that a new joint powers agreement be drawn up prior to donating any money. Van Grinsven informed the Board that an amendment could work, but Attorney General Stenehjem suggested a new tri-party agreement be written specifically for this seating project. Smestad commented on the use of allocated funds. Bob Schempp, proponent of the seating, also appeared and updated the Board on when the bid opening would be, along with handing out the plans and specifications and a “layman’s” version of a new joint powers agreement. After much discussion, it was moved by Comm. Lee, seconded by Comm. Watne to refer the proposed joint powers agreement to the State’s Attorney for review and then meet again for discussion prior to January 31 bid opening. Roll call: all voted yes; motion carried.
At 9:58 a.m. Comm. Lee left the meeting.
At 10:00 a.m. Chairman Gruenberg recessed the meeting for a brief break to be followed by the Social Services meeting.
At 10:23 a.m. the regular Board meeting reconvened with all Commissioner’s present.
Moved by Comm. Erickson, seconded by Comm. Watne to approve the following application for a raffle permit: Dakota Cruisers, Inc. from January 20, 2006 to September 16, 2006 with prizes totaling $2,360. Roll call: all voted yes; motion carried.
Social Services Director Dan Richter then appeared regarding a budget amendment and a budget transfer for the Independent Living contract. Moved by Comm. Romine, seconded by Comm. Watne to give the Social Services spending authority equal to $30,000, reimbursable by the state, for the Independent Living Contract and to transfer $38,000 from the Targeted Case Management (Social Welfare) line item to the Independent Living (Human Services) line item. Roll call: all voted yes; motion carried.
Moved by Comm. Lee, seconded by Comm. Erickson to receive and file the monthly reports, including the financial reports. Roll call: all voted yes; motion carried.
Kluck then appeared regarding the tax foreclosed property in Kenmare (Lots 12-22, Block 21, Tolley’s Plat). Kluck informed the Board that for the County to demolish the building it would take 3-4 weeks, rental of a backhoe and an estimated cost of $65,000 – 70,000. After much discussion, it was moved by Comm. Watne, seconded by Comm. Romine to offer the building to the Kenmare Community Development Corporation for $1.00 to be sold “as-is”. Roll call: all voted yes, except Comm. Lee who voted no; motion carried.
Smestad informed the Board that the pickup that had been stored inside the building had been removed.
Chairman Gruenberg informed the Board that he had been approached by the Minot Housing Authority on possible purchase of the Emerson Apartment building. Moved by Comm. Lee, seconded by Comm. Watne to table any activity on the Emerson Apartment building until the final building plans are known. Roll call: all voted yes; motion carried.
Moved by Comm. Romine, seconded by Comm. Lee to approve the following payroll amendments: Keisha Belle – Juvenile Detention Officer – Juvenile Detention – Level 9; Judy Olson – Administrative Secretary – Emergency Management – Level 6 (PT); Lisa Burton – Administrative Assistant – Library – Level 7. Roll call: all voted yes; motion carried.
Siebert appeared again to introduce Shari Olson, Appraiser I, to the Board.
Kluck then appeared with agenda items for the Board.
Moved by Comm. Romine, seconded by Comm. Watne to authorize the Engineer to advertise for bids for a shouldering machine budgeted for 2006. Roll call: all voted yes; motion carried.
Moved by Comm. Watne, seconded by Comm. Erickson to authorize the Engineer to:
1) apply for FEMA funding to replace bridge number 154-49.1, on County Road 18 just west of State Highway 52, and if funding from FEMA is not available, to apply for Federal Aid bridge funding through the ND DOT; 2) advertise for a structural engineer to handle this project; and 3) have Chairman Gruenberg be on the engineering selection committee along with the County Engineer and Assistant County Engineer. Roll call: all voted yes; motion carried. Comm. Lee requested that Sheriff Erck have his department conduct spot checks to make sure that load limitations are being adhered to.
The Board then discussed the building project in great length. Comm. Watne reported that two more committees have been formed out of the building committee and needed to schedule meetings. The Marketing committee, consisting of Comms. Romine, Watne and Erickson, will be meeting on Wednesday. The Finance committee, consisting of Comms. Lee and Watne, Sheriff Vern Erck, Court Administrator Dixie Knoebel, Auditor/Treasurer Devra Smestad, Library Director Jan Murphy, Lori Scharmer, NDSU Extension Agent and Greg Hagen, Souris Basin Planning Council Director, need to meet to begin looking for grant sources and other funding. A meeting date of February 9th at 10:00 a.m. was set. Smestad informed the Board that a CDBG grant for a unisex handicap bathroom on the main floor (close to the Ex-Servicemen’s Room) deadline is March 1st and Greg Hagen has agreed to help with writing the grant.
Smestad also informed the Board that a Personnel committee meeting date needed to be set.
Van Grinsven then appeared with more questions regarding a tri-party agreement between the County, the City and the ND State Fair. He was directed to prepare a new agreement and Chairman Gruenberg will call a special meeting for further discussion and Board approval of the agreement at a later date.
At 11:10 a.m. with no further business, it was moved by Comm. Watne, seconded by Comm. Erickson to adjourn the meeting.
ACCEPTED AND APPROVED THIS 6th DAY OF FEBRUARY, 2006.
Chair, Ward County Commissioners
Ward County Auditor/Treasurer
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