Mercer County Commission
Special Meeting Minutes
August 30, 2016
The special meeting was called to order at 9:00 AM CT by Chairman Tveit, also present was Commissioner Scheurer, Commissioner Gunsch, Commissioner Entze, Commissioner Murray, and Auditor Brost.
Motion made by Commissioner Scheurer, second by Commissioner Murray to approve the agenda. All members voted “Aye”, motion carried.
Chairman Tveit went over with each department head the cost of living increase this year is less than 1 ½%. Tveit added that if according to the salary survey, once returned, if anyone needs a bigger increase departments heads will have the discretion to go up to 3%. Chairman Tveit also asked each department head to police break times at 15 minutes in the morning and one-half hour at lunch, stating this would cut down the need for overtime within departments and/or additional staff. Lastly, Chairman Tveit asked all department heads come before the board for approval for bigger purchases and/or hiring additional staff even if it is allocated within their budgets. Commissioner Gunsch stated he would like the board to use the salary survey once Tanya Wieler gets back to them the updated figures. Commissioner Scheurer suggested freezing the commissioner salary and all board members were in agreement.
The board reviewed the Sheriff’s, Homeland Security Grant, Task Force, Youth Bureau, Special Vehicle Fund, Asset Forfeiture, and Coroner budgets with Sheriff Danzeisen. Danzeisen requested two (2) additional jail staff/correctional officers be placed in the budget for after the jail is complete. Danzeisen requested $37,791 to start each person out at $17/hour. Chairman Tveit stated it would be added in the budget, but asked Sheriff Danzeisen to inform the commission before he actually hires. Two (2) vehicles were placed in the Sheriff’s budget, but Auditor Brost suggested selling older vehicles and using the money already in the account to buy two (2) Task Force vehicles. The Temporary Deputy fund decreased from $40,000 to $35,000. The dive and rescue equipment fund decreased from $10,000 to $7,500. The Asset Forfeiture account would be left at $30,000 for budgeted expenditures, but no additional monies will be placed into that account.
Next the board met with Wanda Knutson, Clerk of Courts. Knutson informed the board that Deputy Kathy Johnson’s computer will need to be replaced in 2017, and she plans on applying for a grant for it. Knutson also requested Deputy Johnson be brought up to 100% of market wage ($1.50/hour increase), Deputy Donna Buchmann receive a 6% increase, and she would like her wage to be brought up to 95% market wage (9% increase).
The board recessed at 10:16 AM.
The board reconvened at 10:37 AM.
Colette Schilling, Tax Director/Land Use Administrator, met with the board to discuss her budget. The board discussed with Schilling the need for a full time vehicle in her department, stating they were not sure it was necessary. Schilling stated if there was a pool vehicle available when she needed to go out and assess, she would be willing to try that. Schilling requested a 6% increase for her salary and a 3% increase for Deputy Sheila Bruner. Schilling also discussed the situation of city assessors stating Darlene Brecht was going to continue to be the data collector for Golden Valley, Bette Jane Boeshans would continue to collect the data for Pick City, Zap, and Stanton, and Beulah would be contracting their data collection services out. Schilling stated she would like to have a meeting with Hazen City Auditor, Monte Erhardt, to discuss what the City of Hazen would be doing. In the Land Use Administrator budget, the education/training line was adjusted from $250 to $0, noting there was enough in that line item under the Tax Director budget.
Next the board reviewed the Landfill budget with Landfill Supervisor, Candice Strand. Strand stated she priced out new tires for the loader and it came to $25,400; therefore, the line item in the budget increased from $10,000 to $25,400.
The board reviewed the Recorder’s budget with Mercer County Recorder, Brenda Cook. Cook asked the board to bring her wage to 100% of market wage because the auditor makes $13,000 more than her. Cook stated this gap was the board’s fault and now she is asking to be caught up. Adding, this effects both her retirement and her social security.
The board reviewed the Treasurer’s budget with Treasurer Darbie Berger. Berger asked the board to consider budgeting for new tax software with Tyler Technologies. Berger added her office sends out more than $6 million in taxes and this system would be a big advantage to the public. Berger stated it would cost the county $109,000 to get on board with it. Berger discussed the salary survey stating she does not feel any employee is worth more than 100%; therefore, she is requesting the board to freeze her deputy’s wages because she is at 114%. Berger also stated the board needs contribute to the coffee fund in the break room if they are going to drink the coffee and requested the sprinklers do not operate when employees are coming into work.
The board recessed at 11:52 AM.
The board reconvened at 1:00 PM.
Ken Miller, Road Superintendent, met with the board to review the County Road budget. Miller stated last year the board stated they were giving 3% salary increases across the board and then a select few received more than that. Miller added that anyone over 100% of market wage should have their salary frozen and then work from the bottom up. In other budget line items, the following adjustments were made: Parts, Labor and Twoing decreased from $80,000 to $75,000; Office Supplies was decreased from $2,500 to $2,200; Shop Supplies was decreased from $40,000 to $35,000; Building Maintenance was decreased from $20,000 to $15,000 to replace two shop doors; Gas, Oil & Fuel decreased from $190,000 to $175,000; Purchase of Equipment was allocated for a tandum truck, lease payment for the John Deere motor grader, lease tractors from NDACo, and possibly one walk/roll packer; Graveling and Crushing was decreased from $150,000 to $130,000.
The board recessed at 1:39 PM.
The board reconvened at 1:58 PM.
Next the board reviewed the State’s Attorney’s budget with State’s Attorney Binder. Binder updated the board on the county’s case file statistics estimating 300 cases per year and stated she has made 366 court appearances to date. Binder added her travel is a result of the judge’s calendars and she can’t always get an ITV courtroom. Salaries requested are 3%, otherwise there are no major purchases or changes from the budget last year. Binder stated she works closely with McLean and Dunn counties to cover each other on nights and weekends as needed.
The board met with the Weed Board member Richard Scheid and Weed Officer Brad Seifert to review the Weed Board’s budget. The chemical budget line was increased from $160,000 to $190,000. Seifert stated the leftover chemicals are stored at Cenex for the following year. Dwight Berger questioned Seifert why the Weed Board does not invest in bugs to take care of the leafy spurge problem. Scheid stated the county had a lot of bugs at one time, but the site crashed down. There are bugs in the county, but just not the numbers the county needs for leafy spurge. Seifert stated it would be easiest if another county already had them and Mercer County could just go and buy them.
The board recessed at 2:34 PM.
The board reconvened at 2:40 PM.
Craig Askim and Dena Kemmet reviewed the County Agent budget with the board, stating the budget was completed very conservatively. Askim and Kemmet explained the need for their travel budget to receive the education they need to educate the residents of Mercer County. Askim added the office supply line is used for printers, computers, and hardware.
The board reviewed the 911 and Emergency Management budgets with Carmen Reed, 911/Emergency Manager. In the 911 budget, the telephone line was decreased from $1,500 to $1,000. In the Emergency Management budget, travel and per diem was decreased from $2,500 to $2,000 and the telephone line was decreased from $1,500 to $1,000. Reed told the board these budgets include Oliver County and they reimburse Mercer County roughly 30%.
There being no further business, on motion duly made and second, the meeting was adjourned at 3:18 PM CDT. The next regular meeting of the commission will be September 7, 2016 at 9:00 AM CT in the courtroom of the Mercer County Courthouse, Stanton, North Dakota.
Mercer County Commission
September 7, 2016
The meeting was called to order at 9:00 AM CT by Chairman Tveit, also present was Commissioner Scheurer, Commissioner Entze, Commissioner Gunsch, Commissioner Murray, State’s Attorney Binder, and Auditor Brost.
Motion made by Commissioner Gunsch, second by Commissioner Scheurer to approve the agenda with additions. All members voted “Aye”, motion carried.
Motion made by Commissioner Murray, second by Commissioner Entze to approve the minutes of the August 17th regular meeting. All members voted “Aye”, motion carried.
Motion made by Commissioner Gunsch, second by Commissioner Scheurer to approve the bills as follows, except Interstate Engineering until approved by Road Superintendent, Ken Miller: Advanced Business Methods, $85.73; Lee Allmendinger, $36.44; American Welding Supplies, $497.00; Ameripride, $70.38; Antelope Creek Trucking, $7800.00; Craig Askim, $197.20; Bergstrom Electric, $19053.00; Beulah Job Development, $606.34; BHG, $552.23; Bob Barker, $230.22; Bob’s Photo, $6.24; Braun Interfec Corp., $14023.00; Bronson’s Super Valu, $4643.69; Shana Brost, $27.00; Butler Machinery, $229.09; Cardmember Services, $980.45; Charm-Tex, $173.80; City of Beulah, $75.21; Coal Country CHC, $324.00; Coffell’s Plumbing & Heating, $81566.10; Comfort Inn, $480.00; Contegrity Group, $32467.64; Corner Express, $49.05; D & E Supply, $336.69; Dakota Staffing Solutions, $4908.68; Dell Marketing, $238.00; Donald Mutzenberger, $496.25; Downtown Gas & Auto, $413.72; Eide Ford Co., $531.11; Wayne Entze, $201.96; Eide Ford Company, $531.11; Wayne Entze, $201.96; FUO Beulah, $128.43; FUO Hazen, $17.99; Filter Care, $9.75; Force America, $35.35; Galls Inc., $468.98; Hazen Hardware Hank, $12.49; Heartland Engineering, $4043.98; Hewlett-Packard, $1486.68; Hiway Express, $31.50; Interstate Engineering, $33139.24; Intoximeters, $109.00; J & L Automotive, $1000.09; J & M Hardware, $323.75; J-S Sanitation, $284.00; Jensen Jewelry, $15.00; K & D Services, $630.00; Dena Kemmet, $223.96; Klein McCarthy Architects, $10982.33; Krause Super Valu, $58.43; Gontran Langowski, $112.01; Lexis Nexis, $353.61; Lignite Tire, $708.50; Mac’s, $26.71; Mercer County Shop, $134.37; Midwest Doors, $8915.00; MDU, $57.16; Moritz Sport & Marine, $38.99; NACE, $200.00; Napa, $662.80; NDACO, $1429.85; NDSU, $30.00; NDSU, $45.00; Neuberger Oil, $19082.67; NW Tire, $212.10; OK Automotive, $209.74; Postmaster, $1168.00; Premier Enterprizes, $99.95; Puklich Chevrolet, $41.98; RDO Equipment, $22.08; Red Wing Shoe Store, $216.73; Carmen Reed, $170.11; Rockmount Research, $1068.17; Roughrider Electric, $175.00; Sailer Septic, $125.00; SD LTAP, $200.00; SBM, $174.17; SW Water, $43.66; Staples Credit Plan, $1151.97; Straightway Construction, $250115.59; Terrance Ternes, $153.48; The Hub, $93.60; The Tradesmen Construction, $26438.06; Trans Trash, $300.00; Twin City Hardware, $551.69; Uline, $931.21; Utlramax Ammunition, $906.00; Uniform Center, $87.98; Vaxserve, $126.93; Venture Marketing, $29.95; Verizon Wireless, $1628.44; Wagon Wheel Lumber, $309.34. All members voted “Aye”, motion carried.
The board discussed the appointment of Tax Director, Colette Schilling. Commissioner Scheurer stated he was involved in Schilling’s evaluation process and things are going well. Motion made by Commissioner Scheurer, second by Commissioner Gunsch to appoint Colette Schilling as the Mercer County Tax Director, with a wage of $24.76 per hour until January 2017. On roll call vote; Scheurer, “Aye”, Gunsch, “Aye”, Murray, “Aye”, Entze, “Aye”, Tveit, “Aye”, motion carried.
The board reviewed the NDSU Extension Highlights. No further action was taken.
Motion made by Commissioner Entze, second by Commissioner Scheurer to approve the July Recorder’s Fees in the amount of $6,095.00. All members voted “Aye”, motion carried.
Motion made by Commissioner Murray, second by Commissioner Entze to approve the July Sheriff’s Fees in the amount of $19,168.99. All members voted “Aye”, motion carried.
The board discussed county burials. Chairman Tveit stated he received a request from Barbot Funeral Homes to increase the fees from $2,200 to $2,500 for a cremation and $4,500 for a burial. Commissioner Entze stated if Mercer County sets their rate at $4,500, it will be the highest fee in North Dakota. Entze added if the county could negotiate less, it would be something to think about. Motion made by Commissioner Entze, second by Commissioner Scheurer to table the discussion until the mid-month meeting. Commissioner Scheurer stated everyone should get a copy of the spreadsheet from Steve Reiser with the rates across the state. Auditor Brost stated she would contact Reiser and distribute the spreadsheet to the board before the next meeting. All members voted “Aye”, motion carried.
Motion made by Commissioner Murray, second by Commissioner Gunsch to approve Liquor License 406 for Semi-Annual Off Sale Beer/Liquor and License 407 for Semi-Annual Sunday Opening issued to Hook, Line, and Sinker. All members voted “Aye”, motion carried.
Chairman Tveit indicated that the next item on the agenda is “Executive Session-Pursuant to 44-04-19.1(5) and 44-04019.2 NDCC-Attorney Consultation Re: Reasonably Predictable Civil Litigation—Attorney consult in regards to Pending Department of Labor claims.” This item must be discussed in executive session. The legal authority for closing this portion of the meeting is NDCC Section 44-04-19.1(5). The topic or purpose of this executive session is for attorney consultation re: Reasonably Predictable Civil Litigation.” At this time, a motion would be in order to discuss the next topic in executive session rather than in an open meeting. Is there such a motion? Motion made by Commissioner Gunsch, seconded by Commissioner Scheurer to enter into executive session. There was no discussion on the motion. On roll call vote; Gunsch, “Aye”, Scheurer, “Aye”, Entze, “Aye”, Murray, “Aye”, Tveit, “Aye”, motion carried. The executive session will be recorded and all members of the governing body are reminded to limit their discussion during the executive session to the announced topic. Any collective decision, collective commitment, or other final action by the governing body must occur after it reconvenes in an open meeting, unless final action is specifically required by law to be taken during executive session. The prohibition on taking final action during the executive session does not apply to providing guidance or instruction to our attorney. We will now ask the members of the public who are attending the meeting to leave the room. We will be adjourning the executive session and reconvening the open portion of the meeting as soon as possible. The minutes will show that the executive session began at 9:15 AM CT and was attended by Chairman Tveit, Commissioner Scheurer, Commissioner Murray, Commissioner Entze, Commissioner Gunsch, State’s Attorney Binder, and Auditor Brost. The minutes will show that the executive session was adjourned at 9:19 AM CT. The public has been invited to return to the meeting room and we are now back in open session.
The board gave their portfolio updates. Commissioner Murray did not have much to report on. He stated he would check with the Fair Board to borrow their big fans for the heating the shell on the courthouse. Commissioner Gunsch stated the Water Board meeting was moved to September 15th and didn’t have anything else to report. Commissioner Entze reported the weed board is still cost sharing. Commissioner Scheurer stated the capping of the cells at the Landfill is going well. Scheurer also reported the Ambulance Board is looking at adding onto their building in Hazen because there is no privacy for the personnel who sleeps there. Chairman Tveit reported he attended Pre-Construction meetings for both County 5 and County 37, with both projects being completed this fall. Tveit reported the County 27 milling and overlay is complete, but still has some high/low spots.
Tax Director Schilling presented the board six (6) temporary use permits. Temporary Use Permit #481 issued to Martin Construction for a borrow pit for ND HWY 49 project located in the W ½ SW ¼ Section 1 T143N R88W. Temporary Use Permit #482 issued to Martin Construction for a borrow pit for ND HWY 49 project located in the SE corner of NE ¼ Section 23 T143N R88W. Temporary Use Permit #483 issued to Martin Construction for a borrow pit for ND HWY 49 project located in the NE ¼ Section 2 T142N R88W. Temporary Use Permit #484 issued to Martin Construction for a borrow pit for ND HWY 49 project located in the SE ¼ Section 12 T142N R88W. Temporary Use Permit #485 issued to Martin Construction for a borrow pit for ND HWY 49 project located in the NE ¼ Section 35 T141N R88W. Temporary Use Permit #486 issued to Martin Construction for a borrow pit for ND HWY 49 project located in the SW ¼ Section 24 T142N R88W. Work for all permits is limited to daylight hours. The areas disturbed under the temporary use permits must be reclaimed by the applicant and must be approved and released by the County Road Superintendent. The haul road must be approved and released by the County Road Superintendent. The permit holder shall control weeds in an acceptable manner during the time these permits are in effect. Motion made by Commissioner Gunsch, second by Commissioner Murray to approve Temporary Use Permits #481 through #486. Commissioner Gunsch questioned why these permits weren’t acquired before the work started. State’s Attorney Binder stated Schilling has done a bang up job getting permits around the county and word will get out that she is catching it. On roll call vote; Gunsch, “Aye”, Murray, “Aye”, Entze, “Aye”, Scheurer, “Aye”, Tveit, “Aye”, motion carried.
The board recessed at 9:38 AM.
The board reconvened at 10:00 AM.
Next on the agenda is road issues. Road Superintendent Miller presented three Utility Occupancy Application and Permits all from West River Telephone to install the new fiber optic facility. Permit #1670 is located in Section 9 T144N R86W. Permit #1671 is located in Sections 12 & 13 T142N R88W. Permit #1672 is located in various sections in townships 145 & 146 north, and ranges 84, 85, and 86 west. Motion made by Commissioner Entze, second by Commissioner Scheurer to approve Utility Occupancy Application and Permits #1670-1672. All members voted “Aye”, motion carried.
Commissioner Scheurer discussed a letter addressed to ranchers in regards to cattle guards. Scheurer asked Miller if this letter was standard or what caused the letter. Miller stated they have always taken care of the cattle guards throughout the county but according to NDCC the county is not responsible for them. Miller stated he understands they are a benefit to the rancher, but they are not the county’s responsibility; however, if they wreck one, they will fix it. Commissioner Scheurer stated he knows it was discussed a couple of years ago to follow the NDCC, but maybe a little public relations with the ranchers would be helpful. Scheurer noted there are no cattle guards signs up. Miller stated the NDCC stated landowners should pay for the signs. Scheurer stated the county needs to make sure the signs are put up 300 feet in each direction and the NDCC doesn’t say who should pay for the signs. State’s Attorney Binder stated signage is typically the county’s responsibility to ensure safety of the crossing. Miller stated they would put up the signs. No further action was taken.
Motion made by Commissioner Gunsch, second by Commissioner Murray to approve the County Federal Aid Program request. All members voted “Aye”, motion carried.
Motion made by Commissioner Scheurer, second by Commissioner Entze to approve the Final Certificate of Local Match on project HEC-HRR-9999(304). Commissioner Entze asked if the project was done and Miller stated he would check with the NDDOT. All members voted “Aye”, motion carried.
Miller spoke with the board about two (2) open positions at the County Road that he would like to fill by springtime, one for Class B Truck Driver and one Utility position. Commissioner Gunsch stated he appreciated the communication. No further action was taken.
Commissioner Scheurer stated Ron Isaak had contacted him about the crossing going into the Link place. Isaak stated he would be willing to pay $1,000 towards the repair because he is setting up a mobile home on the farmstead. Chairman Tveit asked Auditor Brost to look into the conversation the board had with Isaak last year and bring it to the next meeting. No further action was taken.
Miller stated last week he met with DGC about County 26 and the Urea Project in reference to traffic entering and exiting the highway. Miller stated the Sheriff suggested traffic lights but they are going to adjust work schedules in hope of alleviating the congestion. No passing lanes were also suggested by plant management, the Sheriff, and the County Engineer. No further action was taken.
Jim Albers, Maintenance Engineer, reviewed the Building and Grounds, Risk Management, and Janitor budgets with the board. In the Buildings and Grounds budget the Building Maintenance line was decreased from $150,000 to $100,000 and the Maintenance Assistant line item was moved into the Sheriff’s budget. In the Janitor budget, Albers requested his two (2) temporary employees be hired on full time with the county. This would save the county dollars and the county was only in contract with Dakota Staffing for three (3) months. Motion made by Commissioner Gunsch, second by Commissioner Entze to hire two full time employees rather than go through Dakota Staffing. Albers is to advertise these two (2) positions and Nikki and Mike are eligible to apply. All members voted “Aye”, motion carried. Vehicle use line item was decreased from $25.00 to $0.00.
The board recessed at 10:58 AM.
The board reconvened at 12:00 PM.
Deb Sletmoen, Implementation Specialists, reviewed the Software budget with the board, Auditor Brost, and Treasurer Berger. Sletmoen stated daily reconciling needs to be done on all systems and at the close of each day the books should be balanced. She added that to be ready for the next audit, everything needs to be inputted into the system every day. Currently the Auditor’s office is posting morning deposits and reconciling the evening balance sheet. Sletmoen addressed the electronic fund transfers of payroll taxes, health insurance, and game and fish monies. She stated they should be put in the checkbook the day they become a liability to the county. Chairman Tveit stated he agreed with this because as soon as the payroll checks are written, the payments become a liability to the county regardless of the day they process in the bank; therefore, they needed to be recorded on the day the money is spent. Sletmoen reported the downloading of information from the AS400 was currently coming into Great Plains software at midnight, but she and her team would make a change to have the information come over as soon as the Treasurer’s office balances in the evening. All parties agreed to work together to get the program running seamlessly.
The board reviewed the Auditor’s budget and miscellaneous budgets with Auditor Brost. Commissioner Entze and Commissioner Gunsch increased the travel line item by $500 in their budgets to accommodate the extra construction management meetings they attend. The board questioned if the employee Christmas gifts were necessary, and stated a consumable gift might be better than the mugs or trinkets in the past.
Chairman Tveit stated the board needed to have a special meeting before the next regular meeting to discuss salaries and tie up any loose ends in the budget. The special meeting was set for September 19th at 9 AM.
There being no further business, on motion duly made and second, the meeting was adjourned at 1:42 PM CST. The next special meeting of the commissioner will be September 19, 2016 at 9:00 AM CT in the courtroom of the Mercer County Courthouse. The next regular meeting of the commission will be September 21, 2016 at 9:00 AM CT in the courtroom of the Mercer County Courthouse, Stanton, North Dakota.
Approved: William L. Tveit, Chairman
Attest: Shana L. Brost, Auditor