Most recently approved County Commission Minutes

 

Mercer County Commission
Minutes
May 21, 2014

 

The meeting was called to order at 9:00 AM CT by Chairman Murray, also present was Commissioner Entze, Commissioner Scheurer, Commissioner Bitterman, Commissioner Tveit, State’s Attorney Binder, and Auditor Brost.  Present in the audience was Jim Albers, Sheriff Danzeisen, Casey Voigt, Greg Lange, Wes Gunsch, Janet Connelly, Carmen Reed, Wayne Hoffner, Wayne Eisenbeis, Darwin Knutson, Mark Haugen, Troy Leingang, Ken Link, Shannon McKay, Candy Strand, Mike Fondie, Colin Peterson, and Erica Borlaug.

Motion made by Commissioner Entze, seconded by Commissioner Tveit to approve the agenda with additions. On roll call vote; Entze, “Aye”, Tveit, “Aye”, Scheurer, “Aye”, Bitterman, “Aye”, Murray, “Aye”, motion carried.

Motion made by Commissioner Tveit, second by Commissioner Scheurer to approve the minutes of the May 7th commission meeting and May 13th special meeting.  On roll call vote; Tveit, “Aye”, Scheurer, “Aye”, Bitterman, “Aye”, Entze, “Aye”, Murray, “Aye”, motion carried.

Motion made by Commissioner Scheurer, seconded by Commissioner Bitterman to approve the payments of bills as follows: Advanced Business Methods, $132.70; Craig Askim, $210.56; Beulah Lumber Co., $25.77; BHG, Inc., $14.85; Jessica Binder, $148.96; Jamie Bradley, $86.70; Bronson’s Supervalu, $88.75; Brownells, Inc., $24.03; Consumer Reports Subscription Dept., $26.00; Corner Express of Center L.L.C., $52.00; Custer Health District, $8,949.99; D & E Supply Co. Inc., $200.23; Dell Marketing L.P., $2,149.20; Direct Med, $178.98; DS Solutions Inc., $260.00; Eide Ford Company, $28,305.08; Election Systems & Software Inc., $192.30; Electronic Communications Inc., $184.00; Gary Emter, $25.00; Wayne Entze, $295.68; Farmers Union Oil Co., $36.78; Fastenal Company, $203.67; Wright Express FSC, $2,558.59; Graphics Lettering & Trim, $480.00; Hazen Drug, $19.17; Hazen Star, $33.00; Hewlett-Packard Company, $1,318.00; Holiday Inn Fargo, $298.80; Information Technology Department, $533.15; J & M Hardware, Inc., $38.34; Johnson Controls, $1,620.06; Jonathan Publishing, $110.00; Free Karges, $518.28; Dena Kemmet, $658.99; Frances Kessler, $135.48; Wanda Knutson, $333.30; Gontran Langowski, $165.20; Language Line Services, $90.00; Light and Siren, $183.61; Lyle Signs Inc., $183.49; Matthew Bender & Company Inc., $306.14; Menards, $1,027.41; Mercer County Shop, $1,993.23; Midcontinent Communications, $62.08; Mini Computer Services, LTD, $807.50; Vickie Brodkorb, $383.40; Motion Industries Inc., $89.50; Gary Murray, $268.24; NDACO Resource Group, $4,021.20; ND Attorney General, $745.00; ND Secretary of State, $36.00; Neuberger Oil Company, $403.26; Pahlke Steel, $72.96; PharmChem, Inc., $21.00; Pitney Bowes, $626.70; Riverbend Machinery ND Inc., $275.00; Sakakawea Medical Center, $75.00; Duane Scheurer, $236.32; Lana Schneider, $80.64; Seatol, $350.00; Stroup Insurance & Realty, $50.00; Subway, $15.00; Team Laboratory Chemical Corp., $677.50; Underground Vaults & Storage Inc., $315.00; Verizon Wireless, $598.34; Thomson Reuters, $256.99; West River Telecommunications, $999.84; Western Detention, $909.48; Western Steel Builders Inc., $97.60; Amanda Wolf, $19.00; Workforce Safety & Insurance, $250.00; Zee Medical Service, $59.30; BG Fire, $4,875.00; Midcontinent Communications, $115.85; Southwest Business Machines Inc., $652.86.   Upon roll call vote; Scheurer, “Aye”, Bitterman, “Aye”, Entze, “Aye”, Tveit, “Aye”, Murray, “Aye”, motion carried.

The NDSU Extension Highlights were reviewed. No further action was taken.

Motion made by Commissioner Bitterman, second by Commissioner Tveit to appoint Lee Coleman to the McLean Mercer Regional Library Board with term ending June 30, 2016.  On roll call vote; Bitterman, “Aye”, Tveit, “Aye”, Scheurer, “Aye”, Entze, “Aye”, Murray, “Aye”, motion carried.

Motion made by Commissioner Scheurer, second by Commissioner Bitterman to approve April Recorder’s Fees in the amount of $6,235.80. On roll call vote; Scheurer, “Aye”, Bitterman, “Aye”, Tveit, “Aye”, Entze, “Aye”, Murray, “Aye”, motion carried.

Motion made by Commissioner Scheurer, second by Commissioner Entze to approve the Addendum to Contract for continuation of the Employee Assistance Program with St. Alexius.  On roll call vote; Scheurer, “Aye”, Entze, “Aye”, Tveit, “Aye”, Bitterman, “Aye”, Murray, “Aye”, motion carried.

Motion made by Commissioner Tveit, second by Commissioner Scheurer to appoint all expired members listed to fill the unexpired terms: Mercer County Housing Authority—term July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2018—Judy Lang; Water Resource Board—term January 1, 2014 to December 31, 2016—Casey Voigt, Ruth Julson, and Edward Grunett; Weed Board—term August 1, 2013 to July 31, 2016—Richard Scheid and Don Reichenberg; Mercer County Reorganization Committee—term July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2016—Linda Weigum.  On roll call vote; Tveit, “Aye”, Scheurer, “Aye”, Entze, “Aye”, Bitterman, “Aye”, Murray, “Aye”, motion carried.

The board reviewed the list of board terms set to expire on June 30, 2014.  Commissioner Tveit stated that he would like another commissioner to sit on the policy committee because he is now on the Social Services board.  Auditor Brost will send out letters to current board members to see if they would like to serve another term, and asked the board to bring back recommendations of others who may be willing to fill the vacancies.  No further action was taken.

Motion made by Commissioner Bitterman, second by Commissioner Scheurer to approve the inspectors/clerks for the 2014 Primary Election.  On roll call vote; Bitterman, “Aye”, Scheurer, “Aye”, Tveit, “Aye”, Entze, “Aye”, Murray, “Aye”, motion carried.

Sheriff Danzeisen and Maintenance Engineer, Jim Albers, discussed with the board the enclosure of the rec yard.  Danzeisen explained there has been a problem for years of people throwing contraband over the fence by coming up through the trees in the park.  Danzeisen stated they have looked at a few different options such as cutting the trees back further, installing night vision cameras, and putting up a chain link fence.  He had looked into having Klein McCarthy enclosing it, but that came with a price tag of $300,000.  Danzeisen stated that Albers had put out a notice for the enclosure project that consisted of steel gutters, mesh screen, and a roof on top with lighting; they just needed to get approval from the state.  Commissioner Bitterman asked how much money the enclosure would cost.  Sheriff Danzeisen stated the estimate was for $78,200.  He added in his budget was $75,000 to expand the dispatch area, but since that would be part of the courthouse/jail expansion he would use the $75,000 towards the enclosure and Albers has $25,000 for building improvements in his budget.  Danzeisen stated they have been dealing with this issue for quite some time and feels this would be the most cost effective approach since fences still wouldn’t eliminate the problem.  Commissioner Tveit asked if this was in the budget or if he would be moving money around.  Sheriff Danzeisen stated that they could let Klein McCarthy do the project when they renovate, but didn’t feel the county needed to spend $300,000 when they could get it done for $78,200.  Albers stated that he had in the budget $10,000 for new garage doors and only spent $6,600, so the remaining could go towards the enclosure.  Chairman Murray asked if they planned on doing the enclosure now and wondered if they were looking for the board to act on it today.  Albers stated that Colin Peterson did check with the state and the project was approved.  Commissioner Bitterman asked if money would have to be put in the budget next year for this.  Danzeisen stated no, they have the funding already in the budget.  Motion made by Commissioner Bitterman, second by Commissioner Entze to approve the estimate from Mad Skills Contracting in the amount of $78,200.  On roll call vote; Bitterman, “Aye”, Entze, “Aye”, Scheurer, “Aye”, Tveit, “Aye”, Murray, “Aye”, motion carried.

Gary Emter, Land Use Administrator, presented the board with three Planning & Zoning cases.  Zoning case #14-05-01 was a preliminary plat of 32 lots from Wayne and Shawn Hoffner to develop Harmony Estates subdivision in the SE ¼ Section 6 T144N R86W.  Emter stated the preliminary plat was approved by Planning & Zoning, and if the final plat is approved at the next meeting, it will come before this board.  No further action was taken.

Motion made Commissioner Bitterman, second by Commissioner Scheurer to approve zoning case #14-05-03, a conditional use permit issued to Jason Lagge for a non-farm residence, a 20.04 acre tract within the SE ¼ of Section 14 T145N R86W; subject to septic system approval by the County Sanitarian, responsible for snow removal and maintenance of private roads and approaches, and owner to provide a school bus turnaround if needed.  On roll call vote; Bitterman, “Aye”, Scheurer, “Aye”, Tveit, “Aye”, Entze, “Aye”, Murray, “Aye”, motion carried.

Motion made by Commissioner Scheurer, second by Commissioner Tveit to approve zoning case #14-05-04, a conditional use permit issued to Municipal Communications to install a wireless communications tower and related facilities on leased site within SW ¼ SW ¼ Section 28 T142N R88W; construction is to take place during day light hours.  On roll call vote; Scheurer, “Aye”, Tveit, “Aye”, Entze, “Aye”, Bitterman, “Aye”, Murray, “Aye”, motion carried.

Greg Lange and Casey Voigt, Water Resource Board, discussed LIDAR with the board.  Lange stated it was a high accuracy type survey that will be done in the county to map out elevations.  Lange stated that they have been working with the Corp of Engineers since the 2009 flood and recently were approved for a 50% cost share with the state.  This is a $234,000 project and is asking for the county to pay for one-fourth of the 50% cost share.  Lange added that he has been talking with the cities and private industries to round up support and has gotten $22,500 from private industry, $29,250 from the cities of Zap, Hazen, and Beulah, and the Water Board would also contribute $29,250.  That leaves $29,250, and Lange wondered if the county would be able to contribute that.  Commissioner Tveit stated the board could give the commitment today, but wondered when the Water Board would need the funds.  Lange replied as early as the end of June because the Corp needs the money up front.  Lange added if it was an issue of the timing of the payment, the Water Board could cover the county’s share and could get the money back from the county after January 1st, the new budget year.  Commissioner Tveit asked since they were getting the $29,250 from the county, were they getting more money from Carmen Reed, Emergency Manager.  Lange stated no, and it is no question this is a good deal.  The counties to the east and north were having a hard time coming up with the cost share and that is why Mercer County was bumped up.  The cost share after July 1st went down to 35%.  Commissioner Bitterman asked where the county would come up with the funds.  Commissioner Entze stated that they could have the Water Board cover their cost and pay them back January 1st.  Lange apologized to the board for the short notice, but felt it was important to push it through last minute.  Motion made by Commissioner Bitterman, second by Commissioner Tveit to commit $29,250 to the Water Resource Board on January 1, 2015.  Commissioner Bitterman stated the water board may need more due to setting ground points.  Motion amended by Commissioner Bitterman, second by Commissioner Tveit to commit $29,250, not to exceed $35,000, to the Water Resource Board on January 1, 2015.  On roll call vote; Bitterman, “Aye”, Tveit, “Aye”, Scheurer, “Aye”, Entze, “Aye”, Murray, “Aye”, motion carried.

Elroy Opp, Assistant Road Superintendent, spoke with the board about awarding the structure replacement of bridges B13-00-133 and B09-00-062.  Commissioner Tveit stated that Steve Mamer, Interstate Engineering, had checked into 24/7 Contracting’s worthiness and experience as being a contractor and feels confident with the company.  Motion made by Commissioner Tveit, second by Commissioner Scheurer to award 24/7 Contracting for the structure replacement in the amount of $334,265.40.  On roll call vote; Tveit, “Aye”, Scheurer, “Aye”, Entze, “Aye”, Bitterman, “Aye”, Murray, “Aye”, motion carried.

The board reviewed the bid from Industrial Builders for structure replacement B09-00-062, and in a note Mamer stated the change order should save approximately $100,000.  Motion made by Commissioner Tveit, second by Commissioner Bitterman to table the award of structure B09-00-062 until the end of the meeting, after they speak with Mamer and clarify the change order.  On roll call vote; Tveit, “Aye”, Bitterman, “Aye”, Scheurer, “Aye”, Entze, “Aye”, Murray, “Aye”, motion carried.

Motion made by Commissioner Entze, second by Commissioner Scheurer to approve Utility Occupancy Application and Permit #1387 to West River Telecommunications Cooperative to plow cable in county right-of-way in Section 31 T144N R87W.  On roll call vote; Entze, “Aye”, Scheurer, “Aye”, Tveit, “Aye”, Bitterman, “Aye”, Murray, “Aye”, motion carried.

Opp and Commissioner Tveit explained to the board permits #1380-1386 and #1388-1479 for Bartlett and West were scratched off the agenda because Bartlett and West were required to put markers every place a waterline goes through county right-of-way.  Commissioner Tveit stated they were asked to do it two years ago, and until they place the markers there would be no more permits issued.  State’s Attorney Binder stated Bartlett and West should be contacted to ensure they comply with the previous permits.  Motion made by Commissioner Entze, second by Commissioner Bitterman to direct the State’s Attorney and Highway Department to advise Bartlett and West that until they are in compliance with previous permits, the board will not consider any new permits—to include permits #1380-1386 and #1388-1479.  On roll call vote; Entze, “Aye”, Bitterman, “Aye”, Scheurer, “Aye”, Tveit, “Aye”, Murray, “Aye”, motion carried.

The board reviewed the outstanding road accounts.  Opp stated that Northern Improvement was nearing the six month time frame, and they were working on getting the funds collected.  Opp added that they have not been able to make contact with Shannon Weigum, who has been outstanding for six months.  No further action was taken.

Opp asked the board about dust control on County 25.  State’s Attorney Binder stated that it was in the haul road maintenance agreement.  Commissioner Entze asked what was going to be used.  Casey Voigt wondered who to call when the dust is getting bad.  State’s Attorney Binder directed him to the Highway Department.  Voigt added it needed it from 17th Street to the west.

Motion made by Commissioner Tveit, second by Commissioner Entze to sign the application to authorize Interstate Engineering, Inc. as the agent to work with the Corp of Engineers for the 404 permit on County 25.  On roll call vote; Tveit, “Aye”, Entze, “Aye”, Scheurer, “Aye”, Bitterman, “Aye”, Murray, “Aye”, motion carried.

The board recessed at 10:23 AM.

The board reconvened at 10:40 AM.

Darwin Knutson addressed the board about petitioning to close the section line between Sections 30 & 19 Sections 20 & 19 T145N R88W, but couldn’t get a hold of his neighbors—so he would like to table it.  Knutson advised everyone at the meeting to vote no on the courthouse/jail expansion.  State’s Attorney Binder stated that topic was not on the agenda, and he must stick to the agenda.  Knutson moved on to road department issues, and wondered if the county had implemented a new Mercer County Homestead Act that allows the county to give 40 acres of county-owned land to its employees.  Knutson wondered what was going on at the Highway Department, and why they would let employees graze cattle on county-owned land free of charge.  He asked Commissioner Scheurer where he was going with the proposal from the last meeting.  Commissioner Scheurer stated that the proposal was not approved.  Knutson stated it is the concept of taking money out of his tax dollars to let someone graze their cattle, and it is disrespectful to the taxpayers.  Knutson made obscene comments directed toward the Highway Department and State’s Attorney Binder called for a point of order.  Chairman Murray told Knutson he was on the agenda for a section line, and he needed to stick to the topic.  Knutson stated he tabled that topic because his neighbors need time and stated he is also on the agenda for road department issues.  Knutson stated he witnessed a grader operator on his cell phone outside of Knutson’s residence describing all of his personal possessions in his garage.  He feels that since he last visited with the commission, he has been harassed and intimidated.  Knutson requested the phone records of the county cell phones and stated he would like to talk about the harassment of him and his wife, but not with this board.  No further action was taken.

Auditor Brost stated she spoke to Mamer during the recess and he stated a change order cannot be issued until the project was awarded.  The change order would be based on changing the structure replacement from a con span to a double 10x8 box culvert.  State’s Attorney Binder stated there is no contract drawn up; this is just to decide who they want to award the project to, so when they draft the contract the change order will be included.  Motion made by Commissioner Tveit, second by Commissioner Bitterman to award Industrial Builders structure replacement B09-00-062 based on changing the structure to a double 10x8 box culvert.  On roll call vote; Tveit, “Aye”, Bitterman, “Aye”, Scheurer, “Aye”, Entze, “Aye”, Murray, “Aye”, motion carried.

The board recessed at 10:50 AM.

The board reconvened at 11:00 AM.

Motion made by Commissioner Entze, second by Commissioner Scheurer to close the meeting and open the public hearing to close section line between Sections 11 & 12 T145N R88W.  On roll call vote; Entze, “Aye”, Scheurer, “Aye”, Tveit, “Aye”, Bitterman, “Aye”, Murray, “Aye”, motion carried.

Mark Haugen, Coteau Properties, stated the need to close the section line is to mine west of County 15 in mine area 3.  Basin Electric extended its life to 2045 and because of that Coteau needed to revise their mine plan and that brought up mine area 3 sooner than expected.  Haugen stated they will need to move the dragline over to area 3 in 2018, in 2017 the box pits will open, in 2016 they will begin stripping topsoil, and in 2015 they will begin to build the water management ponds.  To be able to build a haul road to the crushing plants at grade, Coteau is proposing to close the one mile stretch of County 15.  Haugen stated that according to the mining timeframe the one mile stretch will be closed the fall of 2015, mined until 2033, and reclaimed for a few years after that—approximately year 2040 before County 15 reopens.  Haugen feels there is good access through the area for traffic.  Commissioner Tveit stated he understands the necessity of closing it to haul coal across the road, but wondered what the necessity was during the reclamation process.  Haugen stated there will still be activity across County 15 during the reclamation process.  Commissioner Tveit questioned the use of big mining equipment during the reclamation process.  Haugen stated Coteau could possibly look at reopening the road in 2035.  Commissioner Tveit stated there are people concerned about the road never opening again.  Commissioner Bitterman asked if the three mile stretch was going to be paved and what about the residents that live along there.  Haugen stated it would be gravel and Coteau has visited with the Road Superintendent, Assistant Road Superintendent, County Engineer, Emergency Services, Sheriff, Beulah Public Schools, Beulah Postal Service, AVS, TSM, DGC, and local landowners and residents to inform them of the upcoming road closure on April 1, 2016 and the alternate road will be open prior to closing County 15.  Wayne Eisenbeis asked if the one mile stretch will be completely gone because cutting off the one mile stretch now makes it a 10 mile drive to his farmstead.  Eisenbeis wondered why Coteau could not pave the three mile alternate road because he has a feeling the county will forget about it in the winter.  Haugen stated that although the alternate route would be gravel, the road will be upgraded in 2015 to county standards; the amount of traffic didn’t warrant for pavement.  Commissioner Tveit stated there are now three exits in case of a catastrophe, and wondered what the plans were when they would be down to one exit.  Haugen stated they visited with DGC and it wasn’t an issue for them, if there was an emergency it would take one phone call and Coteau would stop their equipment.  Wes Gunsch asked what other options they had if the section line couldn’t be closed.  Haugen stated they would be back to the drawing board as they are to provide coal to Basin Electric in the most cost effective way.  Eisenbeis stated this affects both him and his neighbor, Darwin Schlender, and wondered who would flip the bill to build a bridge instead.  Haugen stated they haven’t looked at that approach and were hoping this would be the most economical approach.  Eisenbeis stated the mine doesn’t care about the people of the county, just in getting what they want.  Commissioner Tveit stated he understood what Eisenbeis was saying, Coteau was going for the cheapest solution and once people are used to driving pavement it may be hard for them to give it up; what is in the best interest of Coteau, may not always be in the best interest of everyone else.  Chairman Murray asked if there were any more questions.  Motion made by Commissioner Scheurer, second by Commissioner Tveit to close the public hearing.  On roll call vote; Scheurer, “Aye”, Tveit, “Aye”, Entze, “Aye”, Bitterman, “Aye”, Murray, “Aye”, motion carried.

Motion made by Commissioner Scheurer, second by Commissioner Bitterman to approve the request of the petition to close the section line between Sections 11 & 12 T145N R88W.  On roll call vote; Scheurer, “Aye”, Bitterman, “Aye”, Entze, “Aye”, Tveit, “Nay”, Murray, “Aye”, motion carried.

Shannon McKay approached the board for approval of putting the Wayne Herman monument up by the highway where it previously stood.  McKay explained the wind blew it down a couple of years ago and in honor of Wayne they would like to put it back up.  He added that Shane Wolff received a lifetime easement from the governor to put it in state right-of-way.  McKay wondered if he needed to do anything to comply with county standards.  Emter stated the Beautification Act of 1968 stated no sign erected or maintained with 668 feet of the State Highways are allowed. State’s Attorney Binder stated a copy of the easement from the governor would solve this.  McKay stated he would find the easement and let State’s Attorney Binder review it.  He added they would like to get the monument up in time for Golden Valley’s centennial.  Chairman Murray thanked McKay for coming in.

The board recessed at 11:52 AM.

The board reconvened at 1:12 PM.

State’s Attorney Binder informed the board there was an appeal filed by Michael Fondie for unjust termination.  She stated the board should look at the employee, disciplinary action in pursuant to the policy handbook, and look at the termination.  It is then up to the board to uphold the termination or reinstate employment.

Fondie asked the board’s permission to have Colin Peterson be his personal representative.  The board nodded in favor.  Fondie stated he believed he was wrongfully terminated due to several issues when Ms. Strand started doing evaluations.  Fondie stated evaluations were done when she was mad and along the line he was put on probation, in which he was not aware of.  Fondie stated he started a countdown calendar in April to his retirement, also in April had asked for a copy of his personnel file, and questioned why he was on probation.  He stated Ms. Strand stated that she didn’t want to discuss it and handed Fondie a copy of his personnel file at the time of his termination on May 1, 2014.  In the file he found copies of evaluations and attached documentation he hadn’t seen prior.  Peterson reviewed Section 201: Employment Categories from the policy handbook and stated 30 days prior to termination Fondie had requested a copy of his personnel file and never received it.  Peterson stated there was a statement made by Strand that she had talked to Commissioner Scheurer and he stated employees are not entitled to copies of their files.  Commissioner Scheurer stated he was asked by Strand about employee files and his advice was that employees need to know everything that is in their files.  Peterson stated Strand keeps the personnel files at home in a safe.  The board reviewed copies of Fondie’s personnel file which included evaluations and attached documentation.  Commissioner Bitterman asked Fondie if he had ever been written up before and Fondie stated he hadn’t.  Peterson stated Sections 202 and 209 were not followed because Fondie was not given copies of his evaluation nor was he advised of his probation, which is a direct violation of Section 209 of the policy manual.  Commissioner Tveit asked Fondie if he commonly signs things when it says see other pages, but has not reviewed the other pages. Commissioner Bitterman asked Fondie what the point of putting him on probation was.   Fondie stated he didn’t know.  State’s Attorney Binder asked what issues were discussed during the evaluations and Fondie stated the issue was he was taking more breaks than working and it wasn’t fair to Borlaug.  Fondie stated he was under the impression Strand was mad at him.  State’s Attorney Binder asked Fondie was his specific request in the appeal was.  Fondie replied he would like reinstatement and administrative paid leave until resolution was made by either himself or his designate.  Commissioner Scheurer stated if the issue is Fondie’s medical limitations, it needed to be talked about.  Peterson stated Fondie is contending his rights under Title VI of Civil Rights Act of 1964 were violated.  Commissioner Entze stated he is puzzled by the evaluations, how they go from good and fair to poor; although Fondie signed the poor evaluation, Entze questioned if Fondie knew what it meant.  Fondie replied he really didn’t and referred to his termination letter stating he wasn’t checking loads as instructed to and that week he inspected four loads and the state only requires them to inspect one load per month.  State’s Attorney Binder refered to the goals listed on the June 25, 2013 evaluation stating Strand wanted a safe and fair work environment for all employees, and asked Fondie if he understood what that meant.  Fondie stated that because of medical reasons Borlaug does more than he does.

Strand discussed with the board there are only three employees at the landfill and with all the work that needs to be done, everyone needs to be doing something all the time.  Strand did not feel Fondie was doing his share of the workload.  She stated this was the first time she had ever done evaluations, so as she did them she wrote up the discussion she had with her employees during the evaluations; when she was finished she reread the documentation to both Fondie and Borlaug but didn’t know that she needed to give the employees copies.  Strand stated she was directed by Commissioner Scheurer to just go through the documentation with the employees, but after the records request on April 25, 2014 Auditor Brost told her it was all public knowledge.  State’s Attorney Binder asked what the job titles of the three people were at the landfill and Strand stated they were all three Landfill Operators.  Commissioner Entze stated in Section 209 of the policy handbook, all employees shall be given copies of any evaluations done on the job.  State’s Attorney Binder stated evaluations are normally done annually or as deemed necessary and wondered what brought Strand to start doing them.  Strand stated it was part of learning her job as a supervisor, evaluations and budgets.  Commissioner Tveit asked Strand when the additional documentation attached to the evaluations was written and Strand replied while she was going over the evaluations with her employees.  Commissioner Tveit asked Strand if Fondie was aware of what needs to be done each day or if he is just expected to know what needs to be done based on length of service.  Strand stated Fondie knows what needs to be done but isn’t a self-starter, with only three employees everyone needs to keep moving.  Commissioner Bitterman asked how long a cigarette break lasts.  Strand stated it could last anywhere from five to ten minutes, five or six times an hour.  Strand noted there are no set break times, the employees eat and use the bathroom whenever the need arises.  Commissioner Entze stated it looked like a gray area to him and wondered how you take a break if there are no set times.  Commissioner Tveit stated the question at hand was to determine if Fondie was wrongfully dismissed and noted according to the November 2013 evaluation it looked like a personality conflict.  State’s Attorney Binder noted the termination letter stated for cause and asked what triggered it on May 1, 2014.  Strand stated on April 25, 2014 she told her employees to check loads and on May 1 she watched Fondie weigh the truck but not inspect it.  Strand stated she found chemicals and oil in that load, and by not checking the loads the first time it creates more work for all of them.  Strand stated if work is not being done correctly while she is at work, she knows it isn’t being doing correctly when she is gone.

The board recessed at 2:37 PM.

The board reconvened at 2:49 PM.

State’s Attorney Binder asked Borlaug how she knew what to work on.  Borlaug stated they would discuss it the night before, the morning of, or when she needed something to do she would ask Strand.  Chairman Murray asked Borlaug if she saw all the attached documentation on her evaluation and Borlaug replied that Strand wrote them while she went over the evaluations.  State’s Attorney Binder asked Borlaug if she received a copy of her evaluations and she stated she did when she asked for them.

Commissioner Tveit again asked Fondie if he had ever seen the attached documentation on his evaluations and Fondie replied he hadn’t.  Fondie stated Strand may have been writing them while going over the evaluations but he didn’t see them, not that he didn’t want to; Fondie stated he wasn’t given a copy.

State’s Attorney Binder told the board they need to determine Fondie’s employment status.  Commissioner Entze stated Fondie was a regular full-time employee with no probationary status at the time of termination.  State’s Attorney Binder next asked the board to find if it was for cause.  Commissioner Bitterman stated it was clear Strand did not know what to do.  Binder stated according to policy she should have consulted the board.  Commissioner Bitterman stated this was a learning process for Strand.  Commissioner Scheurer noted if there are any physical disabilities, and Fondie is reinstated, he worries about his health.  Binder stated physical disabilities were not the issue, the issue was Fondie not listening to his supervisor’s direction; by law, the county accommodates disabilities.  Commissioner Tveit stated under the circumstances he could not agree with the dismissal and the evaluations should be done and known about ahead of time.  Motion made by Commissioner Tveit, second by Commissioner Bitterman to reinstate Mike Fondie.  On roll call vote; Tveit, “Aye”, Bitterman, “Aye”, Scheurer, “Aye”, Entze, “Aye”, Murray, “Aye”, motion carried.

There being no further business, on motion duly made and second, the meeting was adjourned at 3:12 PM CDT. The next regular meeting of the commission will be June 4, 2014 at 9:00 AM CT in the courthouse of the Mercer County Courthouse, Stanton, North Dakota.

 

Gary Murray, Chairman

Shana L. Brost, Auditor

 

Mercer County Commission
Minutes
June 4, 2014

 

The meeting was called to order at 9:00 AM CT by Vice Chairman Scheurer, also present was Commissioner Entze, Commissioner Bitterman, Commissioner Tveit, State’s Attorney Binder, and Auditor Brost.  Member absent was Chairman Murray.

Motion made by Commissioner Entze, seconded by Commissioner Tveit to approve the agenda. On roll call vote; Entze, “Aye”, Tveit, “Aye”, Bitterman, “Aye”, Scheurer, “Aye”, motion carried.

Motion made by Commissioner Bitterman, second by Commissioner Entze to approve the minutes of the May 21st commission meeting.  On roll call vote; Bitterman, “Aye”, Entze, “Aye”, Bitterman, Scheurer, “Aye”, motion carried.

Motion made by Commissioner Tveit, seconded by Commissioner Bitterman to approve the payments of bills as follows: Beulah City Park District, $2,224.42; Beulah Fire Protection District, $99.64; Beulah School District, $11,836.74; Center Stanton School District #1, $556.13; City of Beulah, $8,280.61; City of Golden Valley, $412.96; City of Hazen, $6,999.40; City of Pick City, $299.99; City of Stanton, $753.56; City of Zap, $199.17; Golden Valley Rural Fire District, $9.23; Hazen City Park District, $1,190.90; Hazen Rural Fire District, $271.71; Hazen School District 3, $7,884.46; Hebron Public School District 13, $721.79; ND State Treasurer, $437.68; Soil Conservation District, $198.82; Southwest Water Authority, $227.75; Stanton City Park District, $123.45; Stanton Rural Fire Protection, $1.09; Underwood School District, $836.13; Zap City Park District, $45.73; Zap Rural Fire Protection, $69.53; Custer Health District, $1,023.67; Thomas D. Kaspari, MD PC, $200.00; McLean Mercer Library, $910.82; Mercer & McLean Counties, $455.43; Mercer County Ambulance Service, $910.51; Mercer County Fair Association, $232.26; Mercer County Historical Society, $44.80; Mercer County Regional Airport, $577.58; Verizon Wireless, $179.06; Water Resource District, $872.36; AED Everywhere, $97.00; American Welding & Gas Inc., $79.98; AmeriPride Services Inc., $65.16, Amsterdam Printing, $374.54; Beulah Job Development Authority, $606.34; Beulah Lumber Co., $451.00; BHG, Inc., $3,041.28; Frank Bitterman, $260.40; Blue Cross Blue Shield of ND, $42,191.48; Border States Electric Supply, $15.39; Shana Brost, $70.00; Butler Machinery Co., $102.23; CardMember Services, $2,487.58; CenturyLink, $271.54; City of Beulah, $68.88; Corner Express of Center L.L.C., $45.04; D & E Supply Co. Inc., $62.94; Direct Med, $213.05; Donald E. Mutzenberger, $508.40; DTE, Inc., $2,922.80; Alco Stores, Inc., $22.47; Force America Distributing LLC, $17.79; Grainger, $129.54; Implementation Specialists, $303.75; J & R Vacuum & Sewing Inc., $3.97; Van Johnson, $1,485.00; Klein McCarthy Architects, $7,704.84; KMSF, Inc., $500.00; Lawson Products Inc., $285.59; Mandan Repair & Radiator, $100.00; Midwest Surveillance, $49.00; Montana Dakota Utilities, $62.43; Gary Murray, $197.12; NDACo Resources Group, $7,921.20; ND Association of Counties, $118.00; ND Association of Counties, $1,440.11; NDSU Extension Services, $338.80; Neuberger Oil Company, $2,471.20; New Age Heating & Air, $630.00; Northern Safety Co. Inc., $397.86; Northwest Tire Auto Service Inc., $1,087.92; Oriental Trading Company, $32.97; Ottmar & Ottmar, P.C., $135.00; Postmaster, $112.00; Pro Forms, $110.56; Quill Office Products, $29.99; Carmen Reed, $620.53; S & M Lawn Service, $585.00; Sailer Septic Service, $90.00; Southwest Business Machines Inc., $92.97; Southwest Water Authority, $44.99; Star Business Forms, $342.35; Stutsman County Auditor, $142.50; The Garden Mill LLP, $227.20; Venture Marketing, $29.95; Verizon Wireless, $45.36; Widmer Roel PC, $100.00; Zee Medical Service, $59.30.  Upon roll call vote; Tveit, “Aye”, Bitterman, “Aye”, Entze, “Aye”, Scheurer, “Aye”, motion carried.

The next topic on the agenda was the Social Security/Medicare withholding from the Planning & Zoning Board and Weed Boards mileage checks.  Auditor Brost stated she received an email from Terry Traynor of the North Dakota Association of Counties and in the email Traynor stated mileage to and from regular meetings of appointed boards meets the IRS requirement for a taxable fringe benefit.  Brost stated the mileage to and from the meetings is considered commuting, as it would be for any employee to drive to the office to go to work each day.  Mike Connelly, Weed Board member, stated he has been on the board for 31 years and is looking for a replacement.  Connelly added that he doesn’t believe the commissioners will be able to find someone who did what he did.  Commissioner Tveit stated that the information Auditor Brost just reported was something he was aware of and agrees with what she found.  Commissioner Bitterman asked how the other 50 counties can be doing it wrong by not withholding.  Commissioner Tveit stated it wasn’t necessarily wrong, but this is the way the law is written.  Tveit thanked Connelly for his 31 years of service.

Jim Albers, Risk Manager, discussed with the board the Planning & Zoning and Weed Boards.  Albers stated they are considered county employees and are under the county’s main workman’s compensation policy.  All county employees are required to have training and sign a designated medical provider form.  Albers stated he was at the last Planning & Zoning meeting and it was a very uncomfortable situation.  He asked the board if they had any thoughts on how to get the training done and forms signed, because he wasn’t welcome at the monthly meeting.  Commissioner Scheurer stated it wasn’t on the agenda, but Albers stated it was.  Commissioner Entze stated that this is something that has been laying on the back burner and needs to get done.  Albers stated a comment was made at the meeting that the meeting wasn’t the time or place to take care of the paperwork.  Albers noted that it needs to get done or the county will not receive their designated medical provider discount.  Commissioner Tveit stated if this is something that needs to be done, the Planning & Zoning meeting would be the place to do it.  State’s Attorney Binder stated that it wasn’t the time that was the issue, it was the disagreement of being a county employee and the issue of mileage reimbursement; Klein tabled the issue.  Albers added Mike Wolff, NDACo Safety Director, stated board members just need to fill out their designated medical provider forms and be made aware of where to go and what to do if they get hurt.  Commissioner Scheurer stated there is no choice the forms need to get signed.  Janet Connelly stated she has her own insurance and the county only wants the forms signed to get a break on their insurance premium.  State’s Attorney Binder stated not everyone has insurance.  Albers added the county is part of a risk management program and receives 5% discount when they are in compliance; if someone gets hurt and they have another job, they would be eligible for disability.  Connelly asked why they are not required to take safety training if they are considered employees.  Albers stated the bare minimum is once a year training for boards and quarterly training for full-time employees.  Connelly stated they are not county employees; they are just on the board because they do not receive any other benefits.  State’s Attorney Binder stated benefits are based on the number of hours worked in a month.  Binder added when the county does not comply it amounts to higher tax dollars for the citizens of the county.  Albers stated Workforce Safety & Insurance may not cover medical expenses if the designated medical provider form is not filled out.  Motion made by Commissioner Bitterman, second by Commissioner Tveit to write a letter to both the Weed Board and Planning & Zoning Board asking them to comply with the county’s risk management program.  Upon roll call vote; Bitterman, “Aye”, Tveit, “Aye”, Entze, “Aye”, Scheurer, “Aye”, motion carried.

Gary Emter, Tax Director/Land Use Adminstrator, discussed two temporary use permits with the board.  Motion made by Commissioner Tveit, second by Commissioner Bitterman to approve Temporary Use Permit #443 to Perreault Construction to haul sand from the pit in the NE ¼ Section 19 T144N R86W to expire on June 4th, 2015.  Upon roll call vote; Tveit, “Aye”, Bitterman, “Aye”, Entze, “Aye”, Scheurer, “Aye”, motion carried.

Motion made by Commissioner Entze, second by Commissioner Tveit to approve Temporary Use Permit #444 to Dug Rite Excavating to haul clay in the NE ¼ Section 7 T144N R86W to expire November 4th, 2014.  Upon roll call vote; Entze, “Aye”, Tveit, “Aye”, Bitterman, “Aye”, Scheurer, “Aye”, motion carried.

Commissioner Tveit discussed a conditional use permit issued to Calvin Heinsen for a non-farm residence.  Emter stated it is starting to not look like a non-farm residence and has been talking to Heinsen’s brother, who owns the land, on how to handle the situation.  Commissioner Tveit asked how to change the permit.  Emter stated it would have to be rezoned as commercial.  No further action was taken.

Motion made by Commissioner Tveit, second by Commissioner Entze to approve Utility Occupancy Application and Permit #1480(14) through #1492(14) to Roughrider Electric Cooperative for bore installation of an underground power line in Sections 14, 15, 21, 22, 23, 24, & 29 T146N R88W and Sections 6, 7, & 18 T145N R88W.  Upon roll call vote; Tveit, “Aye”, Entze, “Aye”, Bitterman, “Aye”, Scheurer, “Aye”, motion carried.

Candice Strand, Landfill Supervisor, discussed with the board adding a fourth full-time position at the Landfill to cover the issue if someone needs vacation and another is sick, there wouldn’t be enough people to fill the shifts.  Commissioner Scheurer stated his opinion is Strand should fill the one full-time position she has available and hire the summer help that is in the budget and at budget time she could look at the fourth position and eliminating the summer help.  Strand stated she would like a blessing from the board to adjust her hours at the Landfill so the employees are able to work after hours.  Commissioner Tveit stated that decision falls under Strand’s job duties.  No further action was taken.

Motion made by Commissioner Bitterman, second by Commissioner Entze to approve Steve Reiser to represent Mercer County at the NACo convention.  Upon roll call vote; Bitterman, “Aye”, Entze, “Aye”, Tveit, “Aye”, Scheurer, “Aye”, motion carried.

Auditor Brost stated she received a phone call from Adam at Sanford Air Med and he wondered if Mercer County would be interested in purchasing a membership through them for Air Med services.  The board agreed they would like to hear more about it and ask Adam to visit with the board in the future.  No further action was taken.

The board reviewed the NDRIN refund in the amount of $2,617.75.  No further action was taken.

The board recessed at 10:17 AM.

The board reconvened at 10:30 AM.

Buster Langowski, Policy Committee Chair, discussed with the board the procedure in place for grievances.  Langowski stated it would be an advantage to the county to have someone employed to deal with grievances, especially writing the reports and following timelines.  Langowski stated it is important to be fair on both sides and people are not always clear on this.  He stated having a commissioner hold a portfolio over one department might make their decision biased.  Langowski feels there should be an appeal process in place before it gets to the Board of County Commissioners.  Langowski asked the board to think of what the work environment would be like when the employee goes back to their job after being fired and the board reinstated this employee.  Langowski stated there were valid concerns and procedural guidelines that the supervisor was not aware of.  Langowski went on to say Auditor Brost does not have the time to provide Human Resources and it could be a conflict of interest; the county would be better off getting in someone who is neutral, someone above the auditor to take care of Human Resources for the county.  Langowski stated this person could be contractual, and not full-time; he state Jim Albers does a great job of training, but wasn’t sure what Albers duties all were.  State’s Attorney Binder stated the county’s grievance policy raises more questions than answers and doesn’t feel the county needs a full-time Human Resources director.  Binder stated grievance issues are non-frequent cases and many of the issues would be alleviated with a clear policy.  In regards to portfolio holders, Binder stated they were created to gather information and bring it back to the board, not to be a consultant.  One commissioner is not vested with the power to make any decisions.  State’s Attorney Binder added if the portfolio holders become consultants, it will be time to dissolve the portfolios.  State’s Attorney Binder stated if supervisors have questions, they can come to the Auditor or the State’s Attorney for answers, but a clear policy would clear up any questions.  Commissioner Bitterman stated the county needs a neutral person, not the Auditor or State’s Attorney.  Binder stated the State’s Attorney and Auditor are elected officials and cannot be stripped of their duties as stated in the North Dakota Century Code.  Commissioner Scheurer stated the policy manual needs to be revised but wondered if the policy committee had the expertise to take care of this.  Auditor Brost stated they could seek the help of the association of counties.  Langowski asked the question of what happens when people are put on notice in the meantime.  Langowski feels Human Resources is a much bigger position than just sitting in the office, and as the Policy Committee chairman he will look at revising the grievance procedure.  Langowski stated he understands the position of the auditor, but still feels it is a conflict of interest.  Commissioner Tveit asked Langowski what he was suggesting.  State’s Attorney Binder stated she doesn’t like the Human Resources part of her job either, but she is not there to make any decisions; that is the board’s job.  Binder added that it isn’t a conflict of interest because she and Auditor Brost both state to each employee what needs to be done per policy.  Commissioner Bitterman thanked Langowski for coming in.  Langowski stated he feels bad for supervisors when they don’t know what needs to be done.  Commissioner Bitterman once again thanked Langowski for coming in.

The board recessed at 10:50 AM.

The board reconvened at 11:00 AM.

Motion made by Commissioner Tveit, second by Commissioner Bitterman to recess meeting of the county commission and to convene as the County Board of Equalization.  On roll call vote; Tveit, “Aye”, Bitterman, “Aye”, Entze, “Aye”, Scheurer, “Aye”, motion carried.  Emter asked if anyone had appeared from any of the incorporated cities and no one responded.  Emter than asked if any rural properties owners wished to be heard.  Rick Meyhoff, Hazen, asked how the property values are decided and if it went by adjacent property or property county-wide.  Emter stated it is all property county-wide based on the sales from 2013 and not by lender appraisal.  Emter stated the most recent farmstead sale was $425,000, a single-wide mobile home at Bayview Heights for $389,000, and $288,000 at Lakeshore Estates.  Emter stated the state requires them to value property by the market value and values are going up.  Meyhoff asked when he would see the increase and how much it would be.  Emter stated he would see it in December 2014, and the mill levies are set in October.  Darrell Bjerke, Beulah, stated the taxes will not go up if the county doesn’t raise the budget.  Mathew Schwarz asked if it was up to the board, or if they were just trying to implement state law.  Emter stated the sales ratio study states the property values have to be between 90-100% or the county has to increase values.  Emter stated he stays around 93% for cushion for things such as abatements.  If they don’t come up with the numbers, the state can pull state funds.  Schwarz wondered about people on fixed incomes and also wondered why the state doesn’t assess Ag land in the same manner as residential property.  Emter stated ag land is assessed at a productivity value of what that land can produce; it is adjusted every year based on what NDSU tells the county to do.  Larry Taylor, Beulah, stated he could have sold his property for a large sum last year but people will not buy it because of the commercial property and ammonia across the highway; for these reasons he feels his property value should decrease.  Marvin Sigman, Beulah, stated his insurance company says his place is worth $166,000, and the county states it is worth $188,000.  Sigman wondered why it is so much higher.  Emter stated he doesn’t know of any new construction over 1,000 square feet that can be built for less than $160,000.  David Flanagan, Sakakawea Estates, asked if when the properties are assessed if it is a drive-by assessment or if someone goes in and are the amenities looked at.  Emter stated every 8-10 years they are required to go through the property and they only look at sales, there has been no indication a property sells better when the roads are maintained.  Brad Thrall, Sakakawea Estates, asked what the tax dollars are used for.  Emter stated in Thrall’s area the Underwood School District would receive two-thirds of the dollars and the other third would go to county services.  Thrall stated he doesn’t receive any county services in his area so he doesn’t feel he should have to pay it.  Flanagan stated Sakakawea Estates has concerns of how their tax dollars are being spent, and wondered if the county could spend his tax dollars.  Emter stated Flanagan could pay his taxes under protest and the tax money would go into an escrow account until the investigation is complete.  Sigman stated property values are going up due to the oil boom and those who work in the patch can afford anything, this is what is driving people on fixed incomes out of their homes.  Emter stated the lake property was purchased by folks from Watford City and Dickinson, which could be due to oil; but in the Hazen and Beulah areas it is younger folks taking jobs from retirees and the sales already this year are 30-35% higher than 2013.  Emter added people do not sell their homes for less than they are worth.  Schwarz stated it is uncontrolled growth that is driving the market since there has been no planning with the state, counties, and cities.  Schwarz stated if the cities would have looked at what they could handle; there would be less chaos for the people not receiving the oil money.  Bjerke stated the values of homes are going up and this could be good and bad; good if you want to sell, but bad for tax purposes.  Bjerke feels if the cities, counties, schools, and park districts did not increase their budgets taxes would not go up.  Bjerke stated Beulah will not go up in dollars this year.  Emter stated there will be an increase in taxable values, but the mills should go down.  Art Kunnanz, Sakakawea Estates, asked what the county plans to do when or if property taxes are abolished.  Emter stated the constituents would be paying for everything and anything they do.  Emter stated that cities true & full value is at $61,500,000, rural areas is at $32,000,000, the highest sale for ag land was $2,500/acre, and in the last few months $1,400-1,800/acre.  Commissioner Scheurer thanked everyone for coming in and asked if there were any more questions.  On motion duly made and second the meeting of the County Board of Equalization was adjourned at 11:45 AM CT.

Vice Chairman Scheurer reconvened the meeting of the Board of County Commissioners.

Thrall, Sakakawea Estates, asked the board why he was told Sakakawea Estates would get road improvements in 2013, then it was moved to 2014, and at the last meeting it was decided they wouldn’t get anything.  Thrall wondered what he is getting for his tax dollars.  State’s Attorney Binder stated the roads in the county are at the discretion of the county as to when they receive maintenance and upkeep.  Binder stated the Sakakawea Estates road had questions of encroachments, utilities, driveways, walls; the survey was done and it was a mess.  Binder suggested speaking with other residents and setting up a special assessment district.  Commissioner Tveit stated the highway department was going to spot gravel and only once a year is required to grade the road.  Tveit stated the county maps show it isn’t a county road, but down the middle of a section line. Commissioner Tveit stated it is not the issue of the county wanting to help them, but the issue of helping all subdivisions in the county.  Sakakawea Estates was in existence before the Planning & Zoning board was formed, and new subdivisions are required to maintain all roads themselves.  Tveit stated the board is up against not having a set of standards to follow.  Thrall asked the board if they feel good about collecting all the tax dollars from 15 residents and stated if the county would have maintained this road over the years it wouldn’t have migrated.  Commissioner Entze stated there has been very little new pavement in the county for some time now due to cost; the county is trying to preserve what they have with crack seals and overlays.  State’s Attorney Binder stated the highway department would look at the visibility issue and remove some of the trees in the county’s right-of-way.  Thrall stated it doesn’t seem fair there are subdivisions that are paying taxes and their roads are not being maintained at all and then there is one person that lives five miles south of town and they get bladed.  Commissioner Entze stated federal aid routes receive top priority.  State’s Attorney Binder stated on behalf of the board, they don’t feel good about the situation; if they could pave every road in the county they would.  Commissioner Tveit stated he will personally talk to County Engineer, Steve Mamer, to get a cost estimate and get it to Thrall.  Thrall asked if Sakakawea Estates could upgrade the road themselves.  Binder stated it would be at their expense.  Emter stated Bayview Heights did this and the roads are not to county specs.  Commissioner Tveit stated if they do it themselves they should be sure to look at weights because Bayview Heights is having problems and the county’s snow plow cannot get in there.  Schwarz stated the county cannot go back and impose new provisions on old subdivisions.  Over the years, if the road would have been taken care of, the costs wouldn’t have gone up and the road wouldn’t have migrated.  Schwarz added everyone is upset about no maintenance.

Vice Chairman Scheurer asked if there were any more comments or concerns.

There being no further business, on motion duly made and second, the meeting was adjourned at 12:10 PM CDT. The next regular meeting of the commission will be June 18, 2014 at 9:00 AM CT in the basement of the Law Enforcement Center, Stanton, North Dakota.

 

 

 

Duane Scheurer, Vice Chairman

Shana Brost, Auditor

 

 

Mercer County Commission
Minutes
June 18, 2014

 

The meeting was called to order at 9:00 AM CT by Chairman Murray, also present was Commissioner Scheurer, Commissioner Entze, Commissioner Bitterman, Commissioner Tveit, State’s Attorney Binder, and Auditor Brost. 

Motion made by Commissioner Scheurer, seconded by Commissioner Tveit to approve the agenda with additions. On roll call vote; Scheurer, “Aye”, Tveit, “Aye”, “Aye”, Entze, “Aye”, Bitterman, “Aye”, Murray, “Aye”, motion carried.

Motion made by Commissioner Bitterman, second by Commissioner Entze to approve the minutes of the June 4th commission meeting.  On roll call vote; Bitterman, “Aye”, Entze, “Aye”, Tveit, Scheurer, “Aye”, Murray, “Aye”, motion carried.

Motion made by Commissioner Tveit, seconded by Commissioner Scheurer to approve the payments of bills as follows:  Acme Tools, $23.97; Farmers Union Oil Co., $129.32; Filter Care of Grafton Inc., $20.28; Napa, $51.45; RDO Equipment Co., $3,570.60; WallWork Truck Center, $3,747.92; Timothy Aichele, $181.88; Elizabeth Braithwaite, $190.00; Cassandra DuMond, $145.56; John Gabriel, $133.96; Donna Hanson, $176.36; Catherine Karges, $146.72; Gerald P. Knoell, $26.80; Jesse Krieger, $110.00; Stacie Kruckenberg, $85.60; Paulette Mattheis, $145.08; Glenda Miller, $151.80; Mardi Pfliger, $153.44; Trudy Piatz, $140.56; Miles Reinholt, $174.12; Cheryll Rush, $43.44; Zeely Rush, $135.00; Scott Schields, $262.52; Carol Stolberg, $150.04; Cheryl Ann Stromme, $214.56; Joan Stromme, $214.56; Laurel Tveit, $294.08; Laverne Whitaker, $145.56; Dianne Wolf, $183.56; Advanced Business Methods, $1,384.36; Craig Askim, $168.56; Jamie Bradley, $40.00; Bronson’s Supervalu, $5,269.89; Shana Brost, $84.00; Café DuMond, $36.30; Charm-Tex, Inc., $348.58; City of Stanton, $15.00; Corner Express of Center L.L.C., $224.08; County Inn & Suites Coon Rapid, $274.20; Ronald Crowley, $74.00; Custer Health District, $5,104.05; D & E Supply Co. Inc., $1,064.65; D’Andreas Hotstuff, $76.95; Dakota Central Social Services, $58,279.44; Direct Med, $152.54; Eide Ford Company, $31.46; Election Source, $28.57; Electronic Communications Inc., $484.50; Gary Emter, $25.00; Wayne Entze, $185.92; Farmers Union Oil Co., $47.97; Farmers Union Oil Co., $16.46; Farmers Union Insurances, $1,402.00; Financial Management Division, $14,191.94; Fireside Office Plus, $1,055.00; Wright Express FSC, $2,501.44; James Frank, $56.95; Fred Pryor Seminars, $250.00; Cody Fritsch, $2.00; Galls/Quartermaster, $1,151.00; Graphics Lettering & Trim, $530.00; Hazen Drug, $114.00; Hewlett-Packard Company, $216.00; Hiway Express, $17.97; Information Technology Department, $502.87; J & M Hardware, Inc., $303.23; Jensen Jewelry, $10.00; Allan Johnson, $3,500.00; Free Karges, $79.15; Dena Kemmet, $351.68; Klein McCarthy Architects, $738.44; Krause Supervalu, $190.74; Gontran Langowski, $84.00; Language Line Services, $90.00; Light and Siren, $2,271.45; Lyle Signs Inc., $271.42; Mercer County Shop, $2,178.42; Midcontinent Communications, $66.24; Mini Computer Services, LTD, $722.50; Minnesota Valley Testing Labs Inc., $53.00; Motorola, $22,628.00; ND Attorney General, $1,030.00; ND Newspaper Association, $59.64; NDSWRA, $90.00; Neuberger Oil Company, $8,125.83; Oriental Trading Company, $42.96; PharmChem, Inc., $42.00; Pretty Petals, $36.00; Reliance Telephone Systems, Inc., $900.00; Roughrider Electric Cooperative, Inc., $1,354.05; Sakakawea Medical Center, $25.00; Duane Scheurer, $209.44; Lana Schneider, $70.56; SimplexGrinnell LP, $1,957.00; Staples Credit Plan, $1,378.78; Strata Corporation, $334.01; Subway #12480, $199.00; Subway $12480, $15.00; Team Electronics, $12,316.10; Terrance Ternes, $28.00; Leonard Tesky, $6.00; Tom Kat On Site, Inc., $423.00; William Tveit, $100.56; Uniform Center, $96.59; Thomson Reuters, $256.99; West Dakota Lumber, $3.72; West River Telecommunications, $4,658.08; Widmer Roel PC, $100.00; Amanda Wolf, $18.00; Eide Ford Company, $32,270.62; Farmers Union Oil Co., $18,533.25; Midcontinent Communications, $119.97; NDACo Resources Group, $392.43; ND Department of Transportation, $11.50.  Upon roll call vote; Tveit, “Aye”, Scheurer, “Aye”, Entze, “Aye”, Bitterman, “Aye”, Murray, “Aye”, motion carried.

The board reviewed the NDSU Extension Highlights.  No further action was taken.

The board reviewed the monthly financial statement.  No further action was taken.

The monthly landfill tonnage report was reviewed.  The report reads as follows:  Trees & Wood, 53.2 ton; Steel, 11.9 ton; Household, 645.38 ton; Inert, 247.82 ton; Tires, 177; Whiteware, 73; Large Animals, 5;  Small Animals, 1; Weighed Trucks, 4.  No further action was taken.

Motion made by Commissioner Scheurer, second by Commissioner Entze to approve the Recorder’s Fees in the amounts of $2,617.75 and $5,603.00.  On roll call vote; Scheurer, “Aye”, Entze, “Aye”, Tveit, “Aye”, Bitterman, “Aye”, Murray, “Aye”, motion carried.

Auditor Brost discussed with the board a memo she had sent to the department heads and budget preparers.  Brost stated for deciding the salaries for the 2015 budget she would like to see the department heads give some input.  The board agreed it would be nice for the department heads to come to the meeting and state what they would like to see for salaries in their departments and justify why.  Auditor Brost added the budget would still have to balance in the end, so all requested salaries may not be approved.  No further action was taken.

Ron Crowley, Veteran’s Service Officer, addressed the board about the Veteran’s Memorial Wall in the front of the courthouse.  Crowley stated the wall was put up in 1989 and dedicated on November 11th, 1989 on Veteran’s Day.  Crowley stated there was a committee for the memorial wall in the past, but most members have since passed on; he would like to see a new committee formed.  Crowley added Ivan Stiefel was an original member and hasn’t been able to make contact with him to see if he would like to still be a part of this committee.  Ken Foss, Gary Emter, and Ron Crowley volunteered to be on the committee, as well as Commissioner Scheurer.  Crowley stated the committee would need to raise the funds to put additional engraved plates on the memorial wall after the war in Iraq/Afghanistan is over.  Crowley figured each name plate with the engraving on it would cost approximately $15-20, and the fund currently has $716.71.  Crowley added the committee would pay for the name plates by asking for donations, not by using county funds.  No further action was taken.

Motion made by Commissioner Tveit, second by Commissioner Bitterman to appoint Shaine Towe and Joe Retterath to the Policy Committee with terms expiring June 30, 2016.  On roll call vote; Tveit, “Aye”, Bitterman, “Aye”, Entze, “Aye”, Scheurer, “Aye”, Murray, “Aye”, motion carried.

Motion made by Commissioner Bitterman, second by Commissioner Tveit to reappoint Melvin Schlender to the Weed Board with the term expiring July 31, 2018.  On roll call vote; Bitterman, “Aye”, Tveit, “Aye”, Entze, “Aye”, Scheurer, “Aye”, Murray, “Aye”, motion carried.

Motion made by Commissioner Tveit, second by Commissioner Scheurer to appoint Ricky Scheid and Rodney Weigum to the Planning & Zoning Board with terms expiring June 30, 2018.  On roll call vote; Tveit, “Aye”, Scheurer, “Aye”, Entze, “Aye”, Bitterman, “Aye”, Murray, “Aye”, motion carried.

Motion made by Commissioner Bitterman, second by Commissioner Scheurer to approve the May Sheriff’s Fees in the amount of $12,594.00.  On roll call vote; Bitterman, “Aye”, Scheurer, “Aye”, Entze, “Aye”, Tveit, “Aye”, Murray, “Aye”, motion carried.

The board recessed at 9:34 AM.

The board reconvened at 10:00 AM.

Motion made by Commissioner Entze, second by Commissioner Scheurer to close the acceptance of bids for the grading, aggregate surfacing, and incidentals on County Road 25.  On roll call vote; Entze, “Aye”, Scheurer, “Aye”, Bitterman, “Aye”, Tveit, “Aye”, Murray, “Aye”, motion carried.

Bids were received as follows:

Project #B14-00-046 – Grading, Aggregate Surfacing, and Incidentals of Co Road 25 – Engineers Estimate - $2,003,082.30.

State’s Attorney Binder reviewed and approved bond and license information and bids were received from the following:  Central Specialties, Inc.—Alexandria, MN - $2,632,234.65; Dennis Drewes, Inc.—Frazee, MN - $1,825,327.55; Park Construction Company—Minneapolis, MN - $2,907,210.42; and Kern & Tabery, Inc.—Wadena, MN - $2,538,836.93.  Steve Mamer, Interstate Engineering, will review the bids and bring back a recommendation to the next meeting.

Mamer stated he has talked to 80% of the landowners the County 25 project effects, and he didn’t have any issues with having them sign a quit claim deed.  Mamer didn’t foresee any issues with the other 20%.  Mamer reported the chip sealing is about done and he has not yet seen any contracts for the two box culverts recently awarded.  Mamer stated the plans for County 21 are in the final stages and will be let in September.  Commissioner Scheurer asked where last year’s projects are at.  Mamer stated the box culverts are wrapping up with just some fencing to finish.  Mamer added there has been some trouble with the pipe on County 14 and the county may need to look at putting in a box culvert next year.

Ken Miller, Road Superintendent, reviewed the outstanding road accounts with the board.  Miller stated he has been in contact with Northern Improvement and they stated their insurance company has sent the county a check.  Miller stated he has not seen any money; he will wait for the account to be six months outstanding and have State’s Attorney Binder send them a letter. 

Motion made by Commissioner Scheurer, second by Commissioner Tveit to approve the donated sick leave.  On roll call vote; Scheurer, “Aye”, Tveit, “Aye”, Entze, “Aye”, Bitterman, “Aye”, Murray, “Aye”, motion carried.

Commissioner Tveit stated Ricky Scheid was wondering the status of the rock stockpiled on his land for Harmony Lake.  Miller stated that it was going to be used.  Commissioner Tveit also spoke to the board about Sakakawea Estates.  Tveit stated there was a deed found that deeded the road back to the county.  Commissioner Tveit added this is a different situation because it was done before the Planning & Zoning Board was formed, but stated the board needs to take care of the situation and not leave them hanging.  State’s Attorney Binder stated Gary Emter, Land Use Administrator, brought the documents to her and she hasn’t had a chance to really dig into it.  Binder was concerned the deed was only a copy and not an original.  State’s Attorney Binder added the more she digs into it, the more issues have come up.  Binder stated she would have an answer for Sakakawea Estates next month.  No further action was taken.

Motion made by Commissioner Bitterman, second by Commissioner Tveit to approve the Second Amendment to Agreement with Coteau Properties Company.  On roll call vote; Bitterman, “Aye”, Tveit, “Aye”, Entze, “Aye”, Scheurer, “Aye”, Murray, “Aye”, motion carried.

Vicky Steiner, Vision West ND, discussed the broadest and deepest concerns in the region in regards to economic development.  The five concerns were childcare, emergency services, housing both developing and affordability, transportation, and water.  Steiner added it would be ideal to develop additional recreational areas along Lake Sakakawea to accommodate the influx in people moving to western North Dakota.  Steiner stated they need to get the Army Corp of Engineers to recognize the need for recreation areas, and thought Renner Bay would be a great one to develop.  Vision West ND is a well-organized consortium of western North Dakotans, including 19 oil and gas producing counties, the Three-Affiliated Tribes of the Mandan-Hidatsa-Arikara Nation, economic development regions, universities, and other state organizations.  Motion made by Commissioner Bitterman, second by Commissioner Scheurer to approve the Resolution of the Mercer County Commission by endorsing the Vision West ND Regional Plan for sustainable development.  On roll call vote; Bitterman, “Aye”, Scheurer, “Aye”, Entze, “Aye”, Tveit, “Aye”, Murray, “Aye”, motion carried.

There being no further business, on motion duly made and second, the meeting was adjourned at 11:13 AM CDT. The next regular meeting of the commission will be July 2, 2014 at 9:00 AM CT in the Courtroom of the Mercer County Courthouse, Stanton, North Dakota.

 

 

Approved: Gary Murray, Chairman

Attest: Shana L. Brost, Auditor