Most recently approved County Commission Minutes

 

 

Mercer County Commission
Special Meeting Minutes
April 4, 2016

 

The special meeting was called to order at 1:00 PM CT by Chairman Tveit, also present was Commissioner Scheurer, Commissioner Entze, Commissioner Gunsch, Commissioner Murray, Pete Coffey, Jr. (Three Affiliated Tribes), Paul Picha (ND Historical Society), Fern Swenson (ND Historical Society), Craig Hansen (Knife River Indian Village), Glenn Carpenter (AECom),  and Auditor Brost. 

Pete Filippi, Contegrity Group, stated this is an informational meeting to discuss construction plans and the plans put into place during the duration of construction.

Glenn Carpenter, AECom, gave the board an overview of the project and reviewed the requirements associated with state and county property with cultural features.  Paul Picha, ND State Historical Society, stated this is a significant site and a national registered site under the North Dakota Century Code (NDCC).  Picha stated Mercer County needs to mitigate the adverse effects by doing testing.  Carpenter stated the greatest concern is one and half lodges and the intent is to gather and analyze data through a cultural dig.  Carpenter added they have a mitigation plan not yet submitted to the state and they will need to investigate the complete area.  Carpenter noted the bottom line is this site is recognized and it is understood this is a very disturbed area but the next step is to understand what needs to be done with the cultural testing.  Carpenter stated AECom is contracted to monitor the excavation process and if any cultural features are found, the appropriate steps will need to be taken.  AECom is also responsible for the data sampling.  Carpenter estimated the cost to Mercer County would be around $115,000 to monitor the construction, data collection and analysis, and curation of artifacts.  Filippi stated the first thing that needs to be done is submit the mitigation plan to the state so the state can turn it around as soon as possible.  Filippi added the black top will be pulled off first then the sampling would be done.  The excavation would start after the sampling.  Pete Coffey, Jr., Three Affiliated Tribes, stated the map shows most sites have been disturbed.  Coffey added there may be burials so that is their only concern.  Coffey noted the cash pits would be about six feet under.  Filippi stated Mercer County has been sensitive to the nature by shrinking the floor plan and structuring to build up instead of horizontal to cut down on the impact.  Filippi added everyone is working towards the same goal.  Carpenter noted there has been good cooperation on behalf of each party to do what is correct.

There being no further business, on motion duly made and second, the meeting was adjourned at 1:50 PM CST.  The next regular meeting of the commission will be April 6th, 2016 at 9:00 AM CT in the courtroom of the Mercer County Courthouse, Stanton, North Dakota.

 

Mercer County Commission
Minutes
April 6, 2016

 

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

Motion made by Commissioner Gunsch, second by Commissioner Scheurer to approve the agenda.  All members voted “Aye”, motion carried.

Motion made by Commissioner Murray, second by Commissioner Scheurer to approve the minutes of the March 16th meeting.  All members voted “Aye”, motion carried.

Motion made by Commissioner Entze, second by Commissioner Gunsch to approve the bills as follows:  ACME TOOLS, $99.00; ADDEM INC., $172.24; ADVANCED BUSINESS MACHINES, $7348.51; AED EVERYWHERE, $781.40; CRAIG ASKIM, $146.88; BAUER BUILT, $119.44; DARBIE BERGER, $101.52; BERGSTRAM ELECTRIC, $16425.00; BEST WESTERN PLUS, $99.00; BEULAH BEACON, $33.00; BEULAH JOB DEVELOPMENT, $606.34; BEULAH LUMBER, $177.05; BEULAH PUBLIC SCHOOL, $19.78; BHG, $2496.12; JESSICA BINDER, $138.24; BRONSON’S SUPER VALU, $6.69; SHANA BROST, $64.80; BUTLER MACHINERY, $4645.97; CAFE DUMOND, $9.65; CARDMEMBER SERVICES, $1409.63; CENTER COMMUNITY POOL, $20.00; CITY OF BEULAH, $73.81; COLONIAL RESEARCH, $19.76; COMFORT INN, $240.00; CORNER EXPRESS, $73.69; RONALD CROWLEY, $136.70; D & E SUPPLY, $2925.43; DAKOTA CENTRAL SOCIAL SERVICES, $24974.98; DENT MASTER, $389.01; DIVE & RESCUE, $309.70; GARY EMTER, $25.00; FAIRFIELD INN, $80.10; FARMERS UNION INSURANCE, $128.00; FARMERS UNION OIL, $2475.50; FARMERS UNION OIL $48.04; FILTER CARE OF GRAFTON, $59.69; FIRESIDE OFFICE PLUS, $4.69; GALLS, $684.00; GOVCONNECTION, INC, $981.71; HAZEN HARDWARE HANK, $288.98; HAZEN STAR, $269.57; HEARTLAND ENGINEERING, $1257.16; HIWAY EXPRESS, $238.78; HR COLLABORATIVE, $200.00; J&L AUTOMOTIVE, $383.60; J & M HARDWARE, $92.96; KADRMAS, LEE & JACKSON, $2000.00; FREE KARGES, $70.00; DENA KEMMET, $115.32; LEXIS NEXIS, $181.00; KIM LIEBOLD, $17.50; MARTIN CONSTRUCTION, $80076.81; MATHISON’S $1943.00; MATTHEW BENDER & COMPANY, $295.11; MENARDS, $163.71; MERCER COUNTY SHOP, $2550.71; MSOC, $150.00; MILLENNIUM EXPRESS, $12.98; MONTANA RAILROAD SERVICE, $108.10; GARY MURRAY, $98.60; DONALD MUTZENBERGER, $35.00; NAPA, $1215.77; NDACO, $718.75; NDCTA, $250.00; ND STATE RADIO, $720.00; NEUBERGER OIL, $13277.07; NORTHERN SAFETY, $464.22; OK AUTOMOTIVE, $97.18, PHARMCHEM INC, $1216.00; PITNEY BOWES, $203.98; CARMEN REED, $190.08; SAKAKAWEA MEDICAL CENTER, $15.00; DUANE SCHEURER, $272.48; MARK SCHMITT, $187.71; SCUBA ONE, $144.00; SEACHANGE PRINT INNOVATIONS, $4912.50; SBM, $197.34; SW WATER, $42.32; SPS COMPANIES, $29.96; STAPELS CREDIT PLAN, $970.51; CANDY STRAND, $48.36; TEAM ELECTRONICS, $253.00; THE ATTIC, $1681.00; THE BISMARCK TRIBUNE, $268.92; THOMSON RUETERS, $234.50; TRUCKS OF BISMARCK, $44.36; VENTURE MARKETING, $29.95; VERIZON WIRELESS, $1905.13; JAMES WENNING, $154.41; WDAOL, $65.00; WEST DAKOTA LUMBER, $69.00.  All members voted “Aye”, motion carried.

Motion made by Commissioner Scheurer, second by Commissioner Murray to accept the February Sheriff’s Fees in the amount of $17,933.46.  All members voted “Aye”, motion carried.

Motion made by Commissioner Entze, second by Commissioner Gunsch to accept the February Recorder’s Fees in the amount of $7,984.00.  All members voted “Aye”, motion carried.

Motion made by Commissioner Gunsch, second by Commissioner Murray to acknowledge the 2015 audit performed by Rath and Mehrer.  All members voted “Aye”, motion carried.

The board reviewed the quarterly Veteran’s Service Officer Report.  No further action was taken.

Commissioner Entze updated the board on his Dakota Central Social Services portfolio.  Entze stated DCSS has to cut back $54 million.  Entze noted this is the home care specialist area.  Although it is not likely the county will cancel the service, this will be a direct cost to the district.  Entze added this is not a good situation.  No further action was taken.

Carmen Reed, 911 Coordinator/Emergency Manager, presented the board with a current hazard mitigation resolution.  Reed explained this is a living plan that can be changed when reviewed each year.  Motion made by Commissioner Scheurer, second by Commissioner Entze to adopt the Mercer County Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan as approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).  On roll call vote; Scheurer, “Aye”, Entze, “Aye”, Gunsch, “Aye”, Murray, “Aye”, Tveit, “Aye”, motion carried.

Reed stated she may need to put on a fire ban within the next couple days if we don’t get any moisture.  Chairman Tveit stated he didn’t know what we are waiting for.  Reed stated she would take care of it today.  No further action was taken.

Next was the second reading of the Policy Handbook.  Chairman Tveit stated there was an increase of 73 pages to the handbook and employees have 21 separate changes.    Commissioner Gunsch stated some of the employee concerns should have been addressed at the policy meeting because a lot of time/hours have been put into the handbook and it will never be perfect.  Chairman Tveit stated the policy committee should review the suggestions because the handbook is far too important to rush through.  State’s Attorney Binder reminded the board Chuck Horter, NRG, is still available to help with the handbook.  Motion made Commissioner Gunsch, second by Commissioner Entze to send the policy book back to the policy committee to review proposed changes.  On roll call vote; Gunsch, “Aye”, Entze, “Aye”, Scheurer, “Aye”, Murray, “Aye”, Tveit, “Aye”, motion carried.

Commissioner Scheurer updated the board on his portfolios.  Scheurer stated the Ambulance board is dealing with $6,000 in bad debt in regards to refusals.  Scheurer reported the Landfill has passed their state inspection and also the U Joint went out in the compactor and is looking at about $15,000 to fix it.   Commissioner Gunsch shared the minutes from the Mercer County Economical Development board and the Mercer County Water Resource District.  Gunsch also reported on the lowering water levels along County 27.

The board recessed at 9:27 AM.

The board reconvened at 9:30 AM.

Gary Emter, Tax Director, presented two zoning cases to the board.  Motion made by Commissioner Gunsch, second by Commissioner Murray to approve Zoning #16-03-01 a certificate of approval of a conditional use issued to Jesse Hauser for a non-farm residence located on a two acre parcel in the NE ¼ SE ¼ Section 20 T141N R90W.  The planning commissioner recommended approval on March 17, 2016.  The present and future owners are responsible for snow removal and maintenance of private roads and approaches.  The septic system must meet Custer Health District standards.  The owner must provide a school bus turnaround if needed.  On roll call vote; Gunsch, “Aye”, Murray, “Aye”, Entze, “Aye”, Scheurer, “Aye”, Tveit, “Aye”, motion carried.

Motion made by Commissioner Scheurer, second by Commissioner Entze to approve Zoning #16-03-02 a certificate of approval of a conditional use issued to Steve and Pam Guenthner for a non-farm residence located on a 8.82 acre parcel in the W ½ W ½ NW ¼ Section 27 T147N R85W.  The planning commissioner recommended approval on March 17, 2016.  The present and future owners are responsible for snow removal and maintenance of private roads and approaches.  The septic system must meet Custer Health District standards.  The owner must provide a school bus turnaround if needed.  On roll call vote; Scheurer, “Aye”, Entze, “Aye”, Gunsch, “Aye”, Murray, “Aye”, Tveit, “Aye”, motion carried.

Allison Hicks and Scott Solem, Solem Law Office, stated they were retained by Jacob Schramm to look into the legality of the Temporary Use Permit issued to Synergy Building Solutions on February 3, 2016 for the purposes of constructing and maintaining a crew camp housing off of County 21.  Hicks stated it is her opinion Mercer County issued the temporary use permit before making sure the requirements were all met for zoning ordinance Chapter 4, Section 4 (e) “Crew Housing Temporary Use Permit”.  Hicks stated for the following reasons Chapter 4, Section 4 is not in compliance:  requires a list of vendors expected to provide services at the facility, requires corporate applicants to provide specific information regarding whether it is subsidiary,  certificate of insurance, a description of units, description of how the units are set up and/or anchored, the lodging facility be located adjacent to a maintained or private road, contact information of the onsite manager, plot plan drawn to scale with various required items shown on the plan, to provide plans for on-site security, a site emergency evacuation and storm shelter plan, information regarding required services, and a written plan to dismantle the temporary housing camp and restore it to its original condition.  Emter stated the permit is just a permit and no applicant is going to meet all of these requirements before the application is approved.  Emter added that nothing can happen out there until these requirements are met.  Hicks stated that is not the procedure that is laid out in the Mercer County ordinance, and the requirements need to be met at the time of the application.  Emter state the Planning & Zoning Board has the authority to deviate from any ordinance and this is how they chose to handle it.  Solem sated the applicant has not provided anything the ordinance requires.  Emter stated the applicant was fully aware of the requirements at the time the permit was issued.  Schramm stated Synergy is using his driveway as an emergency access and he sees a lot of red flags.  Solem stated the ordinance does not say you can deviate from the ordinance because they are requirements, and he couldn’t find where that could be done.  Solem noted he is concerned about condition four and before Synergy breaks ground all the information is available to the county.  Commissioner Scheurer stated this company appeared to him to have written their own rules, but told them at the Planning & Zoning meeting the ordinance is the county’s rules and they must comply with them.  Scheurer added if at any time they do not follow the rules, the county can stop the permit.  Solem stated it is hard for the board to stick to their guns if they have already broken ground, which is why all requirements should be met up front.  Chairman Tveit stated he can assure Solem that Synergy would meet these needs before they moved forward.  No further action was taken.

Motion made by Commissioner Entze, second by Commissioner Murray to close the bids on County 27.  All members voted “Aye”, motion carried.  The following bids were opened and read aloud:

Bechtold Paving                              $291,788.12

Knife River Corporation              $336,593.96

Bituminous Paving                        $469,240.00

Mayo Construction                        $295,463.60

The engineer’s estimate for the project was $535,038.00.  Steve Mamer, Interstate Engineering, stated he would tabulate the bids and bring it back later in the meeting.  No further action was taken.

Motion made by Commissioner Gunsch, second by Commissioner Scheurer to accept County 17 and submit the final project certification to the North Dakota Department of Transportation.  On roll call vote; Gunsch, “Aye”, Scheurer, “Aye”, Entze, “Aye”, Murray, “Aye”, Tveit, “Aye”, motion carried.

Rob Rebel, Knife River Cooperation, asked the board for permission to move their dozer to the Bornemann Pit, which is one mile of Mercer County road to get into Oliver County.  Rebel stated he realizes the frost laws are still in effect.  Ken Miller, Road Superintendent, stated the frost laws should be lifted within the next two weeks and Oliver County has given Knife River approval.  Rebel stated it would be one load of 130,000 lbs on eight axels.  Commissioner Gunsch stated the county had zero tolerance last year and would like to see it wait.  Commissioner Entze stated it is much drier this year than last year.  Rebel stated if something happened to the road, they would be willing to help the county out with blading and additional gravel.  Commissioner Gunsch stated if the county sets a precedence with Knife River, they would have to do it for all.  Rebel added it is for a Mercer County project.  Motion made by Commissioner Gunsch, second by Commissioner Entze to deny the request from Knife River as Mercer County would like to retain a zero tolerance policy.   Commissioner Murray stated the board has had several requests and have denied them all.  Commissioner Scheurer stated whether it is a Mercer County project or not the board needs to stick to their zero tolerance policy.  Commissioner Entze added the county gets the brunt of it, not exactly today there might be damage but it could show up down the road.  On roll call vote; Gunsch, “Aye”, Entze, “Aye”, Scheurer, “Aye”, Murray, “Aye”, Tveit, “Aye”, motion carried.

Miller discussed with the board with a security bond for the Dakota Access Pipeline, a 30” crude oil pipeline.  Miller stated Dakota Access is bonded for damage if they were to ruin anything of the county’s.  Miller added they have 29 crossings and would be taking a before/after video of the road.  State’s Attorney Binder noted this will be included in the road agreement.  No further action was taken.

Motion made by Commissioner Murray, second by Commissioner Scheurer to approve Utility Occupancy Application and Permit #1593-1607 and #1616-1638 to Dakota Access Pipeline.  On roll call vote; Murray, “Aye”, Scheurer, “Aye”, Entze, “Aye”, Gunsch, “Aye”, Tveit, “Aye”, motion carried.

Motion made by Commissioner Gunsch, second by Commissioner Murray to approve Utility Occupancy Application and Permit #1608-1615 to Bartlett and West.  On roll call vote; Gunsch, “Aye”, Murray, “Aye”, Scheurer, “Aye”, Entze, “Aye”, Tveit, “Aye”, motion carried.

Motion made by Commissioner Scheurer, second by Commissioner Entze to approve Utility Occupancy Application and Permit #1639 to West River Telephone.  On roll call vote; Scheurer, “Aye”, Entze, “Aye”, Gunsch, “Aye”, Murray, “Aye”, Tveit, “Aye”, motion carried.

The board discussed with Miller a section line in the SE ¼ Section 34 T146N R85W that has been plowed by a landowner.  Motion made by Commissioner Entze, second by Commissioner Scheurer to have Road Superintendent Miller contact the Sheriff to have landowner reseed the grass in the right-of-way by the direction of the county.  On roll call vote; Entze, “Aye”, Scheurer, “Aye”, Gunsch, “Aye”, Murray, “Aye”, Tveit, “Aye”, motion carried.

Mamer brought back tabulated bids for County 27.  He stated Bechtold Paving was the apparent low bidder.  Motion made by Commissioner Gunsch, second by Commissioner Scheurer to accept Bechtold Paving’s bid in the amount of $291,788.12 for the County 27 overlay.  On roll call vote; Gunsch, “Aye”, Scheurer, “Aye”, Entze, “Aye”, Murray, “Aye”, Tveit, “Aye”, motion carried.

The board recessed at 10:35 AM.

The board reconvened at 11:00 AM.

Doug Goehring, Agriculture Commissioner from the North Dakota Department of Agriculture, met with the board to discuss the state’s pipeline reclamation process.  Goehring estimated by year 2020 there will be over 36,000 miles of pipe in the ground in North Dakota.  Goehring explained an ombudsman role is to meet with the landowners to identify issues that exist, document issues, assist parties to develop a plan and timeline, monitor agreement of the work plan, and report any issues to the Agriculture Commissioner.  An ombudsman will not provide legal counsel, provide assistance in negotiating an easement, interfere or supersede any agreements between surface owners and pipeline companies, or conduct any regulatory functions.  The local ombudsman in Mercer County is Keith Unruh.  Goehring stated Unruh knows the terrains, soils, and what construction work has been done in the area.  Goehring added the program has shown to be very successful.  Goehring noted the correct procedure is to get in contact with his office if there is an issue and do not call Unruh directly.  The office will then assign an ombudsman to the case within three to four days of the call.  The board thanked Goehring for taking the time to come to the board meeting.  No further action was taken.

Myron Knutson, PFM Group, reviewed the results of the bond sale with the board.  Knutson stated Mercer County received an A2 rating, which is an excellent rating for a county of this size.  Knutson added the auditor had spent a considerable amount of time working on this bond to achieve the rating.  As a result of the sale, Piper Jaffray was the lowest bidder with a fixed interest rate of 2.6761% over a twenty (20) year period.  Knutson stated on or after year 2023, the county can repay bonds without penalty or it can be refinanced if rates would be lower; but, it is strictly up to the county. Motion made by Commissioner Gunsch, second by Commissioner Murray to award Piper Jaffray the $3,500,000 General Obligation Correction Center Bond, Series 2016.  On roll call vote; Gunsch, “Aye”, Murray, “Aye”, Scheurer, “Aye”, Entze, “Aye”, Tveit, “Aye”, motion carried.  Knutson stated the bond closing will be on May 2, 2016.

Jim Theurer, Contegrity Group, went over the invoices from Contegrity Group for period ending March 15, 2016.  Bergstrom Electric certified the amount of $16,425 for bond and insurance and Mathison’s certified the amount of $1,943 for project plans.  Theurer also went over the proposal from AECom in the amount of $116,196.10 for the archeological testing, monitoring, and mitigation plan.  Motion made by Commissioner Gunsch, second by Commissioner Murray to authorize the project as proposed by AECom.  On roll call vote; Gunsch, “Aye”, Murray, “Aye”, Entze, “Aye”, Scheurer, “Aye”, Tveit, “Aye”, motion carried.

Theurer informed the board the doors in the courtroom went from a 55 rating down to a 27 rating which gave the county a $10,000 credit.  Theurer also stated when switching over to three-phase power, the city is looking at shutting the power down on a Saturday to not interrupt normal business hours.  Theurer reminded everyone the parking lot on the south side of the building is to be left open for the public and department heads need to remind employee’s to park in the dirt.  Jim Albers, Maintenance Engineer, stated he has had to tear out some shrubs and would like to take out the overgrown or dead ones as well and plant new ones.  Chairman Tveit stated as the groundskeeper, Albers can use his judgment.  Commissioner Gunsch added the trees and shrubs have outlived their time.  No further action was taken.

The board recessed at 12:06 PM.

The board reconvened at 1:00 PM.

Jessica Unruh, Coteau Properties, stated the area north of the shop office has been reclaimed and Coteau has made sure the roads are up to par.  Unruh stated Coteau would formally like to open the County 15 cut-across road and section line trails.  Unruh noted approaches have culverts, the aggregate was placed where needed, and water management is controlled.  Chairman Tveit stated there is a farmed section line that should be put back to a trail.  Unruh agreed and will talk to the landowner.  Motion made by Commissioner Scheurer, second by Commissioner Gunsch to open County 15 cut-across and section lines as indicated in Townships 145 and 146, Ranges 87 and 88.  Commissioner Gunsch asked if there was emergency access on the one mile stretch being closed.  Unruh stated there are gates and the road will be traversable so she sees no issue with it.  On roll call vote; Scheurer, “Aye”, Gunsch, “Aye”, Murray, “Aye”, Entze, “Aye”, Tveit, “Aye”, motion carried.

Troy Leingang, North American Coal, stated 124 million tons of coal was taken from this reclaimed area in 14 years. 

Motion made by Commissioner Scheurer, second by Commissioner Murray to rescind the Mercer County Fire Declaration and Burn Ban Proclamation that is tied to the Fire Danger Rating and approve the new Mercer County Fire Declaration and Burn Ban Proclamation that states a Stage I Burn Ban is in effect until further notice.  On roll call vote; Scheurer, “Aye”, Murray, “Aye”, Gunsch, “Aye”, Entze, “Aye”, Tveit, “Aye”, motion carried.

The board recessed at 1:16 PM.

The board reconvened at 1:30 PM.

Chairman Tveit stated he asked for budget discussion to be placed on the agenda to talk about the slow down and the Social Services budget cuts.  Chairman Tveit asked if the county needs to cut department budgets or should departments be getting approval before large purchases.  Tveit stated there is no need to micromanage, but it should be discussed.  Commissioner Gunsch stated the board needs to look at other entities to see if they are levying too high.  Commissioner Entze stated the board needs to go through each departmental budget to see if cuts would even work.  Chairman Tveit stated each department head should look at their budgets to see where they can trim.  Tveit added he would like to see the county be proactive instead of reactive.   Auditor Brost will schedule time on the May agenda for a mandatory budget discussion between the board and department heads.  No further action was taken.

Chairman Tveit went on to the next item on the agenda:  Courthouse.  Chairman Tveit stated he would like to discuss the controversy within the four walls of the courthouse.  Tveit added the board is in charge of harmony throughout the county and cannot understand how employees of the courthouse can work efficiently with all the digging and picking on one another.  Chairman Tveit added it is time for it to stop and move on.  Tveit noted his research shows it has been going on for over 30 years.  State’s Attorney Binder added non-issues are becoming issues and shouldn’t be, such as parking in the dirt versus the public parking lot.   Chairman Tveit stated instead of medaling within other departments, everyone should be working together for the betterment of the county and our people.  No further action was taken.

There being no further business, on motion duly made and second, the meeting was adjourned at 2:07 PM CST. The next regular meeting of the commission will be April 20, 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