Mercer County Commission
May 18, 2016
The meeting was called to order at 9:00 AM CT by Chairman Tveit, also present was Commissioner Scheurer, Commissioner Entze, , Commissioner Gunsch, Commissioner Murray, State’s Attorney Binder, and Auditor Brost.
Motion made by Commissioner Gunsch, second by Commissioner Scheurer to approve the agenda with additions. All members voted “Aye”, motion carried.
Motion made by Commissioner Scheurer, second by Commissioner Gunsch to approve the minutes of the May 4th regular meeting. All members voted “Aye”, motion carried.
Motion made by Commissioner Entze, second by Commissioner Gunsch to approve the bills as follows: Advanced Business Methods, $2216.10; Alps, $301.94; American Welding, $588.21; American Working Dog, $150.00; Ameripride, $52.39; Arntson, Stewart, Wegner, $11674.14; Craig Askim, $44.45; Badger Daylighting, $2380.00; Bauer Built, $121.85; Beulah Job Development, $606.34; Beulah School, $16.10; BHG, $134.90; Bob’s Photo, $8.98; Sheila Bruner, $215.30; Michael Bullock, $67.78; Butler Machinery, $774.80; Café Dummond, $73.99; Central Door, $446.46; Charm-Tex, $282.56, City of Golden Valley, $22.00; City of Stanton, $3963.67; Contegrity Group, $13580.66; Custer Health, $4807.14; D & E, $1111.92; Dakota Central Social Services, $66089.78; Direct Med, $383.96; Downtown Gas, $160.50; DS Solutions, $290.00; Election Systems & Software, $2946.18; Wayne Entze, $129.60; Fastenal Co., $52.56; Ryan Flemmer, $7.70; FUO Beulah, $852.55; FUO Hazen, $91.06; Wes Gunsch, $240.84; Hatton Ford Motor, $68380.00; Hazen Drug, $496.73; Hazen Hardware Hank, $71.27; Hazen Motor/Farm, $64.90; Hazen Star, $24.95; HCIS $10366.00; Hedahls, $22.36; Hiway Express, $71.00; Interstate Engineering, $2070.74; ITD, $894.85; J & M Hardware, $256.11; Jonathan Publishing, $130.00; J-S Sanitation, $172.00; Free Karges, $26.60; Dena Kemmet, $278.80; Klein McCarthy, $10664.62; Wanda Knutson, $504.14; Language Line Services, $90.00; Maas Electric, $568.00; Anthony Melberg, $554.62; Mercer County Shop, $2049.10; MIDCO, $263.46; Napa, $446.63; NDAPCO, $1080.00; NDACO, $1982.40; NDACO Resource Group, $446.63; NDDOT, $30.00; Nelson International, $157.81; Network Innovations, $379.52; NW Tire, $466.26; Office of State Auditor, $165.00; OK Automotive, $858.95; Oriental Trading, $40.97; Pahlke Steel, $155.08; Pharmchem, $1225.00; Pitney Bowes, $626.70; Postmaster, $48.00; Pretty Petals, $150.00; Queen City Motors, $616.00; Quill Office Products, $86.96; RDO, $1887.16; Roughrider Electric, $1266.46; Sailer Septic, $125.00; Dawn Sayler, $40.50; Duane Scheurer, $226.58; Colette Schilling, $204.80; Brad Seifert, $185.95; Shopko, $260.41; Sirchie, $94.65; Skarba’s $425.50; SBM, $349.92; SW Water, $42.76; Staples, $1685.91; Straightway Const., $58317.30; The Bis. Trib. $291.20; Trucks of Bis., $184.56, William Tveit, $244.62; Underground Vaults, $315.00; Uniform Center, $300.98; Wagon Wheel Lumber, $6.49; WRT, $3825.17; WEX, $1697.34; WSI, $284.05. All members voted “Aye”, motion carried.
The board reviewed the monthly financial statement. No further action was taken.
The board reviewed the Landfill tonnage report. No further action was taken.
The board reviewed the NDSU Extension Highlights. No further action was taken.
Motion made by Commissioner Entze, second by Commissioner Scheurer to accept the NDRIN Refund in the amount of $4,666.50. All members voted “Aye”, motion carried.
The board gave their portfolio updates. Commissioner Entze stated he attended the Mercer County Regional Airport meeting. Entze also reported discussion took place at the Weed Board meeting on cost sharing chemicals, Kyle Skalsky is the summer help, and all is going well. Commissioner Scheurer stated there is an upcoming Ambulance Board meeting on Monday at 6 PM in Beulah. Commissioner Murray reported he attended the Mercer County Fair Board meeting and everything is lined up for the 2016 Mercer County Fair. Commissioner Gunsch stated he attended a Skywarn meeting in Beulah and it was interesting and really good, encouraging everyone to attend if there is another one. Gunsch also reported the two custodian positions were filled with Dakota Staffing. They hired part-time custodian Nikki Cahoon at $14 per hour and full-time maintenance Josh Tigges at $15 per hour. Commissioner Gunsch stated the contractor for the Courthouse Expansion/Remodel would like to stay in the FEMA trailer to save on mileage. Auditor Brost stated it would save the county nearly $1,700 per month versus paying mileage. Commissioner Gunsch stated the Water Resource Board meets tomorrow and they will be discussing a bid from Drewes Construction for the drainage on the west end of Harmony Lake. Gunsch added there is a Vision West meeting June 14th and he would like to go in Buster Langowski’s place. The board agreed that would be a good idea. No further action was taken.
Sherwin Wanner, Houston Engineering, discussed the two task orders he has for the Landfill; one for capping cells one, two, and three and the other for the permitting process. Wanner stated the landfill is short on suitable growth material and there is enough for a one time borrow for cells one, two, and three; but, wasn’t sure where the future topsoil will come from. Wanner stated there needs to be effort into managing the compost to use in the future, and there will be costs associated with managing it (rotating and screening) annually. Wanner noted the caps consist of 18 inches of compacted clay, 12 inches of subsoil/loose fill vegetative layer, and six (6) inches of suitable plant growth material to make up the three (3) foot cap.
Wanner went through the timeline with the board stating the Ad for Bids will be in the paper on June 9th and run for 21 days, Pre-bid Conference will be held June 14th, and the Bid Opening is scheduled for July 6th at 11 AM. Wanner added the project substantial completion is set for September 30th and the final completion of October 21st.
Wanner discussed the permitting process with the board and stated it is not yet complete. Wanner stated in the operational characteristics there was not a lot of change. Wanner added they are taking a close look at the Financial Assurance. The closure fund is built up based on the tipping fees and this covers future capping of the cells. The Post-Closure fund is based on tipping fees and is for the yearly maintenance once the cap is on the cell. The Insurance fund is reserved for any issues with the site. Wanner stated the landfill is currently running cells four (4) and five (5), and they have 10 cells total at the site. Commissioner Scheurer stated two (2) of the cells should have been capped and closed prior to Candice Strand, Landfill Supervisor, working there and Mercer County is behind the eight ball. Scheurer added the cell is full and needs to be capped and if this had been done years ago the costs would be much lower. Chairman Tveit thanked Wanner, Strand, and Scheurer for taking care of this and getting things going. No further action was taken.
The board recessed at 9:39 AM.
The board reconvened at 9:45 AM.
Colette Schilling, Tax Director/Land Use Administrator, presented one (1) zoning case to the board. Motion made by Commissioner Murray, second by Commissioner Gunsch to approve Temporary Use Permit #476 issued to Joe Snow for a gravel pit in a portion of the S ½ SE ¼ Section 26 T144N R84W, with work limited to daylight hours. The area disturbed under this temporary use permit must be reclaimed by the applicant and must be approved and released by the County Road Superintendent. The haul road must be approved and released by the County Road Superintendent. The permit holder shall control weeds in an acceptable manner during the time the permit is in effect. On roll call vote; Murray, “Aye”, Gunsch, “Aye”, Entze, “Aye”, Scheurer, “Aye”, Tveit, “Aye”, motion carried.
The board continued their portfolio updates. Chairman Tveit reported he attended the Community Health Assessment with 55 other attendees from Dunn, Mercer, and Oliver counties. Tveit stated the two (2) highest priorities discovered in the assessment were the need for childcare and local availability for mental health services. Chairman Tveit added another item that was noteworthy from the assessment was the need and request for public transportation from the smaller communities, for example Pick City. Chairman Tveit also reported he attended former Auditor Leora Retterath’s 90th birthday party and the NDSU meet and greet in Beulah.
The board recessed at 9:54 AM.
The board reconvened at 10:00 AM.
Motion made by Commissioner Gunsch, second by Commissioner Murray to approve the County 37 Construction Agreement. 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 Utility Occupancy Application and Permits #1650-1652 to Bartlett and West for the Southwest Water Pipeline. On roll call vote; Scheurer, “Aye”, Entze, “Aye”, Gunsch, “Aye”, Murray, “Aye”, Tveit, “Aye”, motion carried.
Ken Miller, Road Superintendent, stated to use Mercer County’s federal funding a project must be bid by November, completion in 2017. Miller added the county should use it up and they could look at either County 13 or County 19. Daren Peterka, Interstate Engineering, stated if this is Mercer County’s plan, they need to get going on it right away because a simplified environmental checklist takes 45 days. Steve Dorval, Heartland Engineering, stated the only way to get County 13 done this year is by using state funding versus federal funding. Miller stated he would sit down and figure out exactly what the county has for monies. No further action was taken.
Miller presented an estimate from Veri Tech, Inc. in the amount of $15,035.93 for a 1,850 gallon anti-ice dispenser. Miller stated he would be able to get the material in Beulah, up to 10,000 gallons per year. He has yet to get a price on the material. Motion made by Commissioner Gunsch, second by Commissioner Murray to purchase the anti-ice dispenser in the amount of $15,035.93 using the equipment budget. On roll call vote; Gunsch, “Aye”, Murray, “Aye”, Entze, “Aye”, Scheurer, “Aye”, Tveit, “Aye”, motion carried.
The board reviewed the Outstanding Road Accounts. No further action was taken.
Chairman Tveit stated he was contacted by a constituent who would like to see a slow duck crossing by Harmony Lake on County 27. Miller stated studies have shown these types of signs are not effective. No further action was taken.
Chairman Tveit discussed the upcoming 2017 budget. Tveit stated the monthly financials show that 2016 is well within its budget thus far and as the county preplans for 2017, he would like department heads to consider the coal severance and conversion tax revenue could drop off significantly. Chairman Tveit asked every department to try and make a five percent (5%) cut to their upcoming budget with the exception of the Sheriff’s Department and County Road, a ten percent (10%) cut. Tveit added he does not want the salaries effected, but department heads should make the decisions of where they can cut—not the board. Chairman Tveit stated he would like to see a freeze on all hiring, including vacated positions, but if necessary the department head can come before the board and they will look at each need separately. Commissioner Gunsch stated he too is concerned with the upcoming budget season and the county needs to be cautious and make adjustments so the taxes do not have to be raised. Commissioner Scheurer stated the department heads should be making their budgets and then the portfolio holders can sit down and go through it with them. Commissioner Entze stated it is a good idea to go through budgets with the portfolios; adding, there is only one pot of money so departments really aren’t losing anything. Commissioner Murray stated this is a prudent thing to do. Adding, if the monies are there people tend to spend it and if we cut back it might not be missed as much as one would think. Commissioner Scheurer stated there are a lot of departments within the courthouse that run on the bare minimum, so they should take a look at what they have and cut if they can. No further action was taken.
The board recessed at 10:39 AM.
The board reconvened at 10:46 AM.
Next on the agenda was the review of the Road Agreement for Coyote Creek Mining Company. State’s Attorney Binder stated the proposed agreement and proposed resolution presented are based on previous discussions. The board reviewed the resolution, agreement, and exhibits A, B, and C. Motion made by Commissioner Murray, second by Commissioner Scheurer to approve the proposed resolution and agreement. Commissioner Entze asked what an affected landowner would be. State’s Attorney Binder stated those who travel the trail back and forth. Entze wondered if someone could get added down the road. Binder responded it is possible, but it would be a joint consideration between Mercer County and Coyote Creek. Dave Stralie, Coyote Creek, stated the mine doesn’t take people through the active mining area so they would have to use an alternate route if they weren’t on the list of affected landowners. On roll call vote; Murray, “Aye”, Scheurer, “Aye”, Entze, “Nay”, Gunsch, “Nay”, Tveit, “Aye”, motion carried.
The resolution reads as follows:
MERCER COUNTY COMMISSION
“WHEREAS, Coyote Creek Mining Company, L.L.C. (“Coyote Creek”) has petitioned the Board of County Commissioners of Mercer County, North Dakota ("Commission") to temporarily close the following described road, which interferes with surface coal mining operations, pursuant to the provisions of Chapters 38-01-07.1 and 38-01-07.2 of the North Dakota Century Code:
WHEREAS, a public hearing was held upon the Petition of Coyote Creek before the Commission on the 20th day of January, 2016, continued the 3rd day of February, 2016, the 17th day of February, 2016, and the 16th day of March, 2016, in the Courthouse in the City of Stanton, North Dakota, and the Commission having heard and considered all of the testimony and evidence presented.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Commission does hereby find, conclude and determine as follows:
1. That the Commission has jurisdiction over the subject matter of the Petition and the road involved therein.
2. That the Notice of Hearing on said Petition was duly served and published as required by law.
3. That the temporary closing of said road is necessary due to the fact that said road interferes with Coyote Creek’s surface coal mining and reclamation operations.
4. That said road is not required due to readily accessible alternate routes of travel.
5. That the temporary closing of said road does not deprive adjacent landowners access to their property.
6. That a public benefit exists in temporarily closing said road and that the interests of the public and affected landowners will be protected.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, based on the foregoing, that the Commission hereby determines and orders as follows:
1. That the following road be temporarily closed until such time as Coyote Creek’s surface coal mining and reclamation operations which affect the use of said road by the general public are completed:
Dated this 18th day of May, 2016.
MERCER COUNTY COMMISSION
/s/William L. Tveit, Chairman
ATTEST: Shana L. Brost, Mercer County Auditor”
The agreement reads as follows:
THIS AGREEMENT (“Agreement”) is made and entered into as of the 18th day of May, 2016, by and between Mercer County, whose address is P.O. Box 39, Stanton, North Dakota 58571 (“County”), and Coyote Creek Mining Company, L.L.C., whose address is 2000 Schafer Street, Suite D, Bismarck, North Dakota 58501-1204 (“Coyote Creek”).
W I T N E S S E T H:
WHEREAS, Coyote Creek is conducting surface coal mining operations in the area of Township 143 North, Range 89 West, Township 143 North, Range 88 West, Township 142 North, Range 89 West, and Township 142 North, Range 88 West, and plans to continue such operations in the future;
WHEREAS, by Petition dated December 16, 2015, Coyote Creek requested that the County temporarily close the road passing through the SW¼ of Section 31, T143N, R88W and the S½ of Section 36, T143N, R89W, hereinafter called the “Closed Road”, the location of which is depicted on Exhibit A, which is attached hereto and made a part hereof;
WHEREAS, as a condition of the County’s approval to temporarily close the Closed Road, Coyote Creek shall provide certain affected landowners access, through its active mining areas, to allow them access to their property located adjacent to or in the vicinity of the Closed Road, until the Closed Road is reconstructed in accordance with the terms and conditions of this Agreement; and
WHEREAS, during its surface coal mining and reclamation operations in the area of the Closed Road, Coyote Creek shall reconstruct the Closed Road, hereinafter called the “Reconstructed Closed Road”, at the location depicted on Exhibit A in accordance with the terms and conditions of this Agreement.
NOW, THEREFORE, in consideration of the mutual covenants and agreements herein contained, the County and Coyote Creek hereby agree as follows:
1. Coyote Creek shall construct phased temporary access trails, hereinafter called the “Access Trails”, through its active mining areas at the approximate locations and times depicted on Exhibit B, which is attached hereto and made a part hereof. Coyote Creek will secure the entrance of the Access Trails on the west end near County Road 13 and on the east end near the quarter line between the SW¼ and the SE¼ of Section 31, Township 143 North, Range 88 West with either padlocked metal gates or solar powered electronic gates with card key pads, at the sole discretion of Coyote Creek. The gates will be installed on flattened surfaces large enough to accommodate a pickup pulling a cattle trailer.
2. Coyote Creek and the County have designated Casey Voigt and Julie Voigt; Shawn Unruh and SheVele Unruh; Austin Jensen and Destinee Jensen; Sharon Unruh; Mardee Reich; Jim Swenson; Trent Martin; Jason Erickson; Richard Scheid; and Nancy Scheid as landowners needing to use the Access Trails to access their properties located adjacent to or in the vicinity of the Closed Road, hereinafter called the “Affected Landowners”. Coyote Creek shall provide keys to access and use the Access Trails without an escort to properly trained Affected Landowners with MSHA and hazard training. All other Affected Landowners will be allowed to use the Access Trails with an escort with only hazard training. In the event another landowner desires to use the Access Trails as an Affected Landowner, they must provide documentation supporting their need to use the Access Trails to access their properties located adjacent to or in the vicinity of the Closed Road to Coyote Creek and the County. Coyote Creek and the County shall determine if this Agreement will be amended to include such landowner as an Affected Landowner. If any Affected Landowner transfers property to a third party who requires similar access, Coyote Creek and the County hereby agree to consider amending this Agreement accordingly.
3. Prior to accessing and using the Access Trails, the Affected Landowners must agree to, complete and comply with the safety requirements established by Coyote Creek as set forth on Exhibit C attached hereto and made a part hereof, along with all other applicable federal, state and County laws and regulations. It is understood and agreed that the safety requirements identified on Exhibit C may be changed, modified or amended at any time or from time to time at the sole discretion of Coyote Creek. If the safety requirements are changed, modified or amended by Coyote Creek, the County and Coyote Creek shall execute an amendment to this Agreement to replace the existing Exhibit C with a revised Exhibit C incorporating the changed, modified or amended safety requirements and inform the Affected Landowners.
4. Coyote Creek shall construct the Reconstructed Closed Road on the east-west quarter line between the N½ and the S½ of Section 36, T143N, R89W; on the north-south section line between the SE¼ of Section 36, T143N, R89W and the SW¼ of Section 31, T143N, R88W; and on the current location of the Closed Road through the SW¼ of Section 31, T143N, R88W; the location of which is depicted on Exhibit A. The Reconstructed Closed Road shall be constructed to a condition similar to the then existing condition of the road connecting the Reconstructed Closed Road to the paved portion of 17th Street SW as depicted on Exhibit A.
5. The County shall secure the right-of-way easements necessary to construct the Reconstructed Closed Road.
6. Coyote Creek anticipates that the Reconstructed Closed Road will be available for use by the Affected Landowners subject to the safety requirements set forth on Exhibit C by the year 2024 and with no restrictions to the general public by year 2040. Coyote Creek shall meet with the County annually to review the then existing status of the Access Trails and the Reconstructed Closed Road.
7. Any notices required or permitted hereunder shall be given by mailing the same, postage prepaid, to the other party as follows:
To the County:
P.O. Box 39
Stanton, ND 58571
Attention: Mercer County Auditor
To Coyote Creek:
Coyote Creek Mining Company, L.L.C.
2000 Schafer Street, Suite D
Bismarck, ND 58501-1204
Attention: Land Manager
Either party may amend the name or address to which notices shall be sent by furnishing such new name and address to the other party in the manner herein provided for giving other notices.
8. This Agreement shall be binding upon and shall inure to the benefit of the parties hereto and their successors and assigns.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the parties hereto have executed this Agreement as of the day and year first above written.
MERCER COUNTY BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
/s/William L. Tveit, Chairman
ATTEST: Shana L. Brost, Mercer County Auditor”
Travis Fuechtmann, Contegrity Group, updated the board on the Courthouse Expansion/Remodel stating they are progressing with site excavation and artifact exploration concurrently. Jim Theurer, Contegrity Group, stated they transferred the power last Saturday and all went well. Theurer added Monday the concrete pads would be poured for the columns and pads. Currently they are excavating on the north side of the jail and they had to cut out a portion of the driveway to the sally port for safety reasons. Theurer stated AECOM still has small areas to take care of, and they are finding a lot of old bore holes and glass. Theurer noted Monday the mason would be mobilizing. Theurer stated even though the archeologists are here a bit longer than expected, the project is still on schedule since they got an early start. Theurer noted there will be no reports from the archeologists until the project is completely done and the only way to get a report is to get written permission from SHPO. Adding, AECOM has to follow SHPO’s guidelines. Theurer stated on the weekends people are driving back onto the construction site and that is something that cannot happen. Motion made by Commissioner Gunsch, second by Commissioner Murray to allow the use of Mercer County’s FEMA trailer upon written agreement for the contractors working on the courthouse project. On roll call vote; Gunsch, “Aye”, Murray, “Aye”, Entze, “Aye”, Scheurer, “Aye”, Tveit, “Aye”, motion carried.
The board recessed at 11:19 AM.
The board reconvened at 11:30 AM.
The board held its first reading of the Mercer County Policy Handbook. Auditor Brost questioned the wording under the employment category of regular Part-Time stating they can work no more than 32 hours. Brost wondered what would happen if there was an emergency situation and the employee needed to work more one week. The board stated it could be added “unless approved by immediate supervisor.” Auditor Brost also questioned the deletion of the benefits schedule wondering how she would prorate the health benefits of an employee that was out for reasons other than FMLA and didn’t work the required 32 hours that week. The board asked Auditor Brost to look into what other counties do. Chairman Tveit felt the Bereavement Leave should be left as is, as the new proposed policy is open-ended. State’s Attorney Binder stated it is meant to include unmarried couples and the policy was adopted from the domestic violence statutes. Binder added the nature of relationships are different. Commissioner Gunsch read the memo from Dawn Grannis on a smoking policy. Grannis stated she would like to have the NDCC 23-12-10.2 smoking policy in Mercer County’s policy. The board agreed to add the policy.
There being no further business, on motion duly made and second, the meeting was adjourned at 11:50 AM CST. The next regular meeting of the commission will be June 1, 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