Most recently approved County Commission Minutes



Mercer County Commission
October 19, 2016


The meeting was called to order at 9:00 AM CT by Chairman Tveit, also present was Commissioner Scheurer, Commissioner Entze, Commissioner Murray, State’s Attorney Binder, and Auditor Brost.  Also present was Roger Kennedy, Danny Bakken, and Dwight Berger.  

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

Motion made by Commissioner Gunsch, second by Commissioner Murray to approve the minutes of the October 4th special meeting and October 5th meeting.  All members voted “Aye”, motion carried.

Motion made by Commissioner Scheurer, second by Commissioner Entze to approve the bills as follows: Advanced Business Methods, $233.91; American Welding, $113.95; Ameripride, $18.23; Anderson Western, $1058577.64; Michelle Anderson, $48.00; APCO International, $92.00; Craig Askim, $246.18; Bechtold Paving, $250106.18; Darbie Berger, $57.78; Best Western, $737.10; BHG, $340.00; Jessica Binder, $129.60; Bismarck Cancer Center, $140.00; BCBS, $59461.70; Bob’s Photo, $7.99; Shana Brost, $64.80; Butler Machinery, $994.62; Café Dumond, $52.00; Chesak Seed House, $858.00; City of Golden Valley, $29.00; City of Stanton, $4092.54; Custer Health District, $4470.95; D & E Supply, $1123.17; Dakota Staffing, $2375.21; Dakotaland Autoglass, $181.52; Direct Med, $773.15; Downtown Gas & Auto, $104.00; Electronic Communications, $1000.00; FUO, $8966.06; Fireside Office Supplies, $100.72; Garrison Veterinary Service, $172.85; Wes Gunsch, $202.50; Hazen Drug, $21.20; Hedahl’s, $4.46; Implementation Specialists, $742.50; ITD, $896.20; Interstate Engineering, $740.00; Intoxometers, $109.00; J & L Automotive, $935.83; J & M, $100.92; Kathy Johnson, $173.21; Dena Kemmet, $7.56; Wanda Knutson, $244.16; Language Line Services, $90.00; Lexis-Nexis, $186.43; Mac’s, $125.77; Menards, $366.23; MIDCO, $228.27; Morton County Extension, $75.00; Gary Murray, $217.94; NACCTFO, $75.00; Napa, $1326.87; NDCEL, $275.00; NDACO Resources Group, $773.45; ND Secretary of State, $36.00; NDSU Extension Service, $1030.00; OK Automotive, $134.58; Pharmchem, $1400.00; Queen City Motors, $80.29; Quill Office Products, $190.73; RDO Equipment, $42.53; Redwood Biotech, $1312.31; Redwood Toxicology, $332.26; Retterath Real Estate, $675.00; Rockmount Research, $1137.63; Roughrider Electric, $1198.36; Roughrider Electric, $1198.36; Roughrider Homes & RV’s, $10.19; S & M Lawn Service, $290.00; Kirkwood Scheels, $74.97; Duane Scheurer, $268.16; Shopko, $104.78; SimplexGrinnell, $935.07; SBM, $101.42; SW Water, $44.19; St Alexius, $250.00; Staples, $605.21; Stroup Insurance, $50.00; Team Laboratory Chemical Corp, $269.50; The Attic, $1560.00; The Hub, $57.20; Trane, $1633.38; Willian Tveit, $105.30; Ultramax, $236.00; Uniform Center, $553.78; Wex, $6158.18; WRT, $4821.76.  All members voted “Aye”, motion carried.

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

The board discussed the county’s North Dakota State Fair Delegate.  Motion made by Commissioner Murray, second by Commissioner Gunsch to appoint Gary Knell as the North Dakota State Fair Delegate for Mercer County.  All members voted “Aye”, motion carried.

The board reviewed the nurse’s quarterly report.  No further action was taken.

The board reviewed the 911/Emergency Managers quarterly report.  No further action was taken.

Motion made by Commissioner Scheurer, second by Commissioner Murray to approve the September Recorder’s fees in the amount of $4,199.50 and the September Sheriff’s fees in the amount of $14,274.72.  All members voted “Aye”, motion carried.

Commissioner Gunsch discussed the maintenance/custodial position staffed through Dakota Staffing Solutions.  Gunsch stated if the county hires the Dakota Staffing employee, it would approximately save the county $1,200 through the rest of this year including a full benefit package.  Commissioner Gunsch added this will be a posted position the Dakota Staffing employee would apply for.  Motion made by Commissioner Gunsch, second by Commissioner Murray to post the maintenance/custodial position depending on experience starting November 1, 2016.  Commissioner Scheurer asked if the $1,200 in savings included benefits and Commissioner Gunsch stated it did.  All members voted “Aye”, motion carried.

Commissioner Gunsch stated the evening custodian resigned and would like to advertise through Dakota Staffing to get another person on board.  The position is 32 hours a week, and the county would be able to hire them full time after 90 days.  Chairman Tveit thanked Commissioner Gunsch for the information.

The board gave their portfolio updates.  Commissioner Entze stated there is a problem with the AWOS system and the Airport Authority is working with the state to bid out a new system and they are hoping for a 50/50 cost share.  Commissioner Entze reported the Weed Board is wrapping up and still have been spraying where the frost hasn’t hit.

Darbie Berger, Treasurer, informed the board of two things that may be discussed during the next legislative session.  Berger stated there is a Truth in Taxation statement that will need to be sent out to anyone who had a tax increase and the state will not fund it.  Berger added the 12% state paid credit is going away to fund social services.  Chairman Tveit asked if both these topics were pending legislative action and Berger responded yes.  Commissioner Gunsch stated he is concerned about the state taking over social services because the money still has to come from somewhere.  Commissioner Entze stated the state will not fully take over social services because the county will still be responsible for payroll and that is the biggest part of social services.  No further action was taken.

State’s Attorney Binder discussed a letter from the Bureau of Land Management inviting Mercer County to participate as a cooperating agency in the preparation of a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for the Federal Coal Program pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act.  Binder stated the board had three options.  Option one allows the board to sit at the table during the analytic process and a Memorandum of Understanding would be signed.  Option two the BLM comes up with what they want to do and Mercer County can comment on it like the general public.  Option three is choosing not to participate at all.  Commissioner Gunsch stated Mercer County should be informed in some form.  State’s Attorney Binder stated the county does not know what the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding would be, what it means, what BLM expects, but if the county did not feel comfortable with it they wouldn’t have to go through with it.  Chairman Tveit stated the county should be involved just to stay informed for as much coal as there is in the county.  Tveit added he didn’t think the board could just sit back and assume someone will look out for the county’s best interest.  State’s Attorney Binder stated it is reminiscent of the EPA and the Clean Power Act, and this provides the county a chance to put a hometown spin on it.  Motion made by Commissioner Entze, second by Commissioner Gunsch to go with option one and work their way through it as far as they can go.  All members voted “Aye”, motion carried.

Colette Schilling, Tax Director/Land Use Administrator, presented the board with one zoning case.  Motion made by Commissioner Gunsch, second by Commissioner Scheurer to approve zoning case #16-09-01 issued to Carol Weigum for a non-farm residence on 9.78 acres located in the SW ¼ SW ¼ SW ¼ Section 2 T144N R89W.  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 and residents must provide a school bus turnaround if needed.  A copy of the abstract is required to describe the land since there is no survey on file.  This land is being grandfathered in and Planning & Zoning will forgo the survey.  Commissioner Gunsch asked if the survey was okay and Schilling stated it was.  All members voted “Aye”, motion carried.

The board continued with their portfolio updates.  Commissioner Scheurer stated there is an upcoming Ambulance Board meeting on the 24th in Beulah at 6 PM.  Scheurer also reported things are moving along at the landfill with the capping project and are looking to finish next week.  Commissioner Murray reported on the Dakota Prairie Resource Conservation and Development board stating they work closely with the soil conservation districts.  Chairman Tveit stated he spent the last week following up on budgeting items, and met with the Road Department, Sheriff’s Department, Auditor’s office and Tax Director’s office.

Jesse Noel, Dakota Westmoreland Cooperation, discussed with the board re-routing County 12.  Noel stated they have a contract with Heskitt Plant for 400,000 ton of coal per month and to continuing mining County 12 would be in the way.  Noel added they are looking at re-routing County 12—a one mile section along Section 29 to keep traffic away from the mining area.  Noel proposed to the board they hire Interstate Engineering, Inc. to survey this fall and work to begin next spring.  Commissioner Gunsch asked if DWC planned to go east with the mining or further south.  Noel stated based on the tonnage level they are trying to do it in small increments.  Commissioner Gunsch stated he favored the re-route over an at-grade crossing or underpass.  Noel stated he would be visiting with effected neighbors in the near future to let them know of their plans.  No further action was taken.

The board recessed at 9:50 AM.

The board reconvened at 10:00 AM.

Next on the agenda was road issues.  Motion made by Commissioner Gunsch, second by Commissioner Murray to approve Utility Occupancy Application and Permit #1675 and 1676 issued to West River Telephone to install new fiber optic facilities.  All members voted “Aye”, motion carried.

Motion made by Commissioner Scheurer, second by Commissioner Gunsch to approve Utility Occupancy Application and Permit #1677 issued to Coyote Creek Mines, LLC to bore a two-inch waterline under County 13 to supply Southwest Water from Section 11 to livestock tanks east of County 13.  All members voted “Aye”, motion carried.

The board reviewed the outstanding road accounts.  No further action was taken.

Commissioner Entze discussed County 16 stating it has deep holes that need to be filled with gravel before it freezes.  Road Secretary, Rachel Grimm, stated she would take that information back to the Road Superintendent. 

Commissioner Gunsch gave the board his portfolio update.  Gunsch reported the Water Board met last week and they are in the process of negotiating mitigation acres for the Lakeshore Estates project.  Commissioner Gunsch also reported there will not be a Planning & Zoning meeting this month since they did not receive any permits.  Commissioner Gunsch stated there were four resolutions passed to be recommended to the legislature during the NDACo delegate meeting.  Resolution 2016-1 is a stepping up initiative to develop a plan to be proactive with mental illness issues.  Resolution 2016-2 is a statewide interoperable radio network.  Resolution 2016-3 would enact a $300 and two-point fine for texting and driving.  Resolution 2016-4 is to update and improve the assessment process.

The board recessed at 10:20 AM.

The board reconvened at 10:30 AM.

Luanna Fisketjohn, Bayview Heights Association President, discussed with the board the road through the subdivision that has to be chip sealed this year and since the cost is under $50,000 they will be unable to do a special assessment district.  Fisketjohn stated all these years, the folks of Bayview Heights haven’t asked the county for a dime and the county was able to take their share of taxable dollars and use them elsewhere in the county.  Fisketjohn added she knows where the county is financially, but requested some help from the county.  Chairman Tveit asked how many residents of the 45 at Bayview Heights were full time.  Fisketjohn replied five were, and in the past years have received snow removal and mowing twice a year; for that, they are very grateful and the law mowing this year was amazing.  Fisketjohn added the estimate for the chip seal was $46,000.  Chairman Tveit told Fisketjohn he appreciated her coming in and the county understands her concerns.  Commissioner Entze asked if they planned on engineering the road first and Fisketjohn replied no.  Commissioner Scheurer stated a good assessment needs to be done and a chip seal will not help the soft spots.  Chairman Tveit stated the county is fixed in the 2017 budget and would not be able to help this year.  Fisketjohn asked if it would be possible to wait and get in on the 2018 budget.  Commissioner Gunsch stated the county needs to be careful because they have so many subdivisions along the lake.  Fisketjohn noted Bayview Heights has more public access and was created by the Corp of Engineers and for these reasons it is a valid argument.  The board thanked Fisketjohn for coming in.

Schilling discussed market values on the properties to be foreclosed on with the board.  Schilling presented the following values on the properties listed below:

Joseph Stewart                 Lots 11&12 Less N 14’ E ½ Blk 23           305 1st Ave NE                  $30,739.33

Richard/Jill Robillard   Lot 7 Blk 7 Fairview Add                             420 Fair St SW                  $5,436.30

Keith Morast                     Lot 4 Blk 1 Keller Temme Add                  204 Fair St SE                   $19,236.94

RCRT Properties             Lot 4 Blk 2 First Add                                      2nd Ave NE                         $3,393.09

Silver Leaf Enterprises Part of Blk 3 Lots 1&4 Blk 4 Part Lots 5&6 3rd Street                 $200,007.25

Wayne Cofer                     Lots 15,16,17,18 Blk 14                               201 Central Ave               $17,086.19

Motion made by Commissioner Gunsch, second by Commissioner Murray to approve the market values Tax Director Schilling set on the properties.  All members voted “Aye”, motion carried.

The board recessed at 11:12 AM.

The board reconvened at 11:17 AM.

Chairman Tveit stated he has visited with several departments about budget cuts.  The road department agreed to cut $87,514 from their 2017 budget.  They will be freezing the two open positions saving $83,364, cut seed by $750, reduced phone by $500, cut office supplies by $400, cut culverts by $1,000, reduced the fence line item by $500, and tires by $1,000.  Tveit stated the Sheriff’s department cut one new dispatch position for $18,000 and one vehicle purchase for $30,000.  Commissioner Tveit stated the extra hours given to the Treasurer’s office and Clerk’s office from 480 to 600 for part time help cost $4,398, and proposed to scale them back to 480 hours.  Commissioner Tveit added the Tax Director proposed a part-time position, saving $19,000 plus benefits.  Commissioner Gunsch stated he visited with Jim Albers, Maintenance Engineer, and he is willing to cut building maintenance from $100,000 to $50,000.  Motion made by Commissioner Gunsch, second by Commissioner Entze to reduce the specific expenditures for the 2017 budget.  Chairman Tveit stated the part time help would remain at 600 hours and Treasurer Berger’s salary would remain as proposed.  Commissioner Gunsch stated with the cuts the budget would be reduced by $204,514.  On roll call vote; Gunsch, “Aye”, Entze, “Aye”, Scheurer, “Aye”, Murray, “Aye”, Tveit, “Aye”, motion carried.

There being no further business, on motion duly made and second, the meeting was adjourned at 11:42 AM CST.  The next regular meeting of the commission will be November 2, 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