Mercer County Commission
February 4, 2015
The meeting was called to order at 9:00 AM CT by Chairman Murray, also present was Commissioner Scheurer, Commissioner Entze, Commissioner Tveit, Commissioner Gunsch, State’s Attorney Binder and Auditor Brost.
Motion made by Commissioner Entze, second by Commissioner Tveit to approve the agenda with additions. All members voted “Aye”, motion carried.
Motion made by Commissioner Gunsch, second by Commissioner Scheurer to approve the minutes of the January 21st regular meeting. All members voted “Aye”, motion carried.
Motion made by Commissioner Tveit, second by Commissioner Scheurer to approve the payment of bills as follows: Cardmember Service, $22.99; Midwest Canine Alternatives, Inc., $250.00; RDO Equipment Co., $394.86; Verizon Wireless, $648.80; N.D. Game and Fish, $63,633.00; Beulah City Park District, $73,389.33; Beulah Fire Protection District, $3,242.94; Beulah School District, $357,880.79; Center Stanton School District #1, $18,652.31; City of Beulah, $352,839.80; City of Golden Valley, $4,442.52; City of Hazen, $180,099.04; City of Pick City, $9,994.90; City of Stanton, $11,247.87; City of Zap, $7,127.29; Fort Clark Irrigation District, $3,919.50; Glen Ullin Rural Fire District, $141.11; Glen Ullin School District #48, $1,865.05; Golden Valley Rural Fire District, $2,241.38; Halliday Public School District, $11.52; Halliday Rural Fire District, $1081.62; Hazen City Park District, $35,984.90; Hazen Rural Fire District, $12,005.77; Hazen School District 3, $195,344.15; Hebron Public School District 13, $16,059.05; Hebron Fire Protection District, $1,565.78; ND State Treasurer, $8,269.62; Soil Conservation District, $9,420.81; Southwest Water Authority, $11,154.08; Stanton City Park District, $2,006.95; Stanton Rural Fire Protection, $4,263.43; Underwood School District, $26,044.56; Zap City Park District, $2,078.40; Zap Rural Fire Protection, $3,536.06; Blue Cross Blue Shield of ND, $50,654.79; Custer Health District, $40,446.83; Thomas D. Kaspari, MD PC, $200.00; McLean Mercer Library, $47,112.02; Mercer & McLean Counties, $19,034.76; Mercer County Ambulance Service, $35,095.72; Mercer County Fair Association, $11,314.68; Mercer County Historical Society, $3,105.25; Mercer County Regional Airport, $30,293.63; Montana Dakota Utilities, $110.72; Vanguard Appraisals Inc., $275.00; Verizon Wireless, $179.19; Water Resource District, $43,514.47; Beulah Chamber of Commerce, $55.00; Beulah Job Development Authority, $606.34; BHG, Inc., $3,856.92; ND Secretary of State, $36.00; Neuberger Oil Company, $1,459.74; Office Depot Inc., $71.14; Pretty Petals, $45.00; Puklich Chevrolet, Inc., $2,111.81; Quality Printing Service Inc., $274.78; Radisson Hotel-Bismarck, $74.70; Carmen Reed, $561.89; Solem Law Office, $256.10; Southwest Business Machines Inc., $396.15; Staples Credit Plan, $976.64; Candy Strand, $178.72; Stroup Insurance Inc., $50.00; Subway #12480; $230.00; Venture Marketing, $29.95; Verizon Wireless, $46.44; 3-D Specialties Inc., $563.56; Beulah Dental, $53.00; Beulah Drug, $305.51; Beulah Lumber Co., $35.82; BHG, Inc., $645.37; Erica Borlaug, $49.87; Bronson’s Supervalu, $5,188.53; Coal Country CHC, $154.00; Colonial Research Chemical Corp., $318.43; Custer Health District, $92.00; D & E Supply Co. Inc., $499.98; Wright Express FSC, $4,151.84; Galls/Quartermaster, $762.87; Graphics Lettering & Trim, $80.00; Intoximeters, $160.00; J & M Hardware, Inc., $4.49; Krause Supervalu, $512.09; Mac’s Inc., $104.71; Mid-State Organized Crime Information Center, $150.00; ND Chapter IAAI, $20.00; ND State Radio Communications, $510.00; Northwest Tire Auto Service Inc., $1,562.88; Oral Surgery Center of Bismarck, PC, $1,060.00; PharmChem, Inc., $1,216.00; Red Wing Shoe Store, $127.49; Redwood Biotech Inc., $86.00; Reliance Telephone Systems, Inc., $900.00; Uniform Center, $514.93; Verizon Wireless, $1,160.90; AmeriPride Services Inc., $123.81; Beulah Lumber Co., $22.99; Jessica Binder J., $515.04; Bronson’s Supervalu, $1.09; Shana Brost, $69.60; Butler Machinery Co., $167,463.77; CenturyLink, $272.42; City of Beulah, $74.93; City of Killdeer, $70.00; Corner Express of Center L.L.C., $33.50; Dakota Prairies RC & D, $400.00; DirectMed, $214.76; Gary Emter, $25.00; Farmers Union Oil Co., $6,150.72; Filter Care of Grafton Inc., $51.77; Jay Gangl, $218.80; Grandview Steakhouse, $144.42; Hazen Motor Co., $14.00; Implementation Specialists, $1,792.50; J & L Automotive LLC, $183.99; Johnsen Trailer Sales, Inc., $24.43; Klein McCarthy Architects, $907.73; Marshall & Swift, $339.95; Napa, $1,498.84; NDACo Resources Group, $2,962.68; ND Association of Counties, $58.00; ND Association of Counties, $1,471.45; Advanced Business Methods, $141.16; D & E Supply Co. Inc., $464.38; Farmers Union Oil Co., $40.72; Farmers Union Insurances, $71,541.00; Hedahl’s Inc., $36.41; Office Depot Inc., $317.36; Shopko Stores Operating Co., LLC, $57.75. All members voted “Aye”, motion carried.
Treasurer Berger presented the board with a request to return the two checks from the Mercer County Housing Authority for the payment of their taxes and special assessments. Berger stated the Housing Authority would be putting the funds towards properties in Stanton and Golden Valley. Motion made by Commissioner Gunsch, second by Commissioner Entze to return the checks to the Mercer County Housing Authority in the amount of $12,632.50. All members voted “Aye”, motion carried.
Treasurer Berger stated she needed to order a new printer for her office in the amount of $1,095.00. Berger stated these prices included a warranty and service agreement. Berger also informed the board there would be a retirement party for Sarah Bauer on February 20th at 10 AM CT at the courthouse.
The board discussed County Government Month. Auditor Brost stated Golden Valley was the next city in the rotation. After a brief discussion, the board decided to hold a luncheon at Golden Valley on April 9th from 11 AM until 1 PM. No further action was taken.
Motion made by Commissioner Entze, second by Commissioner Tveit to approve the Sheriff’s Policy and Procedure Manual Adoption. All members voted “Aye”, motion carried.
Motion made by Commissioner Tveit, second by Commissioner Gunsch to approve the agreement for nursing with Custer Health District for 2015. All members voted “Aye”, motion carried.
Motion made by Commissioner Gunsch, second by Commissioner Scheurer to appoint Commissioner Tveit to the Dakota Central Social Services Board effective January 1, 2015 until December 31, 2017. All members voted “Aye”, motion carried.
Motion made by Commissioner Gunsch, second by Commissioner Tveit to approve Buster Langowski’s participation and pay for any expenses such as travel, meals and lodging pertaining to Vision West North Dakota. All members voted “Aye”, motion carried.
Dennis Rohlfs discussed the Sakakawea Estates Road with the board. Rohlfs stated in 1973 the original plat was created and in the abstract it noted Sakakawea Estates Road a county road seven times. Rohlfs noted there are 26 other subdivisions in Mercer County but Sakakawea Estates was established before the county had a Planning & Zoning board. Rohlfs presented an easement that stated the county has the responsibility to maintain the road. He continued by stating that if the road is used by the public for more than 20 years and the governing body has not vacated it, it becomes a county road; and the road has been used by the public for 40 years. Rohlfs stated he feels it clearly shows Sakakawea Estates Road is a county road. State’s Attorney Binder stated Rohlfs makes a great case that it is a county road, but she has found contradicting information and at this point the county just needs to decide what to do with the road. Binder stated if the county accepts it as a county road improvements to the road would still be at the discretion of the county commissioners and the county would need to make sure the road is not dangerous to a reasonable driver and maintain the road in a reasonably safe condition. State’s Attorney Binder added that declaring this road a county road could be problematic at the same time because encroachments would need to be moved out of the county’s right-of-way. Rohlfs stated there were minutes from October 11, 1991 the board gave direction to the county engineer to fix the drainage issues on this road. Commissioner Tveit stated with the letters Rohlfs presented, the minutes from 1991, and the easement from the Department of Army signed by the Mercer County Commissioners leads him to believe the county assumed this was a county road and feels the county needs to take ownership of the road and move forward. Motion made by Commissioner Tveit, second by Commissioner Scheurer to formally designate the road going through Sakakawea Estates as a county road and adopt through a formal resolution at the February 18, 2015 meeting. All members voted “Aye”, motion carried.
Motion made by Commissioner Entze, second by Commissioner Scheurer to set the Annual Bid Letting on March 4, 2015 at 10 AM CT. All members voted “Aye”, motion carried.
Commissioner Tveit discussed the encroachment issues within the SE ¼ Section 36 T146N R85W, the eight acres of land north of Stanton the county owns. Tveit stated the minutes from the November 17, 2010 meeting states the county granted Sandra Roers permission to move her fence into the county’s right-of-way so as long as it is no closer than 75 feet from the centerline of the road. Commissioner Tveit stated there was a posted sign placed on the public property illegally that needs to be taken care of. Tveit added that he would like to see the board move forward and discuss what to do with the remaining five acres if they choose to leave the fence in place. Commissioner Tveit noted there is 160 acres of state public land down below the road. State’s Attorney Binder stated she has the sole discretion in charging criminal cases and she would talk to Sheriff Danzeisen about the posted sign. Binder added this is not an encroachment issue, it is a landowner to landowner dispute and the county needs to determine if the fence is where the permission was granted. Commissioner Tveit asked if the land could just go back to the landowner or if the county needed to put the land up for bids. State’s Attorney Binder stated she would need to check into the legalities of whether it can go back to the landowner or needs to go out for bids. Motion made by Commissioner Tveit, second by Commissioner Gunsch to table the issue until State’s Attorney Binder researches the county’s options. All members voted “Aye”, motion carried.
Motion made by Commissioner Scheurer, second by Commissioner Entze to approve the reimbursement request for County 21 in the amount of $688,705.47 from the North Dakota Department of Transportation. All members voted “Aye”, motion carried.
Motion made by Commissioner Gunsch, second by Commissioner Scheurer to approve the Notice to Proceed to Bituminous Paving, Inc. to commence work in accordance with the Construction Agreement on or before February 14, 2015 with work to be completed by September 1, 2015. All members voted “Aye”, motion carried.
The board reviewed the Engineering Services Contract from Interstate Engineering, Inc. Road Superintendent, Ken Miller, presented Interstate Engineering with an additional letter of what Mercer County expects from their county engineer. After the board discussed the list of expectations there were a few changes to be made. Motion made by Commissioner Gunsch, second by Commissioner Entze to table the contract until the February 18th meeting to allow for the changes to be made. All members voted “Aye”, motion carried.
Road Superintendent Miller stated Dale Heglund, ND LTAP notified him that Mercer County would be receiving a five day blade operator training at no expense to the county.
Motion made by Commissioner Scheurer, second by Commissioner Tveit to approve the County 15 plans and specifications. All members voted “Aye”, motion carried.
Motion made by Commissioner Gunsch, second by Commissioner Scheurer to give Interstate Engineering, Inc. permission to advertise for County 15 Cut-Across and set the bid letting for March 18, 2015 at 10 AM CT. All members voted “Aye”, motion carried.
Lonny Russell asked the board if Mercer County trains their blade operators. Miller stated they do.
The board recessed at 10:45 AM.
The board reconvened at 10:55 AM.
Darrold Bertsch, Sakakawea Medical Center, updated the board on their construction project and on healthcare legislation. Bertsch stated HB 1376 is a bill that would allow counties and cities to make donations to hospitals. Bertsch added that over the last eight (8) years he has had thirty-six (36) critical access hospitals send him their financial statements and in 2014 only eight (8) of the hospitals could financially make ends meet. In 2013 twelve (12) hospitals could make ends meet and in 2012 eleven (11) could. Bertsch stated that SMC is in the positive margin and has done well financially and they feel blessed. Bertsch stated HB 1458 is to help rural hospitals with bad debt. Bertsch added that SMC over a three (3) year average has had about $700,000 in bad debt. Bertsch is hoping the bad debt will get better with the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid Expansion program. HB 1286 relates to the infrastructure loan fund that would provide low interest loans through the Bank of North Dakota for infrastructure projects. The passage of this bill will replenish the infrastructure loan fund so entities can access more monies. HB 1173 is to make grant monies available to support home healthcare and hospice care in western North Dakota. Bertsch updated the board on SMC’s Capital Campaign and Construction project. Bertsch stated they have a goal of $4.1 million in donations and to-date they have received commitments for over $2 million. Bertsch stated they are trying to find out what their costs are going to be for sure for the scope of the project, but are still moving forward with the project this year. Bertsch stated the SMC Foundation will be holding community meetings next week to let the community know where they are at with the project. The board thanked Bertsch for all the updates.
Commissioner Gunsch addressed the board about the procedure in which they approve bills. Gunsch stated at the city council level, each portfolio holder would review the actual bills and then sign off on them. Chairman Murray stated they used to pass all the bills around the table at the beginning of every meeting, but it took almost an hour and he feels that the spreadsheet is detailed enough. No further action was taken.
Commissioner Gunsch asked the board if they knew which boards the commissioners sit on having voting rights. Commissioner Entze stated that on the Weed Board the commissioners are just a liaison and the Fair Board too. Chairman Murray stated the Coal Conversion and Lewis & Clark the commissioners had voting rights.
Commissioner Gunsch stated there was a Water Board meeting last Wednesday at 1 PM and the hearing on the Roers drainage issue scheduled for the 13th of February has been postponed.
In reports from the Mercer County Economic Development board, since the chairman was not present there wasn’t a whole lot discussed. Commissioner Gunsch stated the cities have donated monies for a housing survey.
Commissioner Scheurer stated the City of Golden Valley received a letter that Joe Armstrong scrapped his plans for the Golden Valley Crew Lodging due to the low oil prices and is now looking into funding for low income housing.
Auditor Brost stated the Extension Agency would be holding their yearly performance appraisals on March 12th and stated Craig Askim has requested a commissioner be present. Commissioner Scheurer stated he would attend.
Chairman Murray stated at the Coal Conversion meeting they were actively watching SB 1036 in regards to Beneficiation Tax. Murray stated Senator Unruh is in support of the bill to eliminate the double tax.
Commissioner Entze stated at the Mercer County Regional Airport they are working on FFA funds to pay for the apron and floor concrete of the new hangar that was put up. Entze added they are looking into the contract that would allow the UND to use the airport for a drone training site.
Commissioner Entze reported on the Weed Board bids for chemicals will be going out, the new pick up is on order from Hazen Motors, cost sharing rates with the county were discussed, and there have been no applicants yet for the seasonal position.
Commissioner Tveit raised the question if it was time the county started looking into hiring an Assistant State’s Attorney due to Binder’s busy schedule. State’s Attorney Binder stated the dynamic of criminal cases has changed over the years and she is now seeing more felonies. Binder added she has to prioritize her time and it is not her intention to push the requests of the board to the back burner.
Auditor Brost stated the ad for bids for the cropland for lease will be published in the paper and the bid letting was set for March 4, 2015 at 11:00 AM CT.
There being no further business, on motion duly made and second, the meeting was adjourned at 11:41 AM CST. The next regular meeting of the commission will be February 18, 2015 at 9:00 AM CT in the courtroom of the Courthouse, Stanton, North Dakota.
Approved: Gary Murray, Chairman
Attest: Shana L. Brost, Auditor