Mercer County Commission
May 16, 2018
The meeting was called to order at 9:00 a.m. by Chairman Duane Scheurer with the meeting being videotaped. Present were Commissioners Gary Murray, Wayne Entze, Wes Gunsch, Dwight Berger, and Auditor Shana Brost. Others present during portions of the meeting were: State’s Attorney Binder, Ashely Miller, Pam Pehl, Colette Schilling, Wanda Knutson, Eric Urness, David Straley, Chris Friez, Sarah Flath, Dale Wilson, Russ Myran, Vern Boeshans, Kayla Torgerson, Roy Mitchell, Joe Spiekermeier, Rylan Sundsbak, Ken Neustel, Kent Vernon, Kendra Frank, Richard Rowe, Matt Chumley, Travis Frey, Tracy Mellmer, Evan Mellmer, Clay Cameron, William Suter, Scott Fettig, Travis Fuechtmann, Pete Filippi, Delvin Zahn, Jason Bohrer, Jeff Ellwein, and Daniel Arens of BHG News.
Entze moved to approve the minutes from the May 7th meeting striking out the words with a 10 year cap. Berger seconded. All voted aye. Motion carried.
Berger moved to approve the bills, excluding the Treasurer’s bills and the Fladeland Mechanical bill. Entze seconded. The following vouchers were approved for payment: Aecom, $6649.94; Advanced Business Methods, $331.23; American Welding, $130.85; Ameripride, $63.87; Michelle Anderson, $104.00; Axon Enterprise, $2196.00; Dwight Berger, $132.50; Bergstrom Electric, $1550.00; BCBS, $64348.62; Bronson’s Marketplace, $57.01; Shana Brost, $101.00; Burleigh-Morton Detention, $150.00; CBM Management, $5269.35; City of Beulah, $77.14; City of Golden Valley, $79.00; City of Stanton, $6621.23; Corner Express, $77.32; Custer Health, $4614.62; D & E Supply, $347.92; D’Andreas Hotstuff, $251.59; Lacey Renz, $10.00; Electronic Communications, $1510.00; Cindy Entze, $38.50; Wayne Entze, $144.10; Expressway Suites, $83.70; FUO Beulah, $924.30; Fitterer Oil, $1540.00; Wex Bank, $3372.82; Ryan Flemmer, $4.50; Weslie Gunsch, $132.55; Hazen Drug, $209.99; Hazen Hardware Hank, $327.35; Hazen Public School, $25.00; Auto Value, $5.48; Holiday Inn Fargo, $167.40; ITD, $911.60; J & M Hardware, $177.90; J-S Sanitation, $221.00; Free Karges, $97.25; Wanda Knutson, $132.00; Krause’s, $242.73; Kupper Chevrolet, $37986.49; Laughing Bear, $365.30; Lexis Nexis, $192.02; Matthew Bender, $176.00; Mercer County Shop, $7.51; Midco, $259.54; Gary Murray, $141.30; Napa, $2093.83; Napa New Salem, $187.98; NARRO, $40.00; NDACO, $63.00; NDACO 911, 937.08; Northern Safety Technology, $15125.94; Office of Attorney General, $1865.00; ND Youth, $284.98; Neuberger Oil, $1689.10; Newman Signs, $2482.36; Pharmchem, $856.50; Rachel Poitras, $89.64; RDO, $990.00; Roughrider Electric, $1727.49; Sailer Septic, $135.00; Terry Sauer, $5.00; Duane Scheurer, $199.05; Seachange, $1516.51; Shopko, $26.49; SBM, $214.96; SW Water, $45.54; Stroup Insurance, $50.00; Subway, $115.56; The Hub, $88.21; Underground Vaults, $336.00; Uniform Center, $502.94; Verizon, $35.10; WRT, $3124.63, WRT, $440.00; Westlie Motor, $149.60; Wilmington Trust, $400.00; Doran Wolf, $50.00. All voted aye. Motion carried.
Entze moved to approve the Treasurer’s bills. Murray seconded. The following vouchers were approved for payment: SBM, $55.36; WRT, $103.44. Entze, Murray, and Scheurer voted aye. Motion carried.
Berger discussed the appointment of department heads stating it should be done once a year. Gunsch stated he does performance evaluations on his department heads yearly and if there was an issue he would bring it to the board. Berger added he didn’t realize the reappointment of department heads was part of the resolution that was dissolved in May 2017. No further action was taken.
Entze discussed with the board the shortfall for social services funding. Entze stated since the state has taken over social service costs, there was supposed to be $2.4 million for the biennium, which was based off of the 2015-2016 caseloads. Entze added due to the decline in 2017 caseloads, fiscal year 2019 will see a shortfall of $173,370. Entze noted the social service budget for this district is 91% salaries so to cut cost would be cutting staff. Mercer County’s cost share of the shortfall would +/- $80,000. Auditor Brost stated the county currently has $7,000 in their social service fund. Entze stated that would not be enough for two (2) burials. Gunsch asked what the thoughts of the other counties were. Entze stated it is going to be awful tough and his best guess is other counties will not have the funds either. No further action was taken.
Auditor Brost presented a slideshow to the board from Sean Gierke requesting funds from the county to help with the basketball court at Dakota Waters Resort. Gunsch asked where the money would come from. Scheurer stated the county is wall to wall with revenues and expenditures and there are no public parks dollars coming in for pay for this. Scheurer stated there are a lot of folks who live in the subdivision who could contribute the project. Gunsch stated he was against funding this because it is not budgeted and the lake subdivisions should take care of themselves. Scheurer added during the budget season, they will put money into an account for these types of projects. No further action was taken.
Colette Schilling, Tax Director/Land Use Administrator, presented zoning case #14-09-01 for Antelope Hills Wind Project which had gone through Planning & Zoning and approved on October 1, 2014. Clay Cameron, NextEra Project Manager, asked the board for a two (2) year extension on the permit. Cameron explained to the board they needed two (2) more years to market the project. Scheurer asked if they ever planned on building it and stated he would like to see a public hearing so the landowners know what is going on. Cameron stated timing is the key to a project like this and there are a lot of pieces to it. Scheurer asked if they had anyone lined up to purchase their product and Cameron stated they are in the process of marketing with several folks. Gunsch added he would like to see a project before the permit is approved. Berger noted a lot of things change over a four (4) year period. Dale Wilson, Zap, asked Cameron who would be responsible to take the wind towers down when they are no longer viable. Cameron stated the PSC has a decommissioning plan in place and nothing would be the responsibility of the landowners. Tracy Mellmer, Beulah, stated this project has been going on so long it should start over. Mellmer added the energy industry in Mercer County serves the county really well and each kilowatt of wind energy produced and sold takes away from the county’s coal industry. Gunsch moved to deny the request for a two (2) year extension on permit #14-09-01 that expires October 2018. Berger seconded. Gunsch, Berger, Entze, Murray voted aye. Scheurer abstained. Motion carried.
The board reviewed the landfill tonnage report. No further action was taken.
The board reviewed the monthly financial statement. No further action was taken.
Murray moved to approve the April Sheriff’s Fees in the amount of $2156.77. Entze seconded. All voted aye. Motion carried.
Berger moved to approve the April Recorder’s Fees in the amount of $6676.01. Gunsch seconded. All voted aye. Motion carried.
Berger and Entze gave their portfolio updates.
Schilling discussed an email from Shane Stockdill, Great River Energy, asking for permission to backfill the basement with crushed concrete, asphalt, and brick. State’s Attorney Binder stated it could be considered a solid waste landfill or the board could find it part of the reclamation process. Binder added it will be a recorded document that the backfill is there for this particular parcel. Berger wondered if it should be sent to Planning and Zoning so there is a public hearing on it. Gunsch stated he would be okay with Schilling signing off on it. State’s Attorney Binder stated GRE will have to put an application into the State Health Department but needed the county to sign off on it stating it complies with county zoning policies. Gunsch moved to allow Land Use Administrator, Colette Schilling, to sign off on the inert waste disposal variance application for Great River Energy demolition backfill. Murray seconded. Gunsch, Murray, Entze, and Scheurer voted aye. Berger no. Motion carried.
The board reviewed road issues. Gunsch moved to approve the 3rd Amendment to Agreement between Coyote Creek and Mercer County. Berger seconded. All voted aye. Motion carried. Gunsch thanked Coyote Creek for stepping up and paying for County 25 chip seal. Gunsch stated he appreciated it and knows taxpayers do too.
Gunsch asked Urness if he knew when the frost laws would be lifted. Urness stated the state will retest the strengths on May 21st and will go from there.
The board reviewed the outstanding road accounts. No further action was taken.
Gunsch and Scheurer gave their portfolio updates. Murray had nothing to report.
The board recessed at 10:13 AM.
The board reconvened at 10:30 AM.
Travis Fuechtmann and Pete Filippi, Contegrity Group, gave the board an update on the courthouse expansion/remodel. Fuechtmann stated the county is sitting at $62,909.38 left to pay on the project until the punch list is completed. Berger asked about the Fladelands Mechanical bill for the additional diffusers. Fuechtmann stated the vents were right over the personnel so they added a couple of diffusers instead of ripping the ceiling apart to relocate the vents. Gunsch stated he does think they have helped and does believe the county should pay the outstanding bill. Berger asked if the air balancing issue has been addressed and will the two (2) heating and air systems ever be able to work together. Fuechtmann stated he has been chatting with Prairie Engineering and they are trying to help but do not want to redesign the whole project. Entze stated at the end of the day Mercer County employees need to be comfortable so somehow the air needs to be balanced. Gunsch brought up three concerns: air balancing, door 1030, and the cooling/heating in the jail. Fuechtmann stated they are chatting with Prairie Engineering about the air balancing, he has been working with Will Janisch on door 1030, and the true function of the heating and cooling in the jail is to keep the boiler on idle to control the humidity levels versus shutting the boiler down in the summer. Fuechtmann added they will be back to do an 11 month walk through to clean up any odds and ends that need it. Gunsch moved to approve the Fladelands Mechanical bill in the amount of $480 for the additional diffusers. Murray seconded. Gunsch, Murray, Entze, and Scheurer voted aye. Berger no. Motion carried.
Jason Bohrer and Delvin Zahn discussed access to their property in the old Manhaven Township. State’s Attorney Binder stated she discovered a prior file on this issue and now has a different opinion from last year. Binder stated in 2011 a petition had been filed to reopen the road. Binder added the Manhaven Road went off the section line due to poor terrain and the road closure resolution closed the road, but not the section line. She noted since the road has been closed for 35 years it cannot be appealed and will remain closed. Binder stated the petition filed in 2011 was denied. Bohrer stated using the section line would tear up the land the neighboring property owners have been using. Binder stated the public can still access the section line. Bohrer stated the Richters (neighboring property owners) will need communication from the State’s Attorney or Board of Commissioners because at this time he is not allowed to use the section line. Bohrer stated the section line would be clearable in a few days with a chainsaw and bobcat but the Richters believe Bohrer doesn’t even have access to the section line. Bohrer sited NDCC 24-7-06 stating when tracts are sold, the people purchasing the tract have the right to petition the county to reopen. Bohrer asked Richter be made aware a section line is section line. State’s Attorney Binder stated all section line issues and encroachment issues are discussed with the Sheriff and then the county will go from there. No further action was taken.
There being no further business the meeting was adjourned at 11:17 AM. The next regular meeting is scheduled for June 6, 2018, at 9:00 AM in the board room of the Mercer County Government Center, Stanton, North Dakota.
Approved: Duane Scheurer, Chairman
Attest: Shana L. Brost, Auditor