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County working on agreements with neighbors

By Staff | Feb 7, 2014

Tuesday’s regular meeting of the Pierce County Board of Commissioners focused on communicating with neighboring counties on community service, road repairs and social services.

Community Service coordinator Yvonne Hagen reiterated that her position requires full-time hours as the need rises with crime across the state.

“Let me do the hours it takes to get it done,” Hagen said.

The board agreed that Hagen’s workload requires hours beyond the usual part-time number and approved a motion to allow her hours to vary from 28 to 38 per week for the next six months.

The commissioners were joined by conference call with the Rolette County Board to discuss road repairs. Rolette agreed to be the lead county for a joint project and Pierce asked state’s attorney Galen Mack to draw up an agreement for the counties. Bid letting is expected to be held April 15 and can be done at the same time Rolette bids for its seven miles of the project.

Jessica Tagestad, Wold Engineering, went over the preliminary engineer’s opinion of probable cost with an estimate of $836,979 for Pierce County. The road improvements include a three-mile stretch of N.D. 30, beginning 3.5 miles east of Wolford to the Pierce/Rolette line. Tagestad said there will also be an atlernate bid for the half mile into the Hawk Museum.

A conference call with McHenry County followed and the commissioners to the west requested Pierce County continue sharing expenses for the social service director Mary Hermanson through the end of the year.

The Pierce County board wrote to McHenry County in January expressing the concern that the director is overwhelmed by the case loads of both counties. The Pierce board is looking into having its own full-time director. Social worker Melinda Bischoff Voeller said that the understaffed department is hurting both counties.

“She’s doing her job,” District 1 Commissioner Joe Bohl said, “but there’s probably not enough Mary going around.”

NDSU Extension agent Yolanda Schmidt and district director Mike Hanson joined the meeting to announce Schmidt’s part-time administrative assistant accepted a different job. Schmidt stated that she believes the position should be full time and said she does not have enough time to conduct a hiring process currently.

“We gotta give her credit,” Migler said. “She came in with no support staff and she’s kickin’ butt.”

The board praised Schmidt for her work with the county’s 4-H program, which currently has 40 children. The state’s goal is to increase participation by 5 percent each year.

Migler informed the board that Heart of America Correctional and Treatment Center is 50 percent in compliance with the state. The board approved a motion to purchase a new time clock for HACTC to ensure proper recording of hours by employees.

The board approved January’s minutes and bills previously paid and ordered outstanding bills paid. The financial report for January was also accepted. Abatement and homestead credit applications approved the previous night by the Rugby City Council were also approved by the commissioners.

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