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Sheriff’s deputy moves on

By Staff | Feb 6, 2015

The Pierce County Sheriff’s Department is looking for a new deputy. Sheriff Josh Siegler announced the resignation of Deputy Jason Lux during the Pierce County Board of Commissioners meeting Tuesday.

Lux and his wife plan to move closer to family, Siegler said. The department is made up of the sheriff and two deputy positions. Lux was with the department for about 14 months. Prior to that he served with the Rugby Police Department for about eight months in 2013.

The sheriff had received one application at the time of the meeting. He also is seeking a new dispatcher, following the resignation of Joni Swearson, who worked for the county for about seven months.

Siegler announced the department received a $4,000 grant. About $2,600 went to a new dash camera. He said the remaining dollars can be used to offset upgrading systems and making the two deputy vehicles uniform. He also announced the application of a $600 Enbridge grant to be used for new first-aid kits and fire extinguishers for patrol vehicles.

Siegler discussed trail camera upgrades to help with burglary investigations.

He said there have been meetings with three surrounding counties about recent burglaries and that a suspect is in custody.

Tax director report

Pierce County Tax Equalization Director Kelsey Siegler, the sheriff’s wife, joined the commission to share the 2015 agricultural land valuations as set by the Applied Economics Department of North Dakota State University.

The commission approved a 3 percent increase in ag land values for 2015, as recommended by Kelsey Siegler. She based the recommendation on staying within the tolerance allowed.

The statewide average value per acre is $804.04 for cropland, $140 for non-cropland and $598.13 for all agricultural land.

An increase of 11 percent for all ag land was recommended by NDSU. The 2015 recommended values for Pierce County in 2015 are $686.06 per acre for cropland (up 10 percent from last year’s recommendation). For non-cropland the recommendation is $154.75 (up 6 percent from last year’s recommendation); for all ag land the recommendation is $570.05 (up 11 percent).

Kelsey Siegler also discussed soil prices.

HACTC a chamber member

The monthly report from Heart of America Correctional and Treatment Center started with a presentation by Shelley Block, executive director of the Rugby Area Chamber of Commerce.

Block highlighted the benefits of making the more than 30-employee facility a chamber member. Block talked about the chamber’s new website and job listings there. She also talked about the events HACTC staff can join to increase the facilities’ connection to the community.

“The corrections facility isn’t just for the incarcerated,” Block said. “There’s a lot they do.”

Later in the meeting, the board voted to approve a membership for all county departments. District 5 Commissioner Dave Migler voted no. The pro-rated dues for 2015 are less than $500.

HACTC Director of Operations Mike Graner said two correctional officers are now fully trained and certified. Graner is expecting a visit from the North Dakota Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation this month to finalize the 18-month non-compliance order following 2013 inmate escapes.

He also expressed optimism about the restoration of the treatment facility at HACTC. A licensing review is scheduled for March 12.

Road projects discussed

The board met with Jessica Tagestad and Matt Johnson, of Wold Engineering, to discuss the alternate route project in Hillside Township and the “surge bill” in the state legislature. The engineers shared requirements of the state dollars, expected this month or in March. The board also discussed a list of road projects that may benefit from the money.

Other News

The board approved the January minutes, bills previously paid and unpaid. The financial report from January was approved. The January treasurer’s check was approved in the amount of $2,937.12.

Homestead Credit applications were approved for Richard Blessum, Victoria Harmel, Ronald Bertsch, John Jr. and Linda Axtman and Lyla Evenson.

The board reappointed District 3 Commissioner Rick Larson to the Souris Basin Planning Council, a regional development organization including Bottineau, Burke, McHenry, Mountrail, Pierce, Renville and Ward Counties. Chairman and District 4 Commissioner Duane Johnston was appointed the alternate.

The board approved transfers of 2014 Disaster Fund money to various townships for road repairs.

A transfer of $150,000 was made from the Highway Distribution Fund to the Road and Bridge Fund.

The purchase of a trailer for hauling culverts was approved with Migler voting no.

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