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SB 2144 Changes LEC Funding

By Staff | Jul 31, 2015

At its semi-annual meeting Monday evening at the Pierce County Courthouse, the Joint Law Enforcement Center Board learned that some property tax levies will no longer be available for the center to use.

Pierce County Auditor-Treasurer Karin Fursather informed the board that due to North Dakota Century Code changes in SB 2144, starting next year dispatcher costs and other expenses, excluding capital construction on the law enforcement center, would come out of the county’s general fund, and any revenue the center incurs would go into the general fund as well.

Fursather informed the board that currently per $1,000 of taxes paid in Pierce County, $30.84 goes to the law enforcement center. By comparison, schools receive 37 percent of monies paid, or $368, and the county receives 31 percent, or $306.

Board Chairman and Pierce County Commissioner Duane Johnston asked city representatives on the board if they would consider an increase in payments to offset rising dispatcher costs. Currently the city pays $26,500, but Johnston asked if the city was willing to consider $40,000.

VEHICLE TOWING

The board approved a motion for Pierce County Sheriff Josh Siegler to re-negotiate a potential city/county vehicle towing contract with Brad Odden of Brad’s Towing. Odden requested $12,000 to $15,000 a year, while Siegler and Rugby Police Chief John Rose pushed for $6,000 to $8,000 a year. The costs would be split between the city and county, with Odden storing vehicles on his property. Vehicles used as or being searched for evidence in crimes would be stored in a space at the old Rugby Fire Hall.

The board elected Rugby Ward 4 Councilmen Terry Wentz and Chuck Longie to serve as chairman and vice-chairman, respectively, of the board next year.

COMMUNICATION UPGRADES, REPAIRS

The board discussed upgrades to the center’s 9-1-1 call handling system, which N.D. Information Technology Department is expected to do in the fall, as United Telephone will no longer be the system’s provider. The upfront cost, $125,023, would pay for equipment, training and workstations, and the monthly cost, $2,301.71 a month, would pay for maintenance, support and a five-year replacement. Rose asked if any other counties use the phone system the center will upgrade to, and if anything came up from State Radio. Siegler said the new call processing system will improve cellular and radio mapping for the county, but was uncertain on both questions.

The communication tower was also discussed. Siegler said a wire is loose on the tower and was part of a radio outage problem. Rose asked if there is a back-up in case the tower goes down, and Siegler said law enforcement can ping signals off of the State One tower near Harvey.

The board also discussed requests for next year’s budget. Siegler requested $126,297.60 for dispatchers wages and $25,056 for part-time dispatchers. Wentz questioned why Siegler requested $7,000 for drug testing. Siegler said the money would go toward testing supplies, as the center does its own testing, rather than pay someone else to do it, and it is separate from the Heart of America Correctional & Treatment Center.

The board approved the minutes of the January 26 meeting.

Also present at the meeting were Rugby Mayor Arland Geiszler, City Auditor Elizabeth Heisey, Ward 3 Councilman Jim Hoffert and Pierce County Commissioners Dave Migler and Mike Brossart.

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