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2016 Budgets Pass

By Staff | Oct 9, 2015

County Commissioners. CLOCKWISE: Commissioner Mike Brossart, Commissioner David Migler, Commissioner Rick Larson, Commissioner and Chairman Duane Johnston, County Auditor-Treasurer Karin Fursather and Commissioner Mike Christenson.

County Commission Approves 2016 Budget

At its regular meeting Tuesday, the Board of County Commissioners approved the budget for next year in the amount of $10,496,772.77 with all commissioners voting “yes”.

A hearing on the budget was held during the meeting, but no comments were received. The budget will start Jan. 1 and will end Dec. 31, 2016.

Ward 1 Councilman Neil Lotvedt, Ward 3 Councilman Joel Berg and Auditor Elizabeth Heisey, representing the city of Rugby, were present at the hearing.

SALARY STUDY DISCUSSED

City Council (left to right): Councilman James Hoffert, Councilman Joel Berg, Councilman Chuck Longie, Councilman Terry Wentz, Mayor Arland Geiszler, Councilman Bruce Allen Rheault, Councilman Neil Lotvedt and Councilman Gary Kraft. Absent: Councilman David Bednarz.

The board met with Galen Cariveau, of Cariveau Workforce Services, who presented a sample 20-step chart with three options for pay increases based on 100 percent, 97.5 percent and 95 percent of a comparable market.

The sample, which was for corrections officers, listed the first step as $16.76 per hour. To get 11 officers at or over the first step in a 100 percent comparison, the county would then pay $28,644 to adjust pay for six officers making $15 an hour (a 10 percent raise) and for four officers making $16 an hour (a 5 percent raise), and the remainder would be a 1 percent cost of living increase for the officer making $17 an hour. To increase pay for officers in all 20 steps (the 20th being $21.31 an hour) and provide 1 percent cost of living increases would cost $37,234. To increase pay and provide 2 percent increases would cost $40,350.

To get officers up to and over the first step in the 97.5 percent of market comparison, the county would pay $19,904 to give officers making $15 an hour a 7.5 percent raise ($16,222), officers making $16 an hour a 2.5 percent raise ($2,828), and officers making $17 an hour a 1 percent cost of living increase ($354). To increase pay for officers in all 20 steps and provide 1 percent cost of living increases would cost $25,673. To increase pay and provide 2 percent increases would cost $29,799.

To get officers up to and over the first step in the 95 percent of market comparison, the county would pay $13,168: $11,482 would go toward giving officers making $15 an hour a 5 percent raise, and the remainder would go towards 1 percent cost of living increases for officers making $16 an hour and $17 an hour. To increase pay for officers in all 20 steps and provide 1 percent cost of living increases would cost $18,022. To increase pay and provide 2 percent increases would cost $22,407.

Cariveau said the chart is based on longevity, not on quality of work, and that employees working beyond 20 years of experience should be receiving cost of living increases every year.

OTHER ACTIONS

The board participated in a conference call with the Minot Housing Authority and approved fair market rental rates.

Mike Graner, Heart of America Correctional & Treatment Center administrator, informed the board that the facility housed 109 inmates in September, however that number is skewed because the Department of Corrections starting moving out its female prisoners. The facility was slated to start receiving male D.O.C. inmates Thursday. The D.O.C. removed HACTC’s responsibility for the first $150 in medical expenses, with the exception of on-site nurse care. An officer position has opened up; two officers will be promoted in rank from sargeant to corporal and another officer will come off the probationary period.

Sheriff Josh Siegler informed the board that the new truck is coming; a new deputy will start Oct. 19; and the Sheriff’s office received a $1,500 grant for overtime from the N.D. Department of Transportation.

Jessica Tagestad, of Wold Engineering, informed the board that the permanent alternate route project in Hillside Township can proceed further after not receiving comments during the public comment period; Rolette will do its portion of the Highway 30 chip and seal either next year or the following year.

The board approved tax abatements for Jamie Lee, Roger Tank and Courtyard Apartments.

The board awarded bids for propane to Farrellgas, #2 fuel oil to Envision and Hiway MVP for vehicle fuel.

The board approved appointing Yolanda Schmidt and Don Jelsing as Pierce County delegates for the N.D. State Fair.

The board approved September meeting minutes, bills, financial statements and treasurers checks.

City Approves 2016 Budget

At a regular meeting Monday evening, the Rugby City Council voted to approve next year’s budget.

The council voted 5-2 in favor of the budget, with Ward 2 Councilman Dave Bednarz absent.

For next year’s budget, the city levied $698,467 on taxable property starting Jan. 1 and ending Dec. 31 of next year; $619,357 will go to the city’s general fund, $15,897 for snow removal, $25,385 for the Heart of America Public Library, $12,693 for the Job Development Authority and $25,134 for Airport Authority.

The council also approved a second reading of Ordinance No. 397, an ordinance to make appropriations for 2016 – which mirrors the 2016 budget.

FRANCHISE FEE DENIED

The council voted 5-2 to not apply a franchise fee for Otter Tail Power Company users.

The franchise fee discussed during the Sept. 7 meeting. Otter Tail would add $2 per month on users’ bills and reimburse the city. Monies collected from the franchise fees would go toward expenses incurred from streetlights.

Ward 3 Councilman Jim Hoffert came out against the franchise fee, saying the streetlights were already budgeted for this year and that the move would be an untimely tax that would be “building up largely undesignated funds. Hoffert also said this year would be the wrong time to do it, with a budget in place and utility fees and taxes to increase.

City Auditor Elizabeth Heisey said the money going toward streetlights is currently coming out of the city’s highway & streets fund. Rugby resident Randy Fossum asked where the other franchise fees the city has goes to (Midcontinent and North Dakota Telephone Company for cable TV): the city’s general fund.

GOOSENECK POWER

The council met with Ron Montonye, of Otter Tail, to discuss getting power to the future site of Gooseneck Implement. The city wanted the main feed line to be underground. However, Otter Tail thought an overhead main feeder line, with the option to tap underground, would be best able to handle existing and future loads.

The council approved a resolution for right of way dedication and utility easement within a tract of land located within the north half of Section 12, Township 156N, R73W on the fifth principal meridian.

TREE REMOVAL

The council met with Heart of America Medical Center director of plant operations and city building inspector Scott Craun to discuss and possibly remove the trees above the parking lot. There are five pine trees on city property which create shade, and drainage from the 2nd Avenue cul de sac goes into HAMC’s parking lot, creating a hazard and ice problems to visitor lots.

Montonye said Otter Tail may be able to help with the costs of removal.

Rugby resident and Chamber of Commerce executive director expressed dismay at cutting down five more trees in the community. Ward 4 Councilman Terry Wentz said Rugby is a Tree City USA and in order to keep up that status more trees have to be planted in the community than are taken down.

The council approved a motion to remove the five trees.

OTHER ACTIONS

The council discussed orientation of the meeting room table and made the decision to add two 6-foot tables.

The council approved a tax abatement for Courtyard Apartments for 2013 and 2014.

The council approved a raffle request from the Rugby Fire Department Auxiliary.

The council approved high bids to rent parcels of agricultural land the city owns.

The council approved a proclamation for the week of Oct. 4-10 to be known as Fire Prevention Week.

The council approved the September meeting minutes, bills, financial statements and the Municipal Judge’s report.

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