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Community service workers, hours decrease

By Staff | Aug 4, 2017

For the first half of 2017, the number of offenders and hours worked in the Heart of America Community Service program have been down.

Community Service Coordinator Allan Meckle informed the Board of County Commissioners in a regular meeting Tuesday morning that as of Monday, a total of 35 offenders worked nearly 900 hours. Based on an $8 per hour wage figure, the value of hours worked to date is equal to $7,168.40.

Meckle said two factors in the decrease were the vacancy in the district judgeship and more offenders spending time in jail.

Another decrease in the community service program has been in funding. Meckle informed the board that state funding for the program has been cut by 30 percent.

Another profitable month for HACTC

June was another profitable month for the Heart of America Correctional & Treatment Center.

HACTC Administrator Mike Graner informed the board that in June the facility accrued $25,775.17 in profit. The average daily population for that month was 120 inmates.

The facility currently houses 127 inmates.

Graner and the board discussed HACTC’s budget for 2018.

Abatement request denied

An abatement request submitted by Gary, Kathy and Kevin Kirchofner was denied on a 3-2 vote by the board.

The abatement application, which requested that true and full value for the property described (Outlot 486 of NW 1/4NE1/4 Section 12 Township 156 Range 73) should be $2,302, said the property was received with the understanding it would remain valued as agricultural until improvements had been made.

Tax Director Kelsey Siegler shared with the board that according to Chapter 57-02 of the N.D. Century Code properties platted after March 30, 1981 are not considered ag land if it meets four of seven conditions:

– The owner platted the land

– Public improvements are in place, including sewer, water or streets

– The land is disturbed to the point where no grazing or raising crops can occur

– The property is zoned other than ag land

– An urban atmosphere can be assumed due to residential and commercial development on three or more sides

– Parcel is less than 10 acres and not touching other ag land

– The property sells for more than four times the county’s average true and full value for ag land.

Siegler said, and District 2 Commissioner Mike Christenson observed, that with the land being platted in 2015, the land being purchased for $198,000, the land being less than 10 acres and a city street in front of and water and sewer lines behind the property, Kirchofner’s land in the abatement request meets four of the conditions for it to not be considered ag land.

Chairman and District 5 Commissioner Dave Migler said that if the century code says the land isn’t considered ag land, then the board should follow it.

“If we don’t follow the North Dakota Century Code, then what’s the use of having it?” Migler said.

District 1 Commissioner Mike Brossart, Christenson and Migler voted to deny the abatement request. District 4 Commissioner Terry Hoffert and District 3 Commissioner Rick Larson voted no.

The abatement request had been previously approved by the Rugby City Council during their July meeting.

The board approved abatement requests for Joe Rameden, Karen Johnson and Courtyard Apartments. The latter abatement was due to a clerical error in applying an in lieu of tax payment.

Other actions

– The board met with Jessica Tagestad, of Wold Engineering, to discuss road projects. The board approved approved a payment of $98,832.22 to Knife River Materials for work on road projects.

– The board met with Lake Region District Health Unit Administrator Allen McKay to discuss the health unit’s budget requests for 2018.

– The board approved a special events permit request for Balta Bar & Grill owner Stephanie Hackel to sell alcoholic beverages at the Balta Derby Sunday.

– The board approved a $500 contract from Otis to perform safety testing on the elevator in the courthouse.

– The board approved payments of $62,521.93 from the 2011 Disaster Fund to Antelope Lake, and $4,263.65 from the 2014 Disaster Fund to Juniata Township.

– The board approved a bid from D&S Motors for $26,300 for a new vehicle for the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office.

– The board approved July meeting minutes, bills and financial statements and treasurer’s checks.

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