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County voters to decide on ambulance levy

By Staff | Mar 9, 2018

County voters will get a chance to decide on additional mills for emergency medical services during the June 12 primary election.

After meeting with Heart of America Medical Center Chief Operations Officer Erik Christenson and EMS Manager Jennifer Reed during a regular meeting Tuesday morning, the Pierce County Board of County Commissioners unanimously approved a resolution to put the matter on the ballot.

Chapter 57-15-50 of the N.D. Century Code allows county commissions to levy taxes not exceeding 10 mills to subsidize emergency medical services provided voters approve of it during county elections.

Since 1983, Pierce County has levied two mills for EMS. If approved, up to four additional mills (not exceeding six) can be levied.

Christenson said three providers of emergency medical services in the area have shut down. Reed added the most recent one to do so was Esmond last month.

Reed said the Rugby EMS has already picked up a larger area and there has to be an ability to move and get patients to needed care.

Both Reed and Christenson echoed concerns of decreasing quality of service and longer response times should the levy measure not be approved.

Behavioral health services

Rugby Public School District Superintendent Mike McNeff met with the board to discuss information on a licensed clinical counselor position that would provide mental health services.

The position would serve the school district, who would hold the contract; Pierce County Social Services; and the Heart of America Correctional & Treatment Center. The position requires, at minimum, a master’s degree in social work, counseling or other degrees approved by the N.D. Board of Counseling Examiners; and either credentials as a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker or as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor.

McNeff said the plan is to have the position filled by August of this year.

The county would incur two-thirds of the costs of the position, and the school district would incur the remaining third.

In a related motion, the board approved allowing McNeff to begin advertising for the licensed clinical counselor position.

Load restrictions in effect

Load limit restrictions are in effect on all county township roads.

On single axle vehicles, loads are not to exceed 12,000 pounds. On tandem axle vehicles loads cannot exceed 12,000 pounds per axle.

Also while load limits are in effect, speed limits will be 45 miles per hour. The only exception regarding speed limits is a 2.5-mile stretch from Highway 3 near Selz, where the limit is 35 miles per hour.

Other actions

– The board approved a joint powers agreement with the Souris Basin Planning Council.

– The board approved entering into a funding agreement for the 2019-21 biennium with the state Supreme Court so the county can receive reimbursements for providing Clerk of Court services.

– The board held a conference call with Daniel Schwartz, a planner with Mid-America Planning & Consulting LLC, who was giving updates regarding the county’s multi-hazard mitigation plan.

– The board approved payments of $9,783.54 to Border States Paving and $32,640.93 to Knife River Materials for work on road projects. In a related motion the board also approved a motion to authorize projects scheduled for Federal Aid.

– The board approved a motion to call for graveling and machine hire bids.

– The board approved abatement applications for Northern States Power, Teresa Fritel, SRT Communications and Greg Brossart.

– HACTC Administrator Mike Graner informed the board that HACTC started 2018 with nearly $23,000 in profit in January; there are currently over 100 inmates, and 111 inmates were in the facility in February; and the facility is fully staffed. The board approved HACTC bills and financials.

– Sheriff Josh Siegler informed the board that his department received 40 calls in February; and there is an opening for a deputy and a dispatcher.

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

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