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Commissioners hear HACTC updates, mull courthouse repairs at July meeting

By Staff | Jul 17, 2021

Heart of America Correctional and Treatment Center saw more inmates and a profit of more than $35,000 in June, according to a report presented to Pierce County Commissioners July 6.

Jail Administrator Mike Graner presented the report at the county commissioners’ regular July meeting held in the Pierce County Courthouse.

Graner told the board the inmate population at the facility averaged 93 in June, with a high of 100. The count stood at 94 as of July 6. Graner also said 23 of 24 correctional officer positions were filled. Two interviews for the open position had been completed. Three staff employees were on leave as of July 6.

Additionally, Graner said an audit for the national PREA program, which is designed to prevent and detect prison rape, would be conducted by state Department of Corrections staff July 22 and 23.

The board voted to approve the purchase of a new computer server for $9,758 to replace an older one at the jail.

The board also reviewed a recommendation by County Tax Assessor Kelsey Siegler to reduce taxes on two parcels in Spring Lake Township. Siegler said both parcels have access issues and a ravine runs through them. The board approved a tax reduction on 40 percent on one parcel and 10 percent on the second parcel.

Board members also reviewed and approved tax abatement applications for another parcel of property in rural northeastern Pierce County described as flooded.

The board also reviewed and approved a motion to establish an American Rescue Plan fund to deposit federal COVID relief money until the program expires Dec. 31, 2026. The fund would be separate from the county’s general fund.

The board approved a bill for $555.11 from the Balta Wildlife Club for electrical hookups for camping near the Balta Dam. The bill would be paid with money from the county park fund.

Board members also listened to a presentation by Kyle Patterson of North Dakota Vision Zero, a program to educate high school students on safe driving and farm safety. Patterson said the program’s goal is to reach zero fatalities on North Dakota roadways.

Board members also heard a report from Brenden Klebe of the Pierce County NDSU Extension Office. Klebe told the board of the 4-H program’s success at the Pierce County Fair and shared plans to add a horse show for next year’s fair. Klebe said some of the 4-H projects from Pierce County will head to Minot for display at the North Dakota State Fair.

Ted Keller of Carrington firm General Roofing and Construction spoke to the commissioners about damage to the courthouse dome that caused leaks in the building. Keller also presented a proposal to repair the foundation and front steps of the courthouse. The commissioners approved the proposal for the work on the steps and foundation.

Board members also voted to reappoint weed board members Aaron Bryn, Todd Lysne and Mark Koenig to their posts. The board also voted to reappoint James Zacher to the county park board.

The board approved a contract with IT support provider Computer Express.

Commissioners also reviewed applications for a community service coordinator to oversee programs in Pierce, McHenry and Bottineau Counties. Commissioner Ashley Berg told the board she would contact officials from those counties for support and to schedule interviews.

In other business, commissioners voted to add June 19 to the county calendar as a holiday to mark Juneteenth. The date has been declared a federal holiday by President Joe Biden.

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