County commission meeting productive

The Ward County commissioners meeting held Tuesday morning in the courthouse ran much more smoothly than their last meeting on Dec. 18, 2012, which lasted three and a half hours.

In about an hour and a half, commissioners reviewed and approved year-end bills for 2012 that totaled $152,743.95, Social Services bills totaling $3,760.95, and other pay roll bills totaling $13,296.83, and skated through memorandums, approvals, and even a ratificantion of a liquor license. The efficiency left room for a lighter atmosphere than the last meeting, and even some laughter was shared.

Business of the meeting

Commissioners voted to rescind funding from one construction firm and award it to the second-lowest bidder for a project on County Road 24. Martin Construction of Dickinson was the company with the lowest bid, but lost the project because the Department of Transportation rejected the bid on the grounds of its failing to meet the federal “Disadvantaged Business Enterprise” requirements. Kern & Tabery Inc., of Wadena, Minn., was the second lowest bidder and won the project.

The resignation of Lori Scharmer from her position as extension agent for NDSU extension service of Ward County was accepted by the commission and a motion to advertise for the open position was approved. Scharmer had found another opportunity that she wished to pursue, according to Mike Hanson, the district director for the service. Both commissioners Jack Nybakken and Jerome Gruenberg volunteered to serve on the NDSU extension Advisory Board.

Two grants, presented by county emergency manager Amanda Schooling, to fund training and exercise programs for first responders and volunteers were approved.

A special use permit for a property in Foxholm was approved by the commission and a five-year time-limit, which is the standard, was placed on the permit. “Unless we put an end date, the permit goes into pertuity,” explained commissioner Jerome Gruenberg. “It would go with the property.” At the end of the five-year term, the permit holder would have to apply again.

A request by juvenile detention administrator Mark Schrader to promote juvenile detention officer Derek Just from a part-time employee to a full-time employee was tabled by the commission until updated 2013 budget numbers can be presented to them next week. “It seems like a sensible solution to the problem,” said Nybakken, although the motion was tabled. Schrader explained that he has only one full-time officer working in the center and that the part-time employees are expensive to train and don’t last too long. “It’s like a revolving door,” he said. Having a full-time employee may save money in the long term.

The purchase of a new pickup truck for the sheriff’s department was approved. The old pickup truck had 90,000 miles on it.

A liquor license for Robert Rice was approved for use in the Hooterville Bar. State’s Attorney Roza Larson had sent the commissioners a letter that they had not followed protocol on the initial hearing for the liquor license. There seemed to be a bit of confusion by the commissioners on how liquor licenses were processed and that they, not the state’s attorney’s office, were to hold hearings on the licenses and to advertise for them.