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County Commission hires veterans service officer
September 8, 2017

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Pierce County has a new veterans service officer.

At a regular meeting Tuesday morning, Pierce County Commissioners chose Ron Montonye for the position. He replaces Larry Fjellanger, whose resignation the board accepted in July.

Earlier in the day, the board approved the naming of Ramsey County Commission Chairman Mark Olson as the chair of the Lake Region District Health Unit board which is composed of commissioners from Pierce, Ramsey, Benson and Eddy counties.

Denied abatement request revisited

Gary and Kevin Kirchofner met with the board to discuss the abatement request on Outlot 486 (NW1/4NE1/4 Section 12 Township 156 Range 73).

In their August meeting the board voted 3-2 to deny the abatement request based on criteria in Chapter 57-02 of the N.D. Century Code.

Gary said the City of Rugby asked him if he was willing to give 21 feet of his property for a road that would allow access to the Al Wentz Arena and the new Gooseneck Implement building which he didn't originally want to do. He also had talked with two Rugby City Council members, Rugby's mayor and Attorney Galen Mack and asked if the property would be considered commercial or agricultural. Gary said he was told the property would remain agricultural.

Gary asked if the board was willing to review and reconsider the decision to deny the abatement request.

Commission Chairman Dave Migler said the board took the Century Code into account when making its decision.

"[It] seems like [the] city should've done a little more work on this," Migler said.

Gary said the Century Code is made up of regulations, but it is "up to the city and county" how abatement requests are handled.

Gary said there seemed to be animosity between the city and the county.

"Am I supposed to be the one punished for it?" Gary asked. "Don't punish me because the city should've come to you."

Gary said if the board did not reconsider he would have two options: Take the decision to a higher court or hire an attorney and try to get back from the city the 21 feet he was asked to give up for the road.

In July the abatement request had been approved by a 4-2 vote by the Rugby City Council.

The board decided not to change its decision on the abatement request. Migler said he was "confident" the board "did the right thing" regarding the decision.

The board approved an abatement request from Kirchofners on Outlot 403 (NE 1/4NW1/4 Section 12 Township 156 Range 73) - replat of Outlot 300) due to clerical error a dedicated road was not subtracted from the land.

The board also approved abatement requests from Gerald Volk, as his properties qualify for Homestead Credit; and from Mark Thiel for inundated land.

Other actions

- The board discussed the budget for fiscal year 2018. A public hearing on the preliminary budget is expected to be held in the evening on Sept. 25.

- The board approved transfers of $5,000 from the Wireless fund to E9-1-1; $100,000 from County Poor Relief to Social Welfare; and $150,000 from Highway Distribution to Road & Bridge.

- The board approved issuing calls for bids on #2 fuel oil, gas and propane; and for the sale of a used motor grader.

- Sheriff Josh Siegler informed the board his department received 51 calls in August.

- HACTC Administrator Mike Graner informed the board that the average daily population in August was 116 inmates; and the facility had a $27,416.91 for July.

- The board met with Kari Hunt, a representative of Blue Cross Blue Shield, to discuss coverage options for county employees. No action was taken.

- The board approved August meeting minutes, bills, financial statements and treasurer's checks.

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