OFFICIAL PROCEEDINGS OF THE STARK COUNTY COMMISSION August 3, 2021 SPECIAL BUDGET MEETING Chairman Franchuk called the special budget meeting of the Stark County Board of Commissioners to order at 1:30 pm.

August 3, 2021
Chairman Franchuk called the special budget meeting of the Stark County Board of Commissioners to order at 1:30 pm. Commissioners Present: Dean Franchuk, Carla Arthaud, Bernie Marsh, Neal Messer, and Ken Zander. Department Heads Present: Acting Auditor-Karen Richard, State's Attorney-Amanda Engelstad, HR Director-Joetta Pearcy, County Park Director-Lisa Heiser, County Planner-Steve Josephson, Sheriff-Corey Lee, Tax Director-Natalie Wandler, Road Superintendent-Al Heiser, Veterans Officer-Jessica Clifton, Recorder-Kim Kasian, Emergency Management-Shawna Davenport, County Agent-Kurt Froehlich.
Commissioner Zander asked for a 20-minute recess. Chairman Franchuk advised the meeting will recess for 20 minutes.
County Agent-Kurt Froehlich
Mr. Froehlich reviewed the proposed budget, advising the salaries are split 50-50 with the state of North Dakota and adjustments to salaries typically follow the state. His budget request is to adjust support staff salaries by $2.00/hr.
Recorder-Kim Kasian
Ms. Kasian reviewed her budget proposal, advising that travel was increased $1,000.00 and the dues went down $100.00. She also advised the commission that recording fees are put into the general fund.
Emergency Management-Shawna Davenport
Ms. Davenport reviewed her budget proposal. E911 revenue comes from landline and wireless tax revenue. Salaries are split between E911 and Emergency Management. Emergency Management has a performance grant to cover salaries. That grant is $68,363.00. She reported an increase in dues. The Siren contingency is for damage to the warning sirens, this increased as they will need to replace sirens in the future. Bowman radar was damaged, causing the siren contingency fund to go over budget last year. Emergency Operations Center was decreased as the amount budgeted was excessive.
Information Technology-Shawna Davenport
Ms. Davenport reviewed the proposed budget. The contract fee is the cost of service from Consolidated. Siren line is the siren update project, and we are waiting on dollar amount that would be billed in 2022. If Covid funds do not cover the phone lines, then that amount will need to come out of the reserve line item.
Weed Control Officer-Travis Jepson
Changes made were $45,000 moved from chemicals to crew wages. Otherwise, just small tweaks - advertising up to $2,000.00. Auditor Karen reported the weed budget is in the red and has been running in the red. Weed levy is at max at 4.0 mils and reserve will only last about 3 more years. State's Attorney Engelstad advised that under noxious weed century code the mills are tapped at 4.0, the weed board can be funded out of the general fund levy if more funding is needed. Mr. Jepson agreed to have a weed board budget meeting to review the budget, as soon as possible.
Veterans Service Officer-Jessica Clifton
Ms. Clifton discussed her proposed budget and advised that her salary is not compensated for covering the 3 additional counties. On the proposed budget, there is a $9,000.00-line item for co-compensation, $3,000.00 per each additional county she covers, that dollar amount would change as she adds/deletes counties. Auditor Richard confirmed that Stark County does receive $36,000 from the other three counties for Veteran's Service. Commissioner Zander asked how much additional work these counties are? Ms. Clifton responded that bringing on additional staff would be difficult to train and the counties have the rapport with her. A deputy would be significantly higher and there is not enough work for a deputy. Commissioner Arthaud asked how many times do you go to Billings county? Ms. Clifton stated that most Veterans come to Stark county - otherwise she compiles a list of Veterans and it is usually 1 or 2 times a month she would go. She also reported office supplies decreased to $2,000.00 and the misc. supplies can be removed from the proposed budget.
Commissioner Arthaud left the meeting at 2:53 pm.
States Attorney-Amanda Engelstad
Ms. Engelstad reported on her proposed budget stating there are a lot of unknowns, as it all depends on the cases and trials that may come in. Office supplies are high and they are currently working with Accounts Payable to see why they are so high. Otherwise all other line items are staying fairly the same. She advises they may need a 4th attorney, covid is the unknown and trying to work through cases to determine if a 4th attorney is needed. Commissioner Messer asked if we could do a contract basis for an attorney? Ms. Engelstad said we could, but it is probably something you don't want to do, we can cross deputize with other counties if we need to. The biggest issue is getting someone to apply for the position. We are competing with other counties wages.
Victim Witness-Amanda Engelstad
Ms. Engelstad reviewed the proposed budget stating it is pretty straight forward. The grant
was applied for and will see what kind of funds are received. Looking at hiring a part time victim witness advocate. Linda Presler was previously exempt and when payroll got switched from monthly to bi-weekly, she went to non-exempt. Ms. Engelstad believes she needs to be moved to an exempt employee and salaried. Joetta Pearcy-HR stated she qualifies under the administrative exemption. Per Ms. Engelstad, Ms. Presler is fine with going back to exempt.
Tax Director-Natalie Wandler
Ms. Wandler reviewed her proposed budget. Proposed budget has not changed very much. She is proposing a $1.50/hr. wage increase. Appraisals decreased $4,800.00, overtime decreased by $2,000.00 and travel increased $1,000.00 for out of state travel to a conference.
Acting Auditor-Karen Richard
Ms. Richard reported on her proposed budget. There were a lot of fluctuations in the 2021 budget, due to many staff changes and also quite a bit of overtime. Ms. Richard is proposing $1.00/hr. wage increase for the staff and then moving Ms. Richard to salary at $85.000/yr. She cut the overtime budget in half. She also proposed to cut Lynn Betlaf back to 20 hours a month as needed. Removed a staff position as Lana Jahner is moving to Deputy Auditor and will continue to do payroll. Zander asked if Ms. Betlaf's position could go away in December? Ms. Richard advised she is budgeted on an as needed basis, for consulting, at 5 hours/week.
Custodian-Karen Richard
Acting Auditor Karen Richard reported on the custodian proposed budget as Mike Dschaak is out today. She advised that Mr. Dschaak does a lot over and above his grounds and maintenance and she believes he is paid less than other county's building/maintenance supervisors. She believes Mr. Dschaak should be paid more than he is. We also do not have the $30,000 contract anymore, Rita Wanner took over that and is saving the county that money. She is proposing to put Mr. Dschaak at $65,000/year. Ms. Wanner is currently paid in the highest tier of all of the counties in ND by job description, the commission will have to decide on an additional wage increase if applicable.
Commissioner Zander left the meeting at 2:30 pm.
Elections-Karen Richard
Ms. Richard presented the proposed budget. Last year's budget is not a good example, as there were a lot of extra supplies and it was a presidential election. The budget is based on a previous election year.
County Planner-Steve Josephson
Mr. Josephson presented his proposed budget. Mr. Josephson proposed a $1.00/hr. increase in wages. He reported he visited with the City of Dickinson and they still would like to contract with the county, his time at 50/50. The only other changes from last year are an increase in travel and memberships to $1,000.00 and added on an overtime line.
Highway Distribution-Al Heiser
Mr. Heiser presented his proposed budget. He referenced $1.00 or 2% for an increase in wages, and stated he is fine with whatever the board chooses. He would like to see salary increases based on merit, in the future. Commissioner Marsh stated that once we start doing evaluations, that may be something we could look at. Auditor Richard believes we can't do it all by merit, but that each department could be responsible for their recommendations. She believes that we do need to reward those that excel.
County Road-Al Heiser
Mr. Heiser presented his proposed budget. Most all lines items remain the same as 2021, there is no special funding coming in, at this time. He would like to get the engineers/projects ready, so when the money becomes available we are ready for them. He will be looking to purchase a truck this year, a water truck was rolled last week. The old Special Road and Bridge fund went away, it is now Capital Projects and will need to be transferred into County Road. The 10 mil is going to go away and it is going to be County Road and Bridge.
Human Resources-Joetta Pearcy
Ms. Pearcy presented her proposed budget. There are no changes to the line items, and she will go with 2% or $1.00/hr. salary increase, whatever the county chooses. She reported she has been coming up with market ranges/salary buckets for all positions, and when the commission decides on a wage increase, we need to look to make sure the employees fall within that range.
Fairgrounds/County Park-Lisa Heiser
Ms. Heiser presented her proposed budget. There are projects she is looking at to try to make the fairgrounds cash flow, things that can increase revenue. Would like to move the electric pedestals. She has proposed new signage at the fairgrounds and motorsport park. New fencing is also needed around the speedway. Restrooms at the fairgrounds will use 2021 Covid funds.
Public Safety-Corey Lee
Sheriff Lee presented his proposed budget. Mr. Lee stated he has 3 new vehicles coming this year, and asked if that is something that could come out of Covid funds? Auditor Richard responded that yes, if we can justify it out of the Covid funds. As far as the budget for next year, if the 3 cars can come out of Covid funds that will decrease his budget by $150,000.00. The maintenance, increased by $10,000.00 and that may be a little short, as the cost of repairs have gone up and we have added Belfield, and will putting on some more miles and added 2 more vehicles. He proposed a $1.00/increase, which is put into a bulk amount, and then spread out by reclassifying some people and increase others to where we think they need to be, not everyone would get the same thing.
Governing Board-Karen Richard
Ms. Richard advised she removed the longevity and no other changes.
Law Enforcement Maintenance -Karen Richard
The Building/Garage insurance and the Heat & Electricity lines are considerably different then 2021, she is under the belief that the amounts used on the 2021 line are the full amount and not the shared amount. The increase in capital improvements is because in 2021 it appeared to have been skipped - the $72,000.00 is the county's share as it is spread out over 5 years.
Emergency Fund-Karen Richard
We haven't been levying for the emergency fund. The $500,000.00 is not an expense.
Capital Improvement-Karen Richard
Commissioner Messer questioned what the $250,000 and $60,000 are for. Ms. Richard advised those are actual expense amounts, what we are proposing the expenses will be - those include any kind of repairs in county buildings. Ms. Richard advised that under the century code, if there were an expense such as a courthouse roof repair, that would have to come out of the special projects fund, we can't just put money aside, as they feel that is overtaxing. The NDACo is looking at upping the reserve amounts for the oil fluctuating counties.
County Jail-Karen Richard
Ms. Richard presents the proposed budget. Ms. Richards reports she hasn't gotten much from the county jail, she followed what was done in previous years. The Special Projects line is not an actual expense, that is what they are requesting - about $2,000,000.00 from Stark county. States Attorney Engelstad advised they are working on a pre-trial release program, which should bring down the cost to incarcerate people. Ms. Richard reports the Sunrise Youth Bureau is included in this budget, and also the paramedic share. Ms. Engelstad also advised we are seeing an increase in local inmates.
RK Search - Karen Richard
Ms. Richards reports that she met with RK Search while she was at the Auditor's meeting in Grand Forks. RK Search prepared a bid of $13,500.00 - they take pictures of all of the minutes, going back to the beginning, and then they will also host that data - which we would pay yearly. You can go in and search a keyword or a date, to locate information - this would be available to all employees and the general public. Ms. Engelstad believes this would be a great time saver, especially with open records.
MOTION BY: Commissioner MarshSECONDED BY: Commissioner Messer
To approve the Preliminary budget as presented and recognize there will be changes made before the final budget meeting.
DISPOSITION: Roll call vote. Commissioner Messer - aye, Commissioner Marsh - aye, Chairman Franchuk - aye. Motion carried.
Commissioner Messer made MOTION to adjourn, Commissioner Marsh SECONDED, Adjourned.
Karen Richard, Acting Auditor
Dean Franchuk, Chairman
(Sept. 22, 2021) 2904798