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Zander named county chair

Stark County Commissioners elected its officers Tuesday. Commissioner Jay Elkin, left, asked to not be re-elected as county chair, as he was elected a District-36 state senator in December. Ken Zander, center left, was elected. (Brandon L. Summers / The Dickinson Press)

Ken Zander was elected board chair of the Stark County Commissioners Tuesday.

Commissioner Jay Elkin was nominated, but asked to not be re-elected to the chair, citing his election in December as a District 36 Senator.

"With my involvement in the legislature, I'm obviously going to be missing a couple of meetings here," he said. "That's where I have an issue."

Elkin suggested he would not be able to give the county role his full attention if re-elected.

"I don't have a problem being the chair, but I do believe that there are a lot of things that go along with just being the chair," he said. "I would prefer to not chair, but it's up to this body."

Zander was nominated by Commissioner Pete Kuntz.

Commissioner Dean Franchuk nominated Commissioner Carla Arthaud, who was elected in November and has only participated in the two monthly meetings since.

Both Zander and Arthaud received two of four votes, with Elkin casting the tie-breaking vote for Zander.

Commissioners elected Kuntz to be vice-chair.

Kuntz was nominated by Elkin, and Franchuk was nominated by Arthaud, with Kuntz receiving the needed three votes.

In other business:

Commissioners approved spending $1,500 to sponsor Dickinson Area Chamber of Commerce's Southwest Night with the Legislators, an event on Jan. 28.

It has been an annual event since 1985, Sarah Trustem, DACC executive director, said.

"It really stands out in terms of the southwest region because this is the one unified event that any chamber does in the state of North Dakota," she said.

The event serves as platform for southwest counties to share their stories and concerns, and provide their support on issues that affect their communities.

It has always been sponsored strongly by all southwest counties, Trustem said.

"The last few were more focused on Dickinson, and we're really trying to change that back to the southwest region," she said, "because there are a lot of very important issues coming up this legislative session."

Sponsorship comes with two tickets to the event. Commissioners also approved funds for any additional commissioners and county employees who want to attend.

The cost will come out of county's advertising budget. The county's DACC membership comes from general fund.

"I believe this is a good thing. I think it's positive," Elkin said. "In the past there's always been a room full of legislators there."

The event will be held at Bismarck State College in the Bavendick Stateroom.

Commissioners Tuesday also approved a bid for a 34th Street paving project.

The project will start at Third Avenue, south of Tooz Construction, and go west to 113th Avenue, covering a distance of roughly two miles.

It is being done in partnership with the City of Dickinson, with the county serving as lead on the project, Al Heiser, road superintendent, said.

"We have an (memorandum of understanding) with the city for their percentage," he said. "I believe they're 25 percent partners in this project."

Commissioners approved the low bid from Dickinson-based Northern Improvement Co., at $1,1786,481.70

Only one other bid was received. Border States Paving, based in Fargo, submitted a bid for $2,228,221.