Law Enforcement Center Board meets to discuss joint powers agreement
A long chapter in the history of the law enforcement center in Dickinson is nearing a close. The LEC Board discussed a joint powers agreement among Stark County, the city of Dickinson and the Southwest Multi-County Correction Center at its regula...
A long chapter in the history of the law enforcement center in Dickinson is nearing a close.
The LEC Board discussed a joint powers agreement among Stark County, the city of Dickinson and the Southwest Multi-County Correction Center at its regular meeting Thursday morning.
"We are basically putting on paper what we should have done a long time ago," board chair Greg Sund said. "It spells out that each party accepts this percentage of responsibility for certain expenses."
The agreement essentially outlines the percentage of shared expenses for which each party in the building would be responsible, while maintaining that each party would be solely responsible for any upgrades or construction add-ons that benefit only their own space.
The issue was brought to light when Energy Services Group, an organization hired to analyze and recommend improvements in several local public facilities, questioned which entity should be billed for the improvements.
The two entities involved in ownership of the LEC are the city of Dickinson and Stark County. The county owns the building itself while the city owns the land on which the facility stands.
There are four entities in the law enforcement center, including the Dickinson Police Department, funded by the city. Stark County Sheriff's Department and Emergency Services - both funded by Stark County and the Southwest Multi-County Corrections - are funded by a consortium of counties including Stark, Slope, Billings, Bowman, Dunn and Hettinger.
When the building was constructed in 1981, there was an intention to draw up an agreement before the building was fully paid for. The bonds on the building were paid off in 2000 and still no agreement had arisen.
"Originally, we were looking at something like a condo agreement," Sund said. "But that proved to be far too complicated a solution for what we needed."
Meanwhile, the building has been operating under virtually the same model that is outlined in the proposed joint powers agreement, board member Alice Schulz said.
For the main building, currently the county assumes 24.2 percent of expenses, the city, 17.5 percent and 58.3 percent is allotted to the SWMCCC. The percentages are determined by square foot allocation to each entity. The agreement also allows for adjustments to those percentages when there is a change in space allocation.
The board resolved to submit the agreement to legal review before presenting it for signing.
"This issue goes back to the time the building was constructed," board and county commission member Duane Wolf said. "This is a point to which we have never been before. There's never been an official agreement written up and signed. It's good we've gotten to this point."