Belfield tackles infrastructure, hires second public works employee
During a regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, the City of Belfield awarded a bid for a sewer engineering project, hired a public works employee and utilized a hotel tax fund for a TV promotion.
BELFIELD, N.D. — The Belfield City Council met Tuesday for its regular monthly meeting where they awarded an engineering bid, hired a new employee and entered an agreement to do a special series with a Bismarck television station.
The council considered two bids from Brosz Engineering and Interstate Engineering for a project on the east sewage lift station. The project was awarded to Brosz for $65,320. Interstate's bid came in at $67,192.
Councilman Ed Braun explained the council’s decision was solidified by the fact that Brosz’s bid contained a not-to-exceed clause amount of $65,320, while the same figure for Interstate was about $30,000 higher at $97,365.
A not-to-exceed cost is the maximum amount the city is legally obligated to pay, Braun explained. Contractors sometimes set that number higher than the regular bid to account for contingencies such as a volatile supply chain or unanticipated travel expenses. The city has already been billed for $109,000 worth of work by Interstate, but Braun said it’s not a loss and that Brosz will be able to utilize most of it.
Brosz is also working on a sidewalk project in Belfield, engineer Jon Brosz said. He reported to the council that he is working through an easement application process with Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway.
“It’s just taking a sidewalk from where the stop sign is on the southeast side of the road, crossing the railroad tracks to Main Street,” Brosz said. “So the residents on the south side will have access via the sidewalk to the schools, to Main Street and also up to the bike path.”
Rusty Tessier, of Belfield Lutheran Church, addressed the council with complaints that the alley bordering church property is too high.
“We’ve got water coming off the alley going to our foundation. It’s not draining down the alley to the street, it’s draining to our building,” Tessier said.
Tessier provided an estimate of $5,800 for the road work necessary to fix it. Councilwoman Pam Gross raised concerns that taking on such a project could unleash a flood of other complaints about streets and alleys in town. Public Works Director Kevin Anderson responded there are other alleys causing drainage problems, and that he believed the city should address them one at a time.
Councilman Brett Northrop motioned to approve the project and funding, which passed unanimously.
The council continued a discussion from the previous meeting about hiring a second public works employee. Braun and Councilman Bruce Baer interviewed applicant Erick Crisp and said he was highly qualified with experience in welding and operating heavy equipment. Northrop said he worked with Crisp on a pipeline project a few years ago, and that he was “an excellent equipment operator.”
Braun made a motion to hire Crisp at $26 per hour on the condition that he passes a background check. The motion was passed in a 3-1 vote with Mayor Marriann Mross voting no. Gross abstained, citing her HR work with Crisp’s current employer.
Braun then made a motion to give raises to four city employees, including Anderson —whose pay was raised to match that of Crisp. He said it would be unfair to hire a new guy and pay him more than Anderson. The city gives raises based on merit, but inflation was also a factor, he noted. That motion passed unanimously.
The Bismarck television network BEK News has plans to do a special on the Belfield community, at a cost of $5,200 to the city.
“I really think we should do that,” Baer said. “They want to come in and do a program on our community, run it on the air and do some advertising.”
He said that would come out of a hotel tax fund designated for economic development and promoting the community. He noted there is approximately $40,000 in the fund currently. The council unanimously approved a motion to enter an agreement with BEK.
North Dakota municipal and primary elections will be held on June 14 at Belfield City Hall. The polls will be open that day from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Early voting will also be available to citizens of Stark County from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on June 6 through June 10, and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on June 11 at the Prairie Hills Mall in Dickinson.