Commissioners Find Themselves at a Stalemate

The landfill committee suggested by the Dunn County Commissioners was top on the agenda at the latest commissioners meeting on Aug. 5.

By Pam Kukla

For the DC Herald

The agenda also included discussion about the High Plains Cultural Center, road maintenance issues and repair of the emergency communications tower leased from Killdeer Public School.

Earlier the commissioners suggested creating a landfill fact finding committee of Dunn County residents, elected officials and emergency services individuals. Numbers of committee members, names and the purpose of the committee were discussed at commission meetings. Chairman Reinhard Hauck opened the discussion suggesting there not be a committee but believed the planning and zoning board should handle the fact finding. Commissioner Donna Scott said that was how it was handled when crew camps were zoned in Dunn County and it went very well. Planning and Zoning toured crew camps, met with applicants and decided on the specifics on how they were to be set up.

The commissioners were in agreement to dissolve the landfill committee. Planning and zoning will be setting up meetings with counties who have landfills or are looking at landfills. They will also be holding public meetings with their findings. Commissioner Daryl Dukart stated the information should look at the long term of these landfills. Commissioner Bob Kleeman stressed that if the planning and zoning wasn’t satisfied with their findings they shouldn’t rush their decisions. “You have a big job ahead of you,” commented Hauck to planning and zoning. There currently is a six month moratorium on special and industrial waste landfills.

Another agenda item was the continued discussion between the county and the High Plains Cultural Board. Hauck and Scott attended the meeting and shared with the board what was discussed. The HPCC wants the center to continue with its original purpose of an event center. The HPCC board said building onto the north side of the building for needed county office space would be an option. Funding for the center was the main discussion. Currently HPCC is making monthly payments of $2,500 which will dramatically increase to approximately $10,000 a month starting January 2016. At the end of Sept. the HPCC will be running out of money and they are looking at revenue. They have asked for pull tab gaming and a vote for an increase of the Killdeer city sales tax. Even if a sales tax is passed, it would be too late to help with the present shortage of funds commented Hauck. The county needs more space and have been looking at building options. It was decided to hold off on any office building projects until the HPCC matter is settled. Hauck said, “We are at a stalemate at this time.” At the time of the commissioners meeting there were no other meetings planned, but the discussion would be on the agenda for the next commissioners meeting.

Road conditions and budget cuts were discussed with Mike Zimmerman and the commissioners. One area of budget cuts could be dust control. It was suggested the county cover the cost of putting down dust control once, but any dust control after that would be shared with the landowner. With the oil slow down the county has lost support from the oil companies that use to help with dust control.

Section line maintenance was also discussed. The road department has over 50 requests for section line repairs but because of costs and time are unable to complete them. Hauck said there are drainage issues with the section lines, especially if they are farmed right to the edge of them. The commissioners told the road department if the maintenance only calls for a load or two of scoria and a blade it is their call to maintain them. If it is a larger project, the landowner must petition the commissioners for maintenance.

Zimmerman also shared pictures of electric poles installed too close to the roads and they were a public safety concern. McKenzie Electric was contacted by Zimmerman and work on the poles has been suspended for now. The road department will identify which poles need to be moved and make it a priority to get it done because it is such a safety hazard.

Dunn County emergency services, like the sheriff’s department, fire department and ambulance, lease a tower from the Killdeer Public School. The tower is over 40 years old and is in need of repairs or replacement. The cost for replacing the tower could easily reach $62,000 or more. The tower is essential for the emergency systems. The commissioners discussed possible grants or pulling funds together for repairs or replacement of the tower.

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