Commissioners Listen to Residents’ Concerns

It was business as usual for the county commissioners’ latest meeting as they listened to the concerns of residents about further funding for the High Plains Cultural Center and the organization of a landfill committee.

By Pam Kukla

Chairman Reinhard Hauck shared with the commissioners information from the first meeting with High Plains Cultural Center board members. Hauck said the HPCC members would like the center to run as it is currently if the county should take over and the county adds the needed offices. The commissioners questioned if the building was handicapped accessible. It was stressed again by the commissioners that no money would be given to the center until an audit had been performed. Road superintendent Mike Zimmerman reminded the commissioners of the DOT grant given to HPCC. “If that [HPCC] doesn’t stay open to the public the grant has to be paid back,” he said. Later in the meeting three Killdeer city residents asked to discuss funding for HPCC and shared their feelings about the center. “We think it is time to let them close the door,” said Killdeer resident Mickey Wetsch. “I see some future in the cultural center,” said Commissioner Daryl Dukart. Hauck added, “We need space for offices from the Killdeer county building.” The commissioners stressed no funding has taken place and more meetings will be held before any decisions will be made. “We don’t have any answers yet,” added Hauck.

The commissioners also brought up the suggested members for the proposed landfill committee. The committee was originally proposed to have 13 members, but it was discussed increasing that number to make sure all of the cities of Dunn County have a voice. The committee would be meeting to answer questions about landfills and setting up guidelines for conditional use permits. The committee will then hold public meetings to discuss their findings. “You need to come to the public meetings,” stressed Commissioner Donna Scott. The commissioners talked to the residents in the audience and said this is a learning process and they are looking to other counties in similar situations.

In other business, the commissioners were given an update on various road projects. Concerns with Epic Engineering were addressed and communication has improved. The engineers invited the commissioners to take a tour of the road project and to answer any questions or concerns.

Representatives of Northern Improvement working on the Southwest Water pipeline were present to explain their pipeline process and answer any questions from the commissioners. Northern Improvement asked if there were any objections to moving their plow train equipment over roads. Zimmerman said he had no concerns as longs as they used mats to go over so the roads weren’t damaged. The company is an established company with a good reputation. They are contractually bound for four years to clean up and repair work after pipeline construction. The representatives explained they were getting some resistance from residents who are confusing their pipeline with oil/gas pipelines. Northern Improvement stressed they are providing a service the residents want and will be around to make sure the land and roads are not damaged.

Sheriff Clay Coker was on the agenda to discuss concerns at the Little Missouri Bay and the need for a shooting range. The area at one time had been open to overnight camping, but no longer. A fire had broken out earlier from an unattended campfire and Coker assured the commissioners that deputies would be patrolling the area more to make sure people aren’t camping. Law enforcement branches must have shooting qualifications and practice. The current shooting range involves membership and guidelines the sheriff’s department can’t legally follow, like requiring NRA membership. There has been discussion about a defunct shooting range and if it would fulfill the needs for the law enforcement training, not only for the Dunn County deputies but also the Killdeer Police Department and ND State Highway Department. Coker will continue to investigate gun club options.

Extension agent Becky Buchmann updated the commissioners on the progress of the food pantry. The food pantry now has a refurbished glass fronted cooler, shelving and a freezer is on the way. Hinrichs donated lettuce and more donations were coming. Dunn County 4H groups sent 55 static projects, up from the 15 sent last year, to the fair in honor of the fair’s 50th anniversary. “We have a good variety of projects,” added Buchmann. The number of livestock entries had also increased this year. The office is also busy getting ready for the upcoming Achievement Days in August.

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