County Sets Moratorium on Special and Industrial Landfills

Landfills have been an agenda item for the Dunn County Commissioners for a good percentage of 2015 and at the latest commissioners’ meeting they were once again on the agenda.

By Pam Kukla

For the DC Herald

The usual road projects, tax equalization issues, raises for NDSU extension employees and further discussion of the county’s relationship with the High Plains Cultural Center were also discussed.

Industrial and special waste landfills have been a major topic of discussion at commissioner meetings, planning and zoning meetings and community meetings. It has been an ongoing debate and after talking to other counties, specifically Montrail County, Planning and Zoning Coordinator Sandy Rohde suggested to the board a moratorium on any industrial and special waste landfills for six months. “We need to take a step back and do this right,” Rohde said. She also asked of the economic feasibility of having landfills in Dunn County, since there are others in neighboring counties as well. The commissioners will be suggesting residents for a committee to give suggestions on landfills. The moratorium could be lifted earlier if the landfill committee approves.

Engineers updated the commissioners on the 2015 projects and projected 2016 road projects. Reoccurring problems with a slide area was discussed. Commissioners had hoped there was an option that would guarantee the area wouldn’t continue to slide. “We have put a lot of money in it and it still could slide,” said Commissioner Donna Scott. Roads that had been repaired with success were discussed as well as roads that are still sliding. “The reality is we can’t beat Mother Nature,” commented Commissioner Daryl Dukart. In the end it was decided to continue with the proposed plan.

Tax equalization issues were discussed. The issues brought up at an earlier meeting were resolved except for acreage and lots in Werner. Changes in Werner lots were made because even though the land is plotted like a town, it is not a suburban area with an established infrastructure. It is also on a flood plain. Even with those changes, there appears to be issues. Some lots are valued at $100 and some acres at $11,000. “I am struggling with this. We are trying to make everything equal, but some residents are getting whacked,” said Chairman Reinhard Hauck. The commissioners tabled the equalization until the next meeting after Werner lots could be reevaluated.

Hauck discussed the current salaries of extension agents Becky Buchman and Janet Wanek. Their salaries are paid in partnership with NDSU. Hauck suggested a $5,000 stipend increase for each employee plus any additional costs of benefits, etc. Commissioners discussed how Buchman and Wanek have been going above and beyond what is expected of them, for example their help with the weed board move and spray programs as well as re vamping the Dunn County Food Pantry. Dukart added how other counties give their agents stipends to retain them. The stipend would be based year by year and begin in January.

There was continued discussion about a previous request by the High Plains Cultural Center’s request for financial support. There will be an exploratory meeting between the center and the commissioners.

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