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Devils Lake Journal - Devils Lake, ND
  • Ramsey County Commission struggles with flood committee

  • No matter how long or how loudly they discussed it, after a while it was clear at Tuesday’s regularly scheduled meeting that the Ramsey County Commission was unsure about the composition and accomplishments of the Devils Lake Executive Committee.
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  • By Louise Oleson
    Journal Managing Editor
    No matter how long or how loudly they discussed it, after a while it was clear at Tuesday’s regularly scheduled meeting that the Ramsey County Commission was unsure about the composition and accomplishments of the Devils Lake Executive Committee.
    When addressing the agenda item about having a member of the Ramsey County Commission serve on the committee Commissioner Ed Brown made a motion to table any action and to wait and see if the committee was going to continue meeting or even existing.
    That motion died for lack of a second.
    Then Commissioner Bill Mertens volunteered to represent Ramsey County, saying he was familiar with the committee because he’d attended all the meetings they’d held.
    That was moved and seconded but during the discussion, before the vote, commission president Scott Diseth questioned the results of the committee thus far asking, “What have they really done to help us here in Devils Lake?”
    As the comments grew more and more animated, he added, “I don’t believe anything they say.”
    Commissioner Myrna Heisler questioned her fellow commissioners, “Don’t you think  Ramsey County should be a part of the committee?”
    “Or are we opening a whole can of worms here?”
    Who appoints the members of the committee? Is it the Governor or who decides who sits on it and who doesn’t? Who represents Ramsey County residents and their interests? Is this committee necessary any longer? All these questions and more were asked but no one had any answers. Therefore in the end, the vote on the motion was defeated with Mertens and Commissioner Mark Olson voting in the affirmative and Heisler voting against it with Brown. Diseth broke the tie with a vote against it, as well. The issue ended up being tabled after all to be dealt with at another meeting once they obtain more information.
    About DLEC
    Originally headed by Brigadier General Michael Walsh of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the committee is made up of federal, state and local entities working in concert to find solutions to and mitigate flooding impacts both within the Devils Lake Basin and downstream.
    DLEC was established by a federal task force that issued a report on Devils Lake in 2010, recommending steps to reduce the flood risk and lessen the flood impacts for the lake that has nearly quadrupled in size since the early 1990s.

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