An uneventful regular meeting of the Ramsey County Commission was interrupted Tuesday as the public was asked to leave and the commission went into an executive session to discuss details of threatened or pending litigation.
When the meeting was called back into session a motion was made, seconded and passed to make a counter offer to settle the dispute.
No further information is available on this matter at the present time.
Other business conducted at the meeting included a discussion about the unwanted mobile home in the town of Edmore. Mark Shipley offered to take a look at it to see if he was interested in it.
Emergency Manager Kristen Nelsen reported on efforts to obtain specs for a new surveillance system for the courthouse. The issue was tabled by the commission until they hear from the architectural firm they’d asked to outline the county’s needs.
Nels Halgren from rural water helped the county understand about fee increases that rural residents may see in the future and cleared up some rumors the commission had heard about their rates doubling. He assured the commission that the only increases he could foresee may be an increase in water usage rates not an increase in the base rates, and that would not be a significant increase.
“We’re the lowest in the state,” Halgren said pointing out that water rates may have to go up but that base rates most assuredly would not rise.
He also reported that they would be in their new building by the end of the year and the former building will be turned over to the county at that time.
County Auditor Elizabeth Fischer talked about the election needs for the coming year and asked for an increase in the hourly wage paid to election workers. “It’s getting more and more difficult to find people to work the entire 14-hour day,” she explained. The commissioners voted to keep the precincts the same and to increase the hourly wage to $12 an hour.
“If anyone is interested in being an election worker, please contact the Ramsey County Auditor’s office. We need more workers in the year ahead, 2014 is an election year,” Fischer said.
Road Superintendent Kevin Fieldsend reminded the commission that it is time to review the county’s 5-year road plan. That was tabled until January.
He also discussed Ramsey County No. 10, the truck weight training happening Thursday, and a pre-job meeting planned with the state DOT.
Mertens asked him about snow removal in Lakewood as he’d received calls regarding a berm being left that four-wheel drive vehicles could not get over. Fieldsend explained it was a driveway and the property owner’s responsibility to take care of.
Page 2 of 2 - The commission voted three to two to install wireless Internet in the courthouse, with commissioners Mark Olson and Scott Diseth voting against it.
They approved Sunday beer licenses, dealt with board appointments, added a couple of items to the next meeting’s agenda, moved the IT department to the same commissioner’s portfolio who has the tax director and approved a letter of support for the Airport and Skywest Airlines.
Commissioner Bill Mertens reported he had attended a state water board meeting recently where the governor assured those in attendance that the Devils Lake outlets would continue to pump and the Sheyenne River would remain full, water would continue to flow.
The commission briefly discussed the county setting up policy that would deal with drain tile permits. That will be put on the agenda and discussed further at a future meeting.
He and Commissioner Myrna Heisler volunteered to be part of the Devils Lake Executive Meeting that will take place via telephone in January.