Ramsey County debates large ticket item purchases

Staff Writer
Devils Lake Journal
Ramsey County Commissioner Scott Diseth speaks during a debate about spending at Tuesday’s meeting.

Much of Tuesday’s Ramsey County Commission meeting was spent in debate about purchasing three or six road graders.

Initially the county had decided to replace three of their graders and obtained bids from local dealers. After a great deal of back and forth debate about the costs involved and the benefits of rear-wheel drive graders versus the all-wheel drive graders, Commissioner Bill Mertens made a motion to purchase six all-wheel drive graders. The motion was seconded to allow further discussion, but failed four to one when the vote was taken.

It was followed by a motion to buy three of the all-wheel drive graders, as originally planned, not six. That motion received a second and passed unanimously.

Concerned about how it would look to county residents when property taxes had to be increased this year, the commissioners pointed out that the money for the graders came from the legislature, not local property taxes, and exists within the present county highway budget.

Other business

  • Paula Vistad from the Devils Lake Area Chamber of Commerce thanked the County Commission for the use of the Memorial Building for the Holiday Showcase event held on Monday. She said the night was a great success with over 300 people attending. Congratulations were echoed by the commissioners who attended the event.
  • Emergency Manager Kristen Nelsen gave a brief report to the commission about what was happening with the surveillance cameras and asked for a motion to approve the improved multi-hazard grant application.
  • One property was removed from the list for auction allowing present owners ten more days. Then, at 5:45 p.m. the county’s foreclosure sale was held and a number of properties were auctioned off while several others received no bids.
  • A representative from Bremer Insurance secured coverage for the county’s property for the next five years and the county voted to include Farmer’s Union Insurance in the rotation.
  • Commissioner Myrna Heisler reported on the meetings she had attended that were part of her portfolio and reminded the commissioners of the public forum being held on Monday 6 p.m. in the Robert Fawcett Auditorium at LRSC to air concerns and questions about the proposed oil refinery that may be coming to Devils Lake.
  • Commissioner Ed Brown asked Sheriff Steve Nelson to give the commission an update on what’s happening at the LEC, which he did. He said things were going much better, that they were fully staffed and population was at near capacity. Nelson also asked for permission to get bids locally for vehicles for the Sheriff’s Department and requested to attend the western sheriff’s conference in Las Vegas in March. Both requests were granted.
  • The commission approved two raffle permits and also reviewed a letter from Safe Alternatives for Abused Families.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Ramsey County Commission is Tuesday, Dec. 2 at 8 a.m. in the Ramsey County Courthouse.