Commission raises taxable valuation 8 percent
COUNTY – At Monday’s regular meeting of the Walsh County Commission, commissioners approved a motion to increase taxable valuation of agricultural land in the county by 8 percent for 2014.
The state recently set the value of agricultural land in Walsh County at $909.62 per acre, an increase from $819.71 in 2013.
Walsh County Tax Equalization Director Mary Wild said Walsh County’s agricultural land per acre is the fifth highest valuation in the state. The average acre of cropland in the county is valued at $1,72.45 per acre and non-cropland is valued at $162.24 per acre.
The computations are done by the Agribusiness and Applied Economics Department at North Dakota State University.
The commissioners have the authority to adjust that figure by10 percent, up or down.
Commissioner Luther Meberg made the motion for the 8 percent increase, it was seconded by Karen Anderson and passed unanimously.
In other business Monday, commissioners discussed the county’s storm policy for closing county offices in the event of bad weather.
Commissioner Meberg referenced Wednesday, Jan. 22, when the county offices first closed until noon and then decided to close for the rest of the day, while several schools in the county remained open.
“Four of the five schools in the county were open and our county offices were closed,” he told Sheriff Lauren Wild during the discussion. “I got three calls about it and none of them were happy.”
Meberg said he had no problem with the county offices being closed in the morning during the ground blizzard, but said they should have opened for the afternoon when conditions improved.
Wild said he made the call about 11 a.m., while driving a circuit of roads east and north of Grafton. He said shortly after making the decision to keep the offices closed, conditions drastically improved.
“In my 25 years, my system generally works,” Wild said. “I’ll take the heat. I made the call.”
The commissioners also unanimously passed a motion to approve the Sheriff’s Department purchasing of a 2014 Polaris 4×4 all-terrain vehicle as well as a 12-foot aluminum trailer.
The low bid came from Tufte Marine of Northwood. Wild told commissioners that the bid from Tufte Marine was much lower than any local bid.
The ATV cost $14,410 and the trailer $2,300. Wild said he had $16,500 in his budget to make the purchase.
Wild also got the authority from the commission to get quotes for security cameras. He said he would like to see four new cameras for the courthouse and three more outside the Law Enforcement Center. He said the city would pay for one-third of the cost for the cameras at the LEC.
In other business the commission:
• Approved the signing of a maintenance certification with the State of North Dakota for Federal Aid road projects to be done in 2014.
• Was informed by Walsh County Health District administrator Wanda Kratochvil that the county has received $129,000 to do a study for substance abuse prevention. She said the study will concentrate on binge and underage drinking. She said the county will probably be contracting with Students Against Destructive Decisions or SADD to do some of the work. Kratochvil also told commissioners that 35 employees have signed up for the county’s new health and wellness program.
The next meeting of the Walsh County Commission is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 18, at 9 a.m., in the Commissioner’s Room at the Walsh County Courthouse.