Commissioners move to make Co. Auditor appointed position
Agricultural land valuation to increase
COUNTY – At Tuesday’s regular monthly meeting of the Walsh County Commission, commissioners unanimously passed a motion to appoint Kris Molde as the new Walsh County Auditor. She will take over for auditor Sharon Kinsala who has been in that position for the past 10 years. Kinsala’s last day as auditor is scheduled for March 15.
Molde, who has been Kinsala’s assistant in the auditor’s office, was one of two candidates who were interviewed for the position.
The county is currently advertising to fill the deputy auditor’s position.
The commissioners also moved forward with plans to make the auditor an appointed position in the future. On Tuesday they consulted with Walsh County State’s Attorney Barbara Whelan as to what the commission could do based on what the North Dakota State Century Code says on the matter.
Whelan said if the commission wishes to go ahead with plans to appoint the auditor’s position, she feels it is legally defensible.
In 2006, voters in Walsh County voted to amend the Home Rule Charter to give the commissioners the authority to combine, separate and or eliminate a county office. In 2010 voters in the county voted down a measure to combine offices and re-designate the auditor, treasurer and recorder into appointed positions.
At Tuesday’s meeting commissioners approved a motion to adopt a preliminary resolution to make the auditor an appointed position. It was moved by Ernie Barta and seconded by Karen Anderson and passed unanimously.
Whelan told commissioners that as part of the process they are required to publish the complete text of the resolution two times in the official county newspaper within 30 days. It is further required that public hearings or community forums must be held to discuss the matter. Following that, commissioners have two years in which to change the preliminary resolution into a final resolution. She also said the process is subject to referendum by 10 percent of the voters in the county.
Also at Tuesday’s meeting the commissioners approved a 14-percent increase in the valuation of ag land in Walsh County.
In 2012, the value of land in Walsh County was $684.16 per-acre. The state set the taxable value of agricultural land in Walsh County at $819.71. The commissioners have the authority to adjust that figure and chose to raise it by 14 percent which come out to a figure of $780.44 per-acre.
The motion to approve was made by Ernie Barta and seconded by Luther Meberg.
Meberg said the 14-percent increase should account for another expected increase in agricultural land values expected in 2014.