County Commission narrows down list of applicants for open seatThe Stutsman County Commission will interview six of the 19 applicants for the seat vacated by the death of Doug Kaiser last month. The commission reviewed the names and made the initial selection at its regular meeting Tuesday.
By: Keith Norman, The Jamestown Sun
The Stutsman County Commission will interview six of the 19 applicants for the seat vacated by the death of Doug Kaiser last month. The commission reviewed the names and made the initial selection at its regular meeting Tuesday.
Each of the four remaining commissioners chose three names for the finalist list with the intent that the top five vote-getters would be interviewed at a special meeting at 4 p.m. Thursday at the courthouse. However, when only six people received votes the commission decided to interview all six rather than attempt to break the tie between the fifth- and sixth-place vote recipients.
“You don’t want to waste your time or the time of a person that has no chance,” said Noel Johnson, chief operating officer for the county. “That is why you need to narrow it down.”
The six finalists will be interviewed by the four commission members and John Paulson, presiding judge for the Southeast Judicial District. Johnson said state law specified the selection of a replacement commissioner is made by the remaining commissioners and the District Court judge. It does not specify the actual mechanics of the process.
The commission will interview Steve Cichos, Clarence Daniel, Mark Dockter, Calvin Dupree, Bob Lulay and David Schwartz. Whoever is appointed to the post will hold office until the general election in 2012 and would have the option to run for re-election at that time.
“We’ll proceed like we do with all interviews,” Johnson said. “We’ll prepare a list of questions and ask each applicant the same set of questions. Judge Paulson has indicated he wants to ask if the person will be a full-time commissioner and have the time to commit to the job. It’s more than a meeting a month.”
In other business, the commission held its final budget hearing and approved the 2011 county budget.
“The tax increase is negligible and more money is going to the roads,” Johnson said. “The budget includes deficit spending of $1.6 million leaving projected reserves of $7.6 million at the end of 2011.”
Johnson said the total county levy will be about 113.67 mills compared to 112.90 mills last year. This includes a decrease of 1.5 mills for the general fund and an increase of 2.5 mills for the road funds.
The county’s total expense budget is set at $19.5 million with $6.7 million generated by property taxes.
The commission had approved the budget at a previous meeting but was obligated by North Dakota law to hold a hearing allowing public comments before the budget could be finalized.
The commission also approved a $2.5 million bond issue for Allied Agronomy through the Recovery Zone Facility Revenue Bonds program. The program allows businesses to get tax breaks as part of the federal stimulus [rogram. The bond carries no liability for the county.
Allied Agronomy is building a seed and fertilizer distribution facility on the U.S. Highway 281 Bypass.
Sun reporter Keith Norman can be reached at (701) 952-8452 or by e-mail at email@example.com