The Stutsman County Commission agreed Tuesday to rescind the bids for a road project in Spiritwood at the request of CHS Inc., which has put its proposed nitrogen fertilizer plant on hold.

“The money spent on the road projects will be billed back” to CHS, said Casey Bradley, Stutsman County auditor/chief operating officer. That will happen whether or not the fertilizer plant project goes forward.

The engineering for the road project was complete, but should CHS still move forward with building the fertilizer plant - and the Spiritwood road project - the company will have to renegotiate for the land used in the road project.

The project would improve a portion of Stutsman County Road/Highway 62 and create a new road that would become 34th Street Southeast.

The project had an estimated price tag of $8 to $16 million, depending on several options and on how the bids came in. CHS would have paid the entire cost through a special assessment.

While CHS requested the commission to rescind the bids for the road project, the company also requested that the county negotiate an option to purchase the right-of-way land from the landowners, Bradley said. Previously the right-of-way purchase agreements had been set up and ready to close on April 15.

“They would like us to negotiate that. I don’t know if that’s something we would do,” Bradley said, noting that would mean the county negotiating a legal document between two other groups - CHS and the landowners.

Commissioners unanimously voted to rescind the road project, and also agreed that CHS should negotiate its right-of-way options itself, directly with the landowners, rather than through the county.

In other news Tuesday, the commission:

* authorized Josh Smaage, director of information technology for Stutsman County, for out-of-state travel for continuing education. Smaage will attend a week-long conference in Texas at the cost of $2,195, plus travel and lodging costs, which were included in the annual budget.

* accepted a bid for gravel crushing and stockpiling for $4.09 per yard from RTS Shearing. The other bids were $4.40 and $6 per square yard.

* received a monthly update from Stutsman County State’s Attorney Fritz Fremgen and authorized the hiring of a temporary summer law clerk and a person to scan archived case files.

* established the Stutsman County Courthouse as an early voting precinct, with hours from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 26 through June 9, except for May 31 and June 7, when the hours will be from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

* set the pay for poll workers at $12 per hour, and agreed to have a reserve deputy at the polling place on election day in case someone becomes belligerent due to the new requirement for picture identification in order to vote.

Sun reporter Kari Lucin can be reached at (701) 952-8453 or by email at

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