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County to find agreement with Sharlow Township on debt

Stutsman County will work out an arrangement with Sharlow Township for the township to pay down $80,000 it owes for road work.The Stutsman County Commission discussed the issues with Richard Brown, chairman of the Sharlow Township Board, at its m...

Stutsman County will work out an arrangement with Sharlow Township for the township to pay down $80,000 it owes for road work.
The Stutsman County Commission discussed the issues with Richard Brown, chairman of the Sharlow Township Board, at its meeting Tuesday. At stake for the township is having the county resume providing services to the township, like plowing roads. The county also maintains all the roads in the township and is currently not providing those services.
Casey Bradley, county auditor/chief operating officer, said he sent a letter to Brown sometime in September or October informing him how much the township owed to the county. The county has a policy that if a township owes $50,000 or more, the county will stop providing services it normally provides to townships.
Bradley said Sharlow Township was delinquent in about $15,000 to the county this year, but it made a $10,000 payment that brought the account current. Then the township had the county highway department do about $50,000 in gravel work on roads in the township.
Bradley said the township currently levies a maximum of 18 mills in property taxes. He said the township board could ask township voters to approve an excess levy to pay down the debt it owes to the county.
Brown said the township could do that, but it was unlikely the voters would approve a property tax increase. Brown said he wanted to see if the county could approve an excess property tax levy.
Bradley said state law requires that the township would have to be delinquent for a year in paying its debt to the county before the county could enact an excess levy.
Brown said he remembers the letter that Bradley sent about the $15,000 delinquent the township owed..
“You wrote me a letter and I made the payment you asked for,” he said.
Brown then got a letter from Mickey Nenow, supervisor of the county highway department, stating that since the township owed $50,000 for the gravel work, the county would not be providing services to the township.
“I wish you had said that in your letter,” Brown said to Bradley, referring to the notice in Nenow’s letter that county services will be withheld due to the township owing $50,000 for the gravel work.
Brown said the township receives about $8,000 a year in property tax revenues and has about $25,000 to $30,000 in the fund balance, but those funds are only used in an emergency.
Commission Chairman Mark Klose said Brown should make an appointment with Bradley and work out some sort of payment arrangement.
In other business, the County Commission approved a request from Nenow to purchase a used semi with the cost not to exceed $32,000. Nenow said the purchase was budgeted for in the highway department’s 2015 budget.
The commission also heard a report from Bradley that all county employees will be taking training through the Village Business Institute’s Employee Assistance Program. The EAP training will be held on Dec. 16 for employees. Village Business Institute will be offering harassment training on Jan 13 for employees.
colson@jamestownsun.com (701) 952-8454

Related Topics: STUTSMAN COUNTY COMMISSION
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