County officials are asking questions about an unspecified amount of money that was supposed to have been paid to the Family Crisis Shelter but apparently wasn’t.
The total amount is several thousand dollars, according to representatives of the shelter, who were present at the regular session of Williams County Commissioners on Tuesday.
The money was to have come from the Crime Victim and Witness fees that are collected and distributed to the State’s Attorney department in the county’s General Fund.
Marlyce Wilder, Williams County state’s attorney, told the Williston Herald in an email that the money would have been collected through the Clerk of Court’s office, then forwarded to the Williams County Treasurer.
“From there it’s my understanding that a portion of what’s collected is designated for victim services, as provided by the State’s Attorneys’ office,” she said. “The balance (and I don’t know any proportions as such) would be available for other distribution — which would/should include the Family Crisis Shelter.”
Wilder said she was not sure about the process for payment to the shelter.
“It sounds like they apply, the commissioners consider their need, and money is paid,” she said.
Ronda Peterson, a board member for the Family Crisis Shelter, told commissioners that their agency is not not asking for the full amount going back to 2014, but would like funds for 2018 and 2019, which total $20,000.
Commissioner Steven Kemp, however, said he would like to see the county pay the whole amount.
“It is a travesty that we didn’t give you that amount,” he said.
Williams County Commission Chairman David Montgomery also said he wants the shelter to get all the funding as well.
“It is only right,” he said. “We just have to determine an amount. If you bear with us a couple of weeks, we will get some answers from Marlyce and can bring back a recommendation to the next meeting.”
A line item is already in the 2018 and 2019 budget for $10,000 for each year.
Peterson said she had come to the meeting mainly to thank Commissioners for that.
“We are here to let you know we are here,” she said. “We provide a valuable service to the community. We would like to continue to receive funding for the crisis shelter.”
Peterson indicated the shelter has provided more services to the community since opening an expanded facility in 2017.
According to statistics provided to the commission, the shelter housed 190 women and 135 children for 7,186 nights of safe shelter in 2018. It also provided services to 407 victims of domestic violence and 51 victims of sexual assault. Advocates helped more than 83 victims file for protection orders, as well as assisting victims of 59 sexual assaults.
Granite Peaks Apartments have a new owner
An apartment complex approved in 2012 for Granite Peaks Partners will be finished by a new company, after commissioners approved transfer of the property’s conditional use permits to Weidner Apartment homes.
Planning and Zoning recommended approving the transfer in its July 18th meeting by a 6 to 2 vote, with Dan Kalil and Barry Ramberg, who is also a Williams County Commissioner, voting against the transfer.
Weidner actually purchased the properties in 2018, but had been unaware that the conditional use permit would not automatically transfer with the sale, according to a staff report on the property.
The only condition in the permit was that 10 percent of the units be designated for public employees.
David Avenell, representing Weidner, told commissioners that 180 apartments for the 300-unit complex have been built out and occupied. His company plans to build out all of the remaining 120 units.
Among conditions of the approval are compliance with existing building codes and approval by Civil and by the Water Board for future development. Parking in the right of way will also be prohibited.
Commissioners voted unanimously to approve the transfer.
Solution floated for plat error
Commissioners will pursue the least costly solution to a plat error in West Prairie Estates, where a portion of a new plat was recorded over the top of an existing plat for Sublot 3.
Williams County Surveyor Pat Beebe recommended vacating the portion of West Prairie Estates that overlaps Sublot 3, and then doing a certificate of correction to add to the legal description of the subdivision.
That would cause five or so lots to be unbuildable after that, Beebe said, so at some point and time West Prairie would have to rearrange that area of the plat.
“My recommendation at this point would be to send out a letter to all of the owners, to see if they are willing to sign the action map,” he said. “They all have to sign, according to the statute.”
If any are unwilling to sign, then the matter would be out of the county’s hands, Beebe said. The owners would have to fight it out in the legal system.
Commissioners unanimously approved authorizing Beebe to send out letters notifying the owners of the proposed solution.
On other matters commissioners:
• Approved a variance allowing the creation of two lots less than 40 acres in Hardscrabble Township, as well as a variance allowing a lot that doesn’t have a public street or road easement. The property owners, who are related, will have to get a deed restriction that requires that easement in the event the lots are ever sold.
• Approved a conditional use permit allowing Plains Pipeline to add two 95,000-barrel storage tanks to a facility at the Trenton Terminal in Judson Township. Commissioners dropped a requirement to pave off-site roads to county standards, as well as one requiring them to participate in paving 48th Street, which company officials said they are not using. Interior roads must be paved, and a trackout pad is required.
• Approved the transfer of a conditional use permit for a gravel pit in Hofflund Township from Melgaard Construction to Max Trax Transport. A requirement to provide an access point at 105th Street was removed, as the company already has an access point a mile west of that.
• Approved a conditional use permit for bulk fuel storage in Judson Township requested by Jared Young. A requirement for 200 feet of pavement into the facility was rescinded in favor of a trackout device.
• Approved a zone change from agricultural to rural residential on 202 acres in Judson Township. The lots would average 10 acres each, with the idea that owners could have horses on the property. The permit for the development is set to expire in 36 months if not constructed or use is abandoned, unless an extension is granted.
• Appointed Ken Kjos for a one-year term as a voting member to represent Williams County on the North Dakota Missouri River Advisory council. Lindsey Harriman, Williams County’s communications officer, was appointed as an alternate. Kjos replaces Corey Paryzek, who resigned.
• Appointed Steven Jensen from Mountain Township to the joint hazards board for Williston’s new airport.
• Approved a bid with Tractor and Equipment for eight new diesel-powered motor graders at a cost of $339,395 each. Trade in value for the equipment is $253,000 each. The other bid was RDO Equipment, with a cost of $335,950 each, and a buyback of $220,350.
• Approved a preliminary budget of $112.9 million in expenditures and set a hearing date of Oct. 1, 2019, for the final budget.
• Authorized the Williams County Commission Chairman to sign documents related to the sale of the county highway department’s old facility to Busted Knuckles brewery. The owners have until Aug. 31 to close on the property.