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Berthold considers new shared building for ambulance and fire department

The city of Berthold is considering the use of a new building shared with the Berthold Ambulance Service and the Berthold Fire Department.

4/17/13 (Wed)

By Caroline Downs

The city of Berthold is considering the use of a new building shared with the Berthold Ambulance Service and the Berthold Fire Department.

Clayton Fegley of the Berthold Ambulance Service talked with council members about the potential building project, to be constructed on a lot at the southeast corner of the city. “The Economic Development Corporation will help with the engineering and architect costs,” he said. “We want to start with some sort of design.”

Mayor Alan Lee and council members brainstormed a list of features for the building with Fegley, including bays for the ambulance and fire vehicles, a common meeting and/or training room, a space to hold municipal court, offices for the city auditor and police chief, and possibly even a kitchenette and sleeping facilities.

Fegley said an architect from Ackerman-Estvold Engineering & Consulting would be available to meet with representatives from the three groups on April 16th or 17th. “We need more input from the city’s side,” he added.

Lee agreed he and one of the council members would be available for the meeting.

New ordinances strengthen
police department
The Berthold city council took another step to strengthen its new police department as it reviewed and approved a group of police and court ordinances during a special council meeting held April 9th.

Chief of police Al Schmidt discussed the ordinances with council members, who conducted their second reading of those ordinances. Schmidt noted several minor revisions and additions he made to the laws. “For the most part, the ordinances look good,” he said.

Council members discussed specific ordinances pertaining to street vendors, fireworks, gambling, curfew for minors, the use of skateboards and in-line skates, and the use of four-wheelers in the city.

Establishing the ordinances was a necessary step in the formation of a municipal court, and Schmidt said he would forward the approved ordinances to the District Attorney’s office as required.

He suggested scheduling court dates every two weeks in order to establish a timely routine for handling citations, and he recommended appointing a law-trained individual as the court’s judge.

“Some misdemeanors couldn’t be heard by a municipal judge,” he said.

“We also need to advertise for a clerk of court,” said Mayor Lee.

The city of Berthold will advertise both positions to determine interest, with the intent of beginning municipal court sessions in May.

Schmidt reported to the council about his activity as chief, including making progress in obtaining the necessary uniforms, equipment and gear for his vehicle.

He has been monitoring the railroad crossings and dealing with illegally parked vehicles. “Some of those vehicles have been parked there for years,” he said. “I’ve been writing warnings, then giving them a week to move the vehicle. If they don’t, then I’ll write them a ticket and give them another week. If they don’t do anything then, I’ll probably impound it.”

Council members commented on the slower traffic speeds they had noticed on U.S. Highway 2 as it runs through Berthold. Schmidt now patrols that stretch of road or parks to check traffic speeds. “I think it’s working,” he said.

He told the council there is no need at this time to hire a second officer. “I’m not having any trouble taking all the calls,” he said.

Schmidt also raised the issue of housing, saying that he is planning to get married during the fall and that his two children have expressed an interest in living with him in Berthold.

“I want to have permanent housing in Berthold, but everything here is so expensive,” he said as council members nodded in agreement. “I have looked here and in Carpio and Burlington, but I’d like to live in Berthold.”

He asked the council if there was a way the city could help offset housing costs or provide some type of assistance. Lee said the council would need to discuss the situation further.

“I really like it here,” Schmidt repeated. “I want to stay here.”

Berthold considers
building inspector
Mike Larson, the building inspector for Ward County, talked with council members about similar services he could provide under contract with the city of Berthold. “The city of Minot has five different inspectors, but I’m the only inspector for the county,” he said, “and I’m caught up on a six-month backlog of inspections.”

Larson spoke about his typical expectations for mobile home developments, including their placement and the need for storm shelters. He also described his inspection schedules for stick-built homes, which involve at least one inspection as the footings are determined, a second as framing takes place, and the final inspection. Additional inspections on construction projects could be done as needed.

He told the council he had grown up in Carrington and started working with his father, a plumber, at the age of 14. He operated his own plumbing business and worked in a wholesale supply operation before moving to Ward County.

“I’ve been around construction all my life,” he said about his qualifications. “Mechanically, I have many certifications and licenses, both residential and commercial.”

He noted he continues to add new licenses and study changes made to the building code. “I enjoy learning,” he said.

Larson said he did a preliminary inspection of Berthold before the council meeting that night. “I’m impressed by the way your city is built,” he said as council members laughed. “I’m always looking for things that are wrong. I found a few, but nothing too extreme.”

If hired, Larson would review building permits and the related building plans that have been approved by the city’s Planning and Zoning Committee, then follow through with the required inspections. He presented a sample agreement for review by council members and city attorney Bryan Van Grinsven.

The council will take action on the agreement for Larson’s services at a later meeting.

Building permits for
elevator expansion,
Iseman Homes
Council member Nathan Fegley reported on three building permit applications recommended for approval by the Planning and Zoning Committee.

The largest project was a 900,000-bushel expansion at Berthold Farmers Elevator, to include a dump pit, new concrete silos, and a driveway. Fegley said the project was estimated to cost between $10 and $12 million. The council approved the building permit.

Iseman Homes had purchased three lots with access to Highway 28 and wanted to put a 30’x60’ modular home with a garage on the site as a spec home. Council members approved the permit, but they wanted all ordinances followed as would be required of other new homes in the community.

“Make sure they’re aware they have to have it landscaped within six months, have a garage built within a year, and that the skirting matches the house all the way to the ground,” said Mayor Lee. “Other houses are held to these ordinances.”

The council approved a third permit for garage construction at the Bill Whetham residence.

Council members also passed a variance request recommended for approval by the Planning and Zoning Committee for a building project at the Taylor residence.

Fegley and Lee both noted they had heard nothing from representatives of the FiveStone Development regarding a potential new mobile home park for the community.

In other business:
•City council members approved the minutes of the March meeting and bills received for payment, as presented.

•The council approved a two-year agreement and fee rate schedule to contract the services of Brice Olson of Kadrmas, Lee & Jackson as the city engineer.

•Council members approved a motion to send a letter to Wold Engineering advising them about local ordinances related to campers and FEMA trailers parked in the city limits.

•Councilman Jim Peterson reported on a water pipe break on South Sangalli Street, describing the pipe that was repaired as exceptionally brittle. “It’s fixed right now, but we should consider a more permanent fix,” he said.

•Peterson announced his resignation from the council. Persons interested in filling his unexpired term as a council member should contact Miller at City Hall.

•City auditor Penni Miller distributed copies of a letter she wants to send informing city residents about the new water meter installation and changes in the billing process from an annual to a monthly payment. She also reported the billing software had been updated in the city’s computer system. Council members discussed the letter and upcoming meter change that will eliminate old and inaccurate meters. No new meter installations have been scheduled yet, and the letters will be mailed to residents at a later date.

•Council members approved a motion authorizing KLJ to conduct the preliminary engineering report necessary to determine size, layout, cost and environmental considerations related to an expansion of the city’s lagoon, at a cost up to $25,000. “We know we need more lagoon space,” said Mayor Lee. “That would allow us to do a small project, like 20 or 30 more homes here.”

•The next regular meeting of the Berthold City Council is scheduled for Monday, May 6, 2013, at 7:30 pm.