Written by Devon Boen
The issue of affordable housing for county employees was the main focus of the Roosevelt County Commissioners’ meeting Thursday, Feb. 28.
With rent rates rising, Roose-velt County employees have had difficult times finding affordable places to live.
To help rectify the problem, the county has purchased four houses that would be allotted to various county employees.
The commissioners said a sheriff’s deputy has had an issue with the rent prices and would eventually be moving into one of the houses. They also said a new road worker would be living in one as well. Commissioner Gary Macdonald said the rent prices were the main reason the county had less deputies stationed on the east end.
It was clear to the board that the lack of affordable housing was an ongoing issue without an end in sight, so it unanimously approved the formation of a housing board. Commissioner Duane Nygaard said it would be the board’s job to set rent rates for the county-owned properties and to handle any funds for future housing purchases.
Macdonald elaborated on how the units would be priced.
“It’ll be at a reasonable rate. It isn’t going to be a giveaway thing. It’s going to be a rate that a deputy could afford,” Macdonald said.
Nygaard said they had already started forming the board and they would release more information about potential board members when they were further into the process.
The board then went on to accept resolution 2013-15, a motion that transferred $56,000 from the county building fund into the records preservation fund. The resolution is aimed at helping the county digitize all its records, a lengthy process that the clerk and recorder’s office has already begun.
At a previous meeting, Macdonald said digitizing the records sooner rather than later was essential.
The commissioners approved hiring Laura Krauth as a new library employee, starting at G1 probation effective March 1. The board also approved hiring Cory Christiansen as a road department employee starting at $16.35/hour, effective March 4.
The board reluctantly accepted Gene Larsen’s resignation from the Roosevelt County weed board, effective Feb. 5.
“I have enjoyed being on the board for 50 some years, but feel it is time for someone else to take my place,” Larsen said.
The commissioners emphasized how much they appreciated his service and planned to honor him some way in the near future.
Alternatively, the commissioners appointed Gregg Labatte to the weed district board. In his letter of interest, Labatte stated he had previously served on the fair board and the water district board.
The commissioners closed out the meeting by approving claims for Feb. 22 in the amount of $82,068.15.