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Berthold looks at starting its own Police Department

The city of Berthold may soon benefit from local law enforcement, following discussion at a special meeting of the city council held July 10th.

7/17/12 (Tue)

Carpio wants to share police protection, too

By Caroline Downs

The city of Berthold may soon benefit from local law enforcement, following discussion at a special meeting of the city council held July 10th.

Mayor Alan Lee and council members met with Burlington Police Department Chief Keith Crabb to talk about the process of establishing a department in Berthold.

Currently, the city of Berthold relies on law enforcement services provided by the Ward County Sheriff’s Office. However, deputies are limited in their abilities to enforce city ordinances, unless approved by a judge.

“This is something we have to start looking at pretty seriously,” said Lee as he mentioned concerns with increased traffic along U.S. Highway 2 through Berthold and the potential impact of a large residential development. “Carpio is interested in getting something started, too, and they’re interested in doing some kind of cost share with us.”

Crabb said the Burlington department worked closely with the Ward County Sheriff’s Office and the North Dakota Highway Patrol, especially for traffic calls on U.S. Highway 52 near the city. “We do a lot to enforce our city ordinances, too,” he said. “Anything from junk autos to tall grass in yards.”

He agreed with Lee that the need for additional law enforcement officers in the region was important. “We have two officers and will be going to six,” he said as he referenced a recent annexation of property into the city of Burlington. “The mayor thinks we’re short-manned now.”

Crabb, who has served 13 years with the Burlington PD including 10 as chief, talked about several aspects of the department starting with basic costs. He noted a new patrol car and the necessary equipment and technology could run $40,000, but also pointed out some grant money is available to help communities with those costs.

Employee salaries are another consideration. “We start our new employees at $17 an hour,” he said, “plus PERS at 14 percent of their salary, for the state retirement program.”

According to Crabb, benefits for Burlington’s law enforcement officers include paid vacation and a single plan insurance policy. The city also maintains liability insurance on the officers.

Typically, training is provided by the state at the law enforcement academy in Bismarck at no cost to the city, Crabb said. He encouraged the Berthold city council to hire young, newly-trained officers but cautioned that an experienced mentor would be important on the department as well.

“Then there’s office space and some equipment,” he said. He noted Burlington uses facilities in Minot for adult and juvenile detention needs, paying daily costs for anyone housed there.

He explained all calls to the department are run through Minot Central Dispatch. “We have those calls forwarded to our officers,” he said.

Crabb also recommended a municipal judge be elected in the city to hear local cases. “They can hear anything up to a Class B misdemeanor,” he said, “and the fines for those are paid to your city.”

He offered to share copies of the Burlington Police Department’s budget, policies and procedures with members of the Berthold City Council. “Law enforcement is one of those things you can’t volunteer for,” he said. “Anything you guys need, I can help you get started.”

“This would help with the safety issue in our community,” Lee said, “and that’s the biggest thing.”

Oil tank manufacturing
facility to be built
near Berthold
Council members approved a building permit request from Dan Conlin of Minot to build and operate a tank manufacturing plant east of the city’s cemetery on land under the jurisdiction of both the city and Berthold Township.

Conlin showed building sketches to the council and described a 36,000 square foot structure to house manufacturing operations with storage outdoors for the tanks. He told the council he plans to manufacture 400-, 500-, 750- and 1000-barrel tanks to meet demand in the oilfield.

“The shop will also produce the walkways, stairways and accessories that go with production,” he said.

He plans to produce 1000 tanks in the shop’s first year and boost output to 2000 tanks by the second year of operation. “We’ll have the shop up and running by January,” he said. “We’ll have about 30 employees to start and up to as many 40 employees. Most of our workers will make $30 to $40 per hour.”

The operation and storage areas will be fenced, and Conlin said he was aware of the weight load limits for the roads leading to his property. “We’re expecting one semi-load of steel per day,” he said. “We’ll gravel about 10 acres for trucks to use.”

The council approved the request unanimously. “These will be some good paying jobs for the community,” said Mayor Lee.

Two additional building permits were approved for a 60’ x 120’ building to be erected for Keiser’s Cold Storage and for a garage to be built by Scott Dahl, after the current garage is demolished.

Developer wants
to get started on
244 family homes,
216 townhomes and
seven commercial
lots in Berthold
Doug Chandler of Allied Engineering in Stanley introduced himself to the Berthold city council as the engineer now working for Five Stone on the residential and commercial development proposed for Berthold. Five Stone wants to begin work immediately on Phase I of the project east of Berthold, adjacent to U.S. Highway 2.

Plans for Phase I include 244 single family lots, at 10,000-plus square feet each, 216 townhomes, and seven commercial lots at 1.5 to 9.6 acres.

Dave Berry, a partner in Five Stone Development, announced about 25 acres in Phase I would be dedicated open space for parks and a walking trail. “There’s also parking planned for people who want to come out to use the trail,” he said.

The issue at hand for the two parties is a developer’s agreement between the city and Five Stone. Attorneys for both sides had just completed a revised draft of the agreement, with council members receiving copies a few hours before the evening’s meeting.

“As I understand it, the city has to approve the portion of the subdivision that is within the extra-territorial planning jurisdiction,” Chandler said, adding he was attending the meeting to determine the paperwork and procedures required by the city.

Council member Mark Birdsall emphasized the council needed to review the latest draft of the agreement, then proposed the two parties meet again with the city’s Planning and Zoning Committee in a special session on July 20th.

Berry noted he had been discussing supply and delivery of water to the Phase I properties with Theresa Sundsbak of the North Prairie Rural Water District. Chandler said a temporary water system may be put in place, and the city will be coordinating efforts to expand the municipal lagoon system to serve Phase I of the development.

The property has not been annexed to the city yet, and Lee pointed out Berthold Township would issue the actual building permits.

Berry requested assistance in preparing a grant application for some of the development’s infrastructure needs. “We may have another round of grants available in August,” he said. “My recommendation would be a joint application from the city, the township and North Prairie [Rural Water].”

In Other Business:
 Mayor Lee appointed Nathan Fegley to the Street Committee, Steve Ibach to the Water Committee, Birdsall to the Sewer Committee and Jim Peterson to the Police Committee. Lee also appointed former council member Robert Inman to continue serving on the Planning & Zoning Committee.

• Council members approved minutes from the last meeting and the city’s bills for payment as presented.

• The council approved a motion to reserve a lot in the city’s trailer court for the Lewis & Clark School District. The selected lot currently has a FEMA trailer parked on it, but the council was informed the trailer would be removed before the start of the new school year. A new trailer purchased by the school district for use as staff housing will fit on the lot in question.

• Council members discussed complaints and concerns received about various properties in town. Auditor Penni Miller reported letters had been mailed in some cases regarding city ordinances about unsightly yards.

• The City of Berthold Planning and Zoning Committee will hold a special meeting on Friday, July 20, at 7:30 pm at Berthold City Hall. The agenda includes the Five Stone Development agreement and plats and a building permit request from Grayden Cooper.

• The city council will hold a special meeting on Monday, June 23rd, 7:30 pm at City Hall. The council will act on recommendations to be made by the Planning & Zoning Committee regarding the Five Stone Development matters and the Cooper building permit request.

• The next regular meeting of the Berthold City Council will be held Monday, August 6, 2012, at 7:30 pm at City Hall.