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Concern over lack of Ward County Social Services presence aired at city council

Melissa Burud met with the Kenmare City Council Monday night to voice a concern regarding the lack of Ward County Social Services support in Kenmare.

5/13/14 (Tue)

By Marvin Baker

Melissa Burud met with the Kenmare City Council Monday night to voice a concern regarding the lack of Ward County Social Services support in Kenmare.

Burud, a First District Health nurse, was representing the Kenmare Safe Community Coalition at the meeting.

“The issue is there’s a lack of presence with Ward County Social Services and I’m not just talking about child protection services,” Burud said. “People come to my office to ask about food stamps or Medicaid. They have to go into Minot and that can be a hardship.”

Mayor Roger Ness told Burud that the city was in contact with Social Services about two years ago when a transient came through town and nobody seemed willing to take care of that individual so Social Services was contacted.

He said unfortunately, nothing was ever done nor did Social Services follow up.

Burud asked Ness if the city council has talked about it since and was gauging council members on opening a line of communication with the Minot office.

“Has there been any talk about getting them out here once or twice a week,” Burud asked? “Maybe we need to move forward together and start dialog.”

Burud said the coalition is willing to work with the city to convince Social Services that Kenmare is a principal community in Ward County and there are people in need here.

“Since we are part of the county and our tax dollars go to the county board, it would be good to have some representation,” she said. “We’ve had issues before (Jan. 12) and it seems like we’re forgotten.”

Council member Troy Hedberg told Burud that the coalition has full support of the city, however, it might be in the best interest of the coalition to contact Social Services first and break the ice.

He also said he has talked with Ward County Commissioner John Fjeldahl who is very open to advocate for someone from Social Services to come to Kenmare.

Fjeldahl was recently appointed to the Social Services board.

Burud agreed that she will initiate contact with Fjeldahl and voice her concern and hopefully get something rolling for the good of the Kenmare community.

Engineers report on downtown project and lift station

Aaron Fornshell and Ryan Ackerman of Ackerman-Estvold Engineering in Minot met with the council to discuss the upcoming construction season.

Fornshell told the council a meeting with the downtown square contractor was set to be held Tuesday, then business owners can be notified about when their sidewalks are going to be torn apart.

Fornshell said either Capriati Construction or an Ackerman-Estvold field crew will initiate the work in the coming months.

Fornshell requested the city set up a public meeting prior to the June regular meeting to let the public know that work will be done on the city’s sewage lift station.

He said the timeline on funding has been pushed back a bit and construction can’t legally begin until Community Development Block Grant funds in the sum of $100,000 are released.

Ness fired back at Fornshell and asked why work hasn’t already started.

Ackerman stepped in and explained the situation.

“Here’s the down and dirty about this. You guys didn’t want to spend local money. I heard that loud and clear,” Ackerman said. “The lift station is going to cost $350,000, so $250,000 has to come from other sources. The delay is so that we don’t jeopardize other funding sources.”

Ness suggested the engineering firm knows best with public monies, but Kenmare is getting impatient.

“You know best but I’d like to get something moving on this,” he said.

In other business:

• The council approved Ness’ appointment of Jacob Swanson to the planning and zoning committee replacing Ronald Wirtz who is resigning. Lance Kalmbach was appointed to the Kenmare Housing Authority board and The Kenmare News was designated as the official city newspaper.

• The council approved results of the April 17 city tax equalization meeting. Commercial property will see a 20 percent tax increase and residential will see an 8 percent increase.

• City building inspector Don Siebert discussed four requests for building permits including a 65’ x 85’ steel shop building for Nore’s Auto and Trailer Sales.

The council voted to allow the construction but Siebert told the council Nore hadn’t yet paid the permit fee, thus the permit will be contingent upon the permit fee being paid.

Sandra Nelson, Shane Heidel and Merle Wallstrum also requested and were granted building permits for a wood storage building, a 40’ x 40’ wood frame garage and 300-foot fence and 50-foot fence, respectively.

• In his committee report on streets, council member Chuck Leet said there’s been a lot of unnecessary semi-truck traffic in Kenmare.

“We need more and bigger signs and we need the police department to enforce it,” Leet said.

Police Chief Gary Kraft told Leet he has been issuing citations since an ordinance prohibits semi-trucks from being in town unless they are local deliveries.

“I wrote three, $300 citations and all of them complained they didn’t see the signage,” Kraft said. “If we had bigger signs out there, there would be no excuse.”

• Council member Terese Skjordal said she wants to see more community involvement in the city-wide clean up set for today.

“I would like to see more people in the community involved in this,” she said. “We need more pickups. This starts at 1:30 and there will be kids all over town and so far we have three drivers and that’s a problem. I’d like to see more involvement, I really would.”

• Hedberg said he’s been getting phone calls regarding construction on Sixth Street, which is also Ward County Highway 2.

He said he is referring calls to Ward County engineer Dana Larson since a major construction project this summer is being spearheaded by the county.

• The council voted to allow $10,000 from the recreation fund to go toward the community swimming pool to make it handicap accessible... Read EVERY WORD on EVERY PAGE of The Kenmare News by subscribing--online or in print!