- Written by Tyler Manning
At their regular public meeting, Feb. 7, the Roose-velt County Commissioners approved a motion to claim right-of-way on a parcel of land near Legion Park in Culbertson.
The commissioners also approved the Task Order 8 with Interstate Engineering which allows Interstate to pursue funding opportunities on behalf of the county.
The land that the commissioners voted to claim was deeded to the county in 1911. Commissioner Gary Macdonald had a copy of the deed on his computer and said, “We have the deed that shows we own that land, so I don’t see why we wouldn’t claim it.”
The call for the commissioners to claim this land came from Clint Jacobs and Pete Olson of the American Legion in Culbertson.
The American Legion has been denied access to Legion Park in Culbertson in recent months by Knudsen Family Limited Partnership which purchased the surrounding land from the Swindle family in 1991.
The land known as Legion Park was gifted to the American Legion in 1944 by the Swindle family.
The 60-foot strip of land that the county owns cuts right through the Knudsen Family Limited Partnership’s field toward Legion Park. If the county decided to develop this land into a road for park access, then it would cut the Knudsen’s field in half.
The commissioners have said that they will write a letter claiming the land and will defend their land, if necessary. However, a motion by commissioner Gordon Oelkers to join the legion in the fight for access to the park did not pass as the other commissioners are steadfast in their lack of desire to join the lawsuit between the two parties.
Olson and Jacobs compelled the commissioners to claim and defend their own property if necessary and the county commissioners agreed to do so.
The commissioners also stated that they may support building a new road through Knudsen’s field, if necessary.
Macdonald said that, hopefully, the county asserting its claim to this land will encourage the Knudsen family to simply allow residents to use the current road across their property, rather than having the field cut in half if the county decides to develop their strip of land.
The Roosevelt County Commissioners will visit with the county attorney and come back with a letter stating claim to this land in the near future.
Another major motion approved at this meeting was a $12,000 task order with Interstate Engineering to allow Interstate Engineering to pursue funding opportunities on behalf of Roosevelt County for their Capitol Improvements Plan and Growth Policy Plan. Interstate Engineering has been contracted to obtain this funding in prior years.
Oelkers expressed concern that if this task order was approved then developing their CIP and GP plans would be tied to Interstate Engineering. The reason he expressed this concern is that Interstate Engineering gave an estimate of $180,000 for the CIP and GPP plans which Oelkers said seemed way too high for just those two plans.
The plan estimates have been less in the past and Interstate Engineering said that the $180,000 is a high estimate. It was also noted that because the CIP and GPP will be in that general spending range that they would have to go out for bid. It was noted that just because the county contracts Interstate Engineering to obtain funding doesn’t mean they have to be used for the actual plans. Interstate Engineering will start applying for grants and other funding sources immediately.
Several other small items approved at this meeting are as follows:
•Macdonald and Duane Nygaard voted to approve Oelkers as representative on the mental health and aging boards.
•The commissioners approved of a small single-lot subdivision east of Bainville.
•Purchase of a cooling fan for the dispatch center.
•Reluctant approval of the resignation of Kristine Mahlen from the fair board. Macdonald noted that she was the true work horse of the fair board and the commissioners thanked her for her service.
•Pay raise for Christa Wagner at the county attorney’s office.
•A memorandum of understanding with the Poplar School District for Roosevelt County Sheriff’’s Office to provide a truancy officer. Everything for the officer will be paid for out of the Poplar School District’s funds with the exception of the officer’s car. The sheriff’s office noted that they have an old car for the officer to use as well as the equipment needed to outfit the officer. The officer’s salary will be paid by Poplar Schools and, during the summertime, while school is out, the sheriff’s office will have an extra officer on duty.
•Claims for Jan. 26 in the amount of $115,212.91.
•Claims for Feb. 1 in the amount of $62,118.97.
•Approval of minutes for the regular public meeting Jan. 24, two special administrative sessions Jan. 30 and a special administrative session Jan. 31. The minutes for the month of January were also approved.