The Beacon News
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A water and wastewater ordinance is moving forward after Beulah City councilors held the first reading Monday night. Multiple revisions were brought up during the meeting, which will be applied to the ordinance for the second reading. In its draft form, the 13-page ordinance seeks to provide an overall update to the city water/wastewater ordinance, including water works systems, applications, rates and how and when water could be disconnected or discontinued to a location. After formally opening up the reading for discussion, the council dived into the topic. Councilors Roger Gazur and Clyde Schulz offered the most questions for the ordinance, highlighting old language they felt needed updating. Gazur focused first on installation and access, noting that there should be some rules that should govern each topic, before applying similar argument to further language. “What is a claim for defective service?” Gazur asked. “Insufficient water flow, insufficient water pressure, no water at all, all of the above?” He then moved on to ask about clarifying the language in sections regarding when water meters would be checked and how often, water/wastewater funding and fines. City Attorney Scott Solem stated that some of the fines that were listed dated back four decades. “There was a $5 fine for someone who breaks a seal in a water meter,” Solem said. “Five dollars isn’t going to discourage anybody. There’s a $1.50 fine in here for something. We should take a look at the application fees, the deposits and the various fines. Brant (Keller) updated the rates, but other than that the most recent language is from the mid-1970s.”
Cold weather is creeping back into the state, and a recent presidential emergency declaration for southwest North Dakota is a stark reminder that winter is coming. Mercer County Emergency Manager Carmen Reed is aiming to remind residents of the importance of being prepared for severe winter weather, and just how to go about it. According to Reed, now was the time to get those winter safety kits checked and placed into vehicles.
Healthcare marketplaces have been open since the beginning of October and although applicants faced early challenges enrolling, the process is moving ahead. As one of 32 states that opted to default to the federally-run exchange, uninsured and eligible North Dakotans go directly to the healthcare.gov website to find a policy that best fits them. Darrold Bertsch, CEO of Sakakawea Medical Center and Coal Country Community Health Center, said it could be prudent for those without insurance to wait a brief period. “It’s still our mindset to encourage people to ‘hurry up and wait’ until the bugs get worked out,” Bertsch said. “You’ve got until Dec. 15 to enroll in a plan and be eligible Jan. 1.” Although Dec. 15 is the deadline to enroll to receive coverage starting with the new year, open enrollment will continue until March 31. After that those not enrolled who remain uninsured will receive a penalty of $95 per adult, $47.50 per child, or one percent of their income. Megan Dierks, the Outreach/Enrollment Specialist at CCCHC, went through specific training to walk people through the application process.
The Mercer County Courthouse and Jail expansion could cost upwards of $10 million. County commissioners reviewed designed plans with Scott Fettig of Klein McCarthy Architects October 16 during a regular meeting in Stanton. The Bismarck company president said the project could be completed as early as November 2015. “We have to remember why we are doing this,” Commissioner Bill Tveit said, referencing security and safety for the jail and courthouse. The additions would connect the Law Enforcement Center to the courthouse, making it easier to transfer prisoners from the jail to the courtroom.