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Commissioners Explain CARES Funding

After Wolf Point resident Bill Juve expressed his disagreement about the county stipends again during the public comment portion of the commissioners’ meeting on Tuesday, June 1, Commissioner Gordon Oelkers explained some of the reasoning for spending CARES funds in that fashion.

Juve asked if giving the stipends to only county employees was discrimination against other county taxpayers.

“I still say it’s a difference in philosophies,” Oelkers said of the commissioners’ disagreement with Juve.

Oelkers said federal funds have taken care of many residents. The county used the funds it received to help county employees.

“I’ve talked to so many people about this, and they don’t share your philosophy,” Oelkers said to Juve.

The commissioner noted that the county still has $1.7 million in CARES funding in the bank. They hope to spend those funds to benefit all county employees.

Oelkers said commissioners are open to suggestions from the public of how to use the funds.

Commissioner Duane Nygaard added, “We approved this as a commission for the employees of Roosevelt County. We justified it that we give it to the employees of Roosevelt County.” Ken Norgaard, head of the road department, said that road department employees appreciated the stipends. He said it’s a challenge to keep quality employees.

“They’re trying to take care of their employees,” Norgaard said of commissioners.

Commissioner Gary Macdonald added, “We’re still looking how to spend the other 95 percent to help the people of Roosevelt County. I think it’s time to let this damn thing die.”

In other business, commissioners approved building improvements for the library basement.

Commissioners also approved the 2021 growth policy and bids for congregate meals.

A decision regarding the county property casualty insurance plan was tabled until the next meeting.

Hired were Summer Lyons for the fairgrounds and Emma Torgerson as an Extension office intern.

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