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Commissioners Approve Floodplain Regulations

Despite hearing concerns from the public, the Roosevelt County Commissioners approved revising floodplain regulations during its meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 22.

During a special public comment meeting regarding the matter, resident Bill Juve noted that if commissioners didn’t pass the new regulations, that the current regulations would still be in effect. Juve also didn’t feel that commissioners informed the public well enough regarding the changes. “I repeatedly asked where this imaginary flood would come from and never got an answer,” Juve said.

He suggested the DNRC holds an informative meeting in Roosevelt County before commissioners make a decision regarding the resolution.

Commissioners agreed the information is confusing, but the goal is to make the procedure easier when landowners face problems.

Commissioner Gordon Oelkers said it’s not possible to notify everyone that might be impacted with floodplain regulations. He said the public elects commissioners to take care of such issues.

Juve argued that commissioners are elected to act in the best interest of their constituents and the commissioners don’t have enough information.

While Oelkers said the rules and regulations will assist residents going through related procedures, Juve asked for more clarity of the regulations before they are adopted.

Commissioners noted that FEMA’s deadline for the regulation was already past due.

During the regular meeting, Oelkers made the motion to pass the regulations. The motion was seconded by commissioner Duane Nygaard.

Nygaard explained that when the county updates something that is already in place, the updated form makes it easier in cases of emergency.

Commissioner Gary Macdonald said he is kind of against the resolution, but he supports it because the county needs the backing of FEMA.

The motion passed by a 3-0 margin.

Commissioners suggested that a public meeting be held sometime in 2023 by DNRC to explain the new regulations.

A public meeting is scheduled for Dec. 12, at 6:30 p.m. at the Bainville Fire Hall regarding the acceptance of 18 roads to be public roads.

Commissioners agreed to write a letter of support for the corridor operational enhancement project near Malta. The proposal aims to create double railroad tracks for a 15-mile span to improve service for Amtrak.

The project will construct a new center crossover between the main track and siding immediately east of the Amtrak station in Malta, allowing for more efficient meets to occur between passenger trains and eliminates time-consuming passenger train movements.

The project will also extend an existing siding in nearby Bowdoin to improve meet-pass events between trains, improving the reliability of the Amtrak Empire Builder and provides a location free of highway-rail grad crossings. The project is estimated to cost $15 million to complete.

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