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Northeastern ND county elections: A look ahead to primary

When voters go to the polls in the June 8 primary election in northeastern North Dakota, they will cast ballots for special measures ranging from establishing ambulance districts to whether to continue electing certain county officeholders.

When voters go to the polls in the June 8 primary election in northeastern North Dakota, they will cast ballots for special measures ranging from establishing ambulance districts to whether to continue electing certain county officeholders.

The elected officeholder question will be on the ballot in Walsh County. If voters agree, the 2010 election would be the last for choosing the county auditor, county recorder and county treasurer.

Beginning in 2014, the County Commission would make appointments to those positions.

Voters in Walsh County, which has home rule, gave the County Commission permission in 2006 to begin appointing those positions. Because those officeholders serve 4-year terms, any such change can be made only after those terms are completed.

"They could go ahead without this ballot measure, but they wanted to get the public's input," Auditor Sharon Kinsala said.

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Last year, Walsh County conducted a series of public meetings to explain the proposal. However, the meetings drew few people. So, the commission decided to put the specific issue on the ballot in June.

All three officeholders are running for re-election this year.

Kinsala has served since 2002.

Treasurer Jill Trenda has served since 1998.

Recorder Diane Link, who worked in the recorder's office for several years, was appointed in 2004 and was elected in 2006.

The filing deadline is Friday. As of Tuesday afternoon, no one had filed petitions to challenge any of the incumbents.

Nelson County

Voters in Nelson County will be asked to establish a Lakota Area Ambulance District that would include the cities of Lakota, Brocket and Doyon, plus several area townships.

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If approved, the district could levy up to 5 mills of property taxes to support the service.

Levi Reese, a training officer with the Lakota Ambulance Service, said the new district likely would look at a 2-mill levy.

Local fire departments already are allowed to establish taxing districts.

He said establishment of a political subdivision for the ambulance service is necessary to compete for a variety of grants to help maintain ambulance services.

Ambulance services can apply indirectly through other political subdivisions, such as city councils or county commissions, for grants through the North Dakota Department of Emergency Services.

But that is not always possible, because of application deadlines that sometimes conflict with meeting schedules, according to Reese.

A taxing district also would help regional ambulance services raise funds for training and obtaining equipment.

Lakota Ambulance Service currently has 36 members, although the corps of the force is about 20. The 24-hour service operateswith three people per 12-hour shift.

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Reese said some volunteers are working 30 shifts per month.

About 10 people have registered for a new first-responder training course that begins Thursday in Lakota. The course requires 40 hours of training.

Ramsey County

Voters will decide two special measures:

- Increasing the mill levy from .25 mills to .75 mills to benefit the Lake Region Heritage Center, which operates the Old Post Office Museum and Sheriff's House Museum in Devils Lake. A 60-percent majority vote is required for passage.

- Increasing the Ramsey County Extension Service mill levy from 2.75 mills to 4 mills, the maximum allowed by law.

One mill in property taxes brings in about $30,526 in Ramsey County, according to Auditor Elizabeth Fisher.

Reach Bonham at (701) 780-1110; (800) 477-6572, ext. 110; or send e-mail to kbonham@gfherald.com .

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