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NDLNG told to cease and desist


Posted 8/18/15 (Tue)

By Nicky Ouellet
Timing was the issue of the night at Monday’s city commission meeting: 
One company will be penalized for failing to pay a permit fee before beginning construction; construction of the dog pound ground to a halt after unexpected weaknesses in the city shop’s structural integrity; and on a happier note, the city welcomed Ronica Pederson to her new role as Deputy City Auditor.
Cease and desist
North Dakota LNG will be issued a cease and desist order after failing to pay for a building permit issued last January for $39,000.
The company began construction of a plant that converts natural gas feedstock into motor fuel by supercooling methane into a liquid state. The plant uses methane from the nearby Hess facility.
Commissioners were alerted to the unpaid fee by City Auditor Abby Salinas at the last city commission meeting. At that time, the board was unsure whether LNG had paid the permit fee to the county instead of the city. 
Salinas received word last week that neither the Williams County Building Department nor the county’s planning and zoning department had received payment.
Commissioners moved to issue a cease and desist order until the fee is paid.
Dog pound blues
Police Administrator Jeff Spivey informed commissioners that construction of the new city pound ground to a halt after a building inspector deemed the structure unsafe due to damage from a previous fire.
Phase one of the pound project, which included installing new plumbing, has already been completed. Spivey suggested purchasing a new steel structure that would cover the building’s existing footprint so as not to lose the plumbing.
“Once we buy this building I can continue with the approved plan,” he said, likening his suggestion to a change order.
Commissioners voted to close the old city shop, which houses the recycling center, and moved to have the building demolished, which Spivey estimated could cost between $15,000 and $20,000. 
That would leave roughly $200,000 of the project’s initial budget remaining. With the steel structure clocking in around $99,000, additional funds will likely be needed. With the commission’s blessing, Spivey will seek a grant from the Tioga Fund, and other outside funding, like EPA brownfield grants, may be available.
The new structure may also need additional Federal Emergency Management Agency approval because it is located in a floodplain. 
In other business:

  • Ronica Pederson will join city staff as the new Deputy Auditor. She begins this week, just in time to assist with creating next year’s budget.
  • Barry Ramberg was approved as a new Planning and Zoning Member. Ramberg is also a Williams County Commissioner.
  • The Fire Department’s application for a grant for $128,400 for a new foam trailer, generator and other supplies was approved. The new equipment will be used to fight oil and fuel fires.
  • Graham Construction’s contract and building permit for the city hall remodel project was also approved.
  • A maximum price of $6 million was set for new wastewater treatment plant, but unexpected fees for items such as the operator’s manual caught commissioners and other city officials off guard.
    The manual, which is custom-made for Tioga’s facility, will cost an added $28,000. Commissioners were unclear why AE2S, the engineering firm, had not addressed the added cost sooner.
    “This should have been brought up,” said Mayor Drake McClelland, before commissioners ultimately approved the added expense.
  • Construction of the new water main by JR Civil should begin next week, and the contractor for the city’s new water tower said the facility will be complete and usable by July 1, 2016, almost two months ahead of the schedule initially outlined.
  • Due to the Labor Day weekend holiday on Sept. 7, the next city commission meeting will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 8, at 7 p.m.


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