Public Works to Offer Credit Card Option

The Valley City City Commission decided Monday to allow a credit card option for Public Works. The decision came after a request made by City Administrator David Schelkoph, who said many customers want the option and it would allow the city to accommodate those who might not be able to pay their bills right away.

After doing some research, Schelkoph and other city employees found that using a credit card reader might not be a huge saving financially, but it would save on time and provide a customer service that commissioners agree is beneficial to everyone.

The City of Valley City will allow customers to pay their Public Works bills via credit card in the future.

The commission also discussed the new non smoking law that went into effect Dec. 6 following the passage of a ballot measure during November’s election.

The new legislature prohibits smoking in all North Dakota indoor workplaces and 20 feet from any public entrance.

City officials wanted to let local business owners know the implications of the law.

Mayor Bob Werkhoven said the 20 foot part of the law is perhaps the most controversial and hardest to enforce, leaving the burden of enforcement on the business owner.

Valley City Police Chief Fred Thompson told the commission that his officers have been instructed to focus on education rather than enforcement at this point. He said the Valley City Police Department has pamphlets on the new law at the police department in the Law Enforcement Center.

Also, Schelkoph said Vicki Rosenau, tobacco coordinator for City-County Health District, has “no smoking” signs available to business owners.

The city also considered adopting an ordinance to accept the new century code law, allowing the city to issue city fines and collect the funds “to help the cost of enforcing the law and get local law enforcement involved in it,” Schelkoph said.

The commission will decide that later.

In other city business, the city commission unanimously voted to postpone action on signing a 9-1-1 contract indefinitely or until the contract expires in July.

City commissioner Mary Lee Nielson told the commission that she believes the equipment should not be moved because of the risk of breaking it in the process.

Moreover, the city will, at some point in the future, need to purchase new equipment due to a proposal set by Gov. Jack Dalrymple that calls for all North Dakota counties to update existing 9-1-1 systems to digital, “next generation” 9-1-1.

“Until we know what the new equipment is, we don’t know the space requirements for the new equipment,” Nielson said. “We know what we had there, and we talked about moving that, so we were basing the remodel on the old equipment.”

Thompson said, “There is so much material that we don’t know about, and to try and move this stuff that if we do it wrong, we’re only going to get one chance at this, and if something breaks in the meantime, we’re really going to be behind the eight ball.”

The Barnes County Commission voted in October to regain control of 9-1-1 operations, which requires moving the 9-1-1 equipment and employees to a spare room in the Law Enforcement Center. Nielson said they do not know when they’ll get the new equipment.