City, county may join forces against weeds

File Photo Weeds grow last July on property abandoned by developers in northwest Minot.

A closer working relationship with Ward County’s weed control office could be part of the solution to Minot’s growing weed problems, a city committee indicated Tuesday.

An ad hoc committee tasked with finding solutions to nuisance weeds wants to hear more from the county’s weed control officer next week. But in the meantime, members are leaning toward cooperation with the county weed board rather than starting a separate city weed board.

“We don’t need to re-invent the wheel when it comes to services already provided,” council member Shaun Sipma said. He noted the county already has the assets and expertise.

Minot property owners also already contribute to the cost of those assets and expertise. As do other county landowners, they pay the county’s assessment of a half mill for weed control. The half mill brings in $176,359.

“It would be very cost-prohibitive for us to start our own board,” council member Miranda Schuler said. “I am not sure that we are in a place to start doing that right now.”

Other reasons cited for working with the county were the county’s ability to deal with weeds just outside city limits and its access to biological weed control, such as the use of certain insects. The county weed officer previously has done minor work in the city, particularly along the river, Sipma said.

The committee also discussed potentially pursuing additional penalties for owners of large properties that are not maintained. A major source of weeds has been large properties purchased by developers but never fully developed.

The city will step in and mow or control weeds if property owners do not respond to orders to do so. The cost is then assessed to the properties. Although not often exercised, the city has the ability to impose other penalties, including seeking criminal charges. Failure to take care of a nuisance is a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to 30 days and/or a $1,500 fine.