Update on Vision West ND committee work
Jun 20, 2016
Vision West ND consortium members reviewed their committee
work at their meeting June 12, 2016 in Minot, N.D.
The committee working on the centrally assessed industrial
tax discrepancies reported their findings.
The overall percent increase in pipeline tax valuation has
changed by 413.6%. The tax revenues have
increased by 30% each year from 2009 to 2015.
County officials are curious that the state doesn’t have a
commercial, industrial assessor available as some counties have hired out of
state assessors at their own cost.
They’ve found that the state board of equalization may need more
expertise on valuations. According to
the committee members, the state accepts the industrial value as delivered by
Pipeline assessments account for 20% or more of the tax base
for seven of the 19 counties. 11 of the
19 counties have a tax base of 10% or more attributed to pipelines.
NDAOGPC and Vision West ND Chairman Daryl Dukart said this
taxing method impacts all counties statewide, not just in the west. He will be working the ND Association of
Counties to see if there is an issue that the legislature should address for
It’s not only pipelines but centrally assessed property
consists of railroads, electric and gas utilities. Pipelines assessments accounted for three
times the total of railroads and utility companies combined in 2015.
Current total pipeline valuation in the state is $307, 110,
The Vision West ND transportation committee continues to
pursue the Elbowoods Ferry. This ferry
could run 6 months connecting northern Dunn county to Mountrail county. Prior to the Garrison Dam of 1956 and the
flooding of the Missouri River, there had been a bridge, Elbowoods bridge, that connected the tribal segments. Twin Buttes residents must drive to New Town
for many services, including health needs.
The Three Affiliated Tribe is also looking at water taxis and possibly
connecting additional river bank locations.
A study is underway. This ferry
would likely haul passenger cars only, not industrial traffic.
Several federal partners, who supported the $1.5 million
Vision West ND grant in 2011, shared information on other grants available.
Cindy Cody, EPA region 8 sustainability coordinator from
Denver, works to make communities more livable and resilient. She said EPA had supported much planning in
the past but they are interested in seeing plans move forward. She said federal partners are willing to work
together to put several grants together to make projects viable. Often times, one grant doesn’t make a project
Four areas that received federal attention are: 1) Disaster
recovery- Minot, ND received over $100 million dollars for flood relief 2) Rural and tribal communities 3) Economic development 4)
Health and Wellbeing
Cody said their office had some concern on the North Dakota
Industrial Commission pending regulations that defined “interested party”. EPA prefers a more” inclusive” comment
language so more of the public can weigh in on hearings.
USDA state director, Ryan Taylor, listed several western
N.D. projects that USDA has been involved with in the past. Taylor said over 100 projects, including
Bowman hospital, Watford city, Richardton, Hazen, 700 home loans and 1500
rental units since 2009. At the Watford
city Wolf pup daycare, there are 160 children under care. They are currently working on a $1 million
facility in Casselton, “Sunshine Day Care”. .
“So, we do this around the state,” Taylor said. There’s also a West River Vet Clinic in
Hettinger, N.D. with 6 vets. The Bank of
North Dakota has often been a partner on these projects., Taylor added. The federal interest rate is 2.87% on 30 year
loans for qualifying projects.
Kirk Keysor, U.S. Dept. of Commerce economic development
representative said his program does a 50/50 share on grants. The winning projects are tied to jobs
creation. They also look at per capita
income, unemployment rates, special needs, disasters and coal impacted
areas. He has $20 million available for
10 states, including North Dakota.
Aaron Gagne, Director of Region 8 HUD, said, “At the end of
the day, you are our customers.”
Joel Manske, HUD N.D. field director, said because housing
vouchers are “portable”, they’ve seen people moving to Williston to secure a
voucher, then moving back to their original home such as Minneapolis, MN to use
the housing voucher. He said it’s
happening in Wyoming as well as western N.D.
The housing vouchers are serving fewer families in North Dakota. He also said it’s important for the federal
partners to meet the members of the Vison West ND consortium to see if further
grant partnerships are possible in the future.
Other federal partners discussed their grant and loan
programs. They also recommended that the
state encourage local communities to have comprehensive plans. The next Vision West ND face to face meeting
will be in September.