‘Surge Funds’ are on their way, if they haven’t yet already arrived

The Office of the North Dakota State Treasurer announced last week that it distributed the $298 million in “surge” funding for cities and townships in oil and non-oil producing counties.

 

ND Flag

 

By Cole Benz | For The Record | cbenz@countrymedia.net

The Office of the North Dakota State Treasurer announced last week that it distributed the $298 million in “surge” funding for cities and townships in oil and non-oil producing counties.

Those funds are a result of Senate Bill 2103, known as the $1.1 billion “surge bill,” which was signed into law on Feb. 24. The money allocated by the bill was divided and distributed based on an area’s population and impact by the rampant oil production in western North Dakota.

Adams County and the cities of Hettinger and Reeder were allocated a total of $903,568 in funds under the surge bill. The county will receive $280,000, the city of Hettinger will receive $550,788.45 and the city of Reeder will receive $72,779.55.

At this point there has not been much discussion on what the funds would be used for by the county and city, according to Adams County and Hettinger City Auditor Pat Carroll.

Carroll said there was little discussion before the funds were received because “we didn’t know much prior to the most recent update that we received.”

A few ideas were discussed for ways in which to spend the funds at the most recent Adams County Board of Commissioners regular meeting, but nothing was decided.

Carroll said it is early in the process and since they didn’t know the amount of funding, they didn’t spend much time on the subject — Carroll said she was only recently notified via email of the surge funding.

A meeting at the end of the month with the North Dakota Department of Transportation should shed some more light on what is needed around the cities and around the county, according to Carroll.

While Hettinger and Reeder each received their cut of the surge fund, the stipulations surrounding oil-impacted counties made their allocations different.

The county’s surge funds will be allocated through the NDDOT and the projects they use the funds for need to first be approved by the NDDOT.

During the 2013 legislative session, a bill was passed that allocated funds for Adams County. The councils didn’t form a special committee during that time to decide the fate of the money; it was just discussed among the councils themselves.

Projects planned using the 2013 funds included road grading at the northwest part of the county, the Reeder Project that repaired the road through the city of Reeder and a road project that was a partnership with the city of Lemmon, S.D., which repaired a section of road that stretches from Adams County across the border into Lemmon.

After lengthy planning phases, those projects are only now beginning.

Of the $298 million distributed to the state’s cities and townships under SB 2103, $100 million was allocated to cities in oil-producing counties based on population, $16 million was allocated to non-oil producing counties for the benefit of townships, and $10 million for Bakken boundary cities. A total of $172 million was reserved for hub cities — $64 million for Williston, $44 million for Dickinson, and $32 million for Minot and Watford City.