Williston Economic Impact Report - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Williston Economic Impact Report

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Williston is growing by one person every four hours.

That was among the findings in the Williston Economic Impact Statement released this spring.

The report shows a current population of over 29,500 people.

Williston gained nearly 3,000 people from July 2012 to July 2013 --- about a 10 percent increase.

Jennifer Kleen takes us through the pages of the Impact Statement and what it means for the years to come.

(Ward Koeser, City of Williston Former Mayor) "You aren't going to be the fastest growing micropolitan city for three years in a row and not have impacts."

That's what former mayor Ward Koeser says of Williston - a city he led for 20 years.

The impacts are clear on the streets and in the schools --- and now those numbers are in black white -and red- in the Impact Statement from Williston Economic Development.

(Tom Rolfstad, Williston Economic Development Director) "More garbage men, more police men, on the city side, more teachers on the school side, it continues to grow with the population."

That population is getting younger, a statistic Koeser calls a sign of health.

The Impact Statement sites that 750 babies were born in Williston last year, and Rolfstad says prenatal counseling the first quarter of 2014 is double that of last year.

(Ward Koeser, City of Williston Former Mayor) "The biggest thing we deal with is the high price of housing."

Williston building permits exceeded every other city in the state in 2013 with a total of $353 million worth of building permits.

Sales tax in Williston has also brought in the most revenue in the state at nearly $875 million.

(Tom Rolfstad, Williston Economic Development Director) "One of the trends we're seeing that we're excited about is that we're transitioning from temporary workers to permanent workers."

The population growth is not only oil related.

Williston added 13 restaurants in 2013.

Job Service assisted 28,000 people, placing 10,000.

The Impact Statement sites that civilian labor force in Williston is nearly 50,000 people, exceeding every city in the state except Fargo.

(Tom Rolfstad, Williston Economic Development Director) "The one statistic that people get a little confused with is the crime rate. What's happened is that our population has increased almost in sync with the crimes."

Rolfstad says the same is true for traffic accidents, per capita, he says Williston is still similar to statistics throughout North Dakota.

(Ward Koeser, City of Williston Former Mayor) "I think everyone recognizes that Williston is poised. We're either going to become that great city, the best little city in America that I've always wanted to be. Or we're going to drop back and just be the old Williston."

Koeser says he's sticking around the city he loves, allowing the next leader, now mayor Howard Klug, to shape the numbers of the fastest growing micropolitan city in America.

In Williston, Jennifer Kleen, KX News.

Tomorrow on KX News we'll hear about how the city leaders will use the Impact Statement to build a case for the state legislature.

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