House Votes No on Funding Bill for Oil Boom Cities

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A bill that was going to provide funding for oil boom cities out west was shot down in the state house on Tuesday.

House Bill 1366 focuses on how much oil tax revenue will be dished out to cities, counties and schools, mostly affected by the oil boom.

Cities like Dickinson, Minot, and Williston experienced unprecedented growth during the time, building a number of hotel and apartment complexes, along with other infrastructure needs.

Originally, the bill was going to give the same amount of money the cities received last biennium, which was 33.5 million.

It later got amended and that number fell to a little under 8 million

Dickinson city commissioner Jason Fridrich says he thought the money from the last biennium was pretty high, but adds the amended amount was too low. Nonetheless, he thinks, without any money, a city like Dickinson could suffer.

“It helps to balance our budget with that money it’s going to make it tough for us to find that money to keep our debt payments up on the infrastructure we put in the past.,” Fridrich said.

He adds: “It’s going to make it very difficult and it could be some you know some cuts that we’ll have to make that will be hard cuts that we don’t want to look at if we don’t have to.”

Fridrich says if the city doesn’t get the money, it will have to make hard cuts.

“It’s hard for them to say well Dickinson doesn’t need the money anymore or Watford City or Williston because, they still need it because of that infrastructure that got put in place,” Fridrich said. “It didn’t get all paid for in those two or three years of the boom here so we need to continue to pay that going forward.”

State Representative Al Carlson says it would be better to address funding when an updated revenue forecast is released.

The legislature intends on revisiting funding for boom cities in the second half of the session. 

The bill failed by a vote 37-54.

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