Multi purpose center hopes Killdeer residents vote for sales tax increase

The High Plains Cultural Center was hoping Killdeer residents would approve a .5 percent sales tax increase in the 2017 special election – but they didn’t.

This year the Dunn County Fair Association is hoping for a different outcome.

Killdeer is a small town in Dunn County, but the High Plains Cultural Center has big time value.

“Weddings and funerals. We do a lot of anniversaries, ” said Ken Roshau, Executive  Director for the  High Plains Cultural Center.

Killdeer Public Schools Superintendent, Gary Wilz said the facility also has much needed value for his school’s athletic teams who hold practices at the facility and without out, scheduling practices would be tough.

” Alternative. . . I would see us like a small town that only has one gymnasium, and we would be practicing with some teams until 9 o’clock at night”.

Roshau said the center is in need of almost $1 million.

“We have a construction debt that we need to pay off”.

He also said fundraising isn’t the answer.

“Fundraising has dried up a lot. We use to get a little, but not like we use to”.

The Dunn County Fair Association recently passed a petition to put a .5 percent sales tax increase on the June ballot, so a new stream of revenue can come into the High Plains Cultural Center.

 “254(residents) that signed it. 200 signed it last year too. We have picked up a lot of signatures in the last two years,” said Roshau

The measure failed by only ten votes last year (77- to 87), but Wilz said he thinks a lot of it was due to voter confusion.

“We had a number of them show up at school( Killdeer High School), and when it wasn’t there(voting station) I think they were confused, and they didn’t know where to go”.

Dunn County has moved to vote by mail recently but will have two locations open for in-person voting at the courthouse in Manning and Twin Buttes.

The Dunn County Fair Association is also mailing information to voters this time around about how and where to vote, what the measure is, and what items are exempt from sales tax.

The facility also offers memberships for people who want to use the workout room or just play some basketball with their friends.

If the measure fails this time around, those people might be locked out.

“We will probably do what most counties do. They close the building except for events,” said Roshau.

Killdeer currently has a 7-percent sales tax which generates funds for the city’s golf course, pool, and parks.

Killdeer City Auditor, Matt Oase said the .5 increase could generate about $200,000 annually for the the center.

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