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Stark County considers crew camp fees to help with safety, fire protection

The Stark County Commission will consider a change to the crew camp ordinance to get more in-line with other area camp fees.

"I'm not looking on a decision now, but we just need to get the process rolling in terms of getting a fee in place," Stark County Planner Steve Josephson said at a December meeting.

If the Stark County Commission approves a fee, it will have to decide what it will go toward, but Josephson has said the intent is to use the money to "take care of safety and fire protection."

"It's a matter then of how the board wants to distribute that," he said. "It could go directly to those districts or whether it goes directly into the general fund and the board distributes it, but that's another board decision."

The Zoning Board recommends the county adopt a fee, which Josephson and the state's attorney will put into an ordinance for the commissioners to consider adopting, along with an amount and what the fee will go toward early next year.

Josephson provided a list of fees charged by other oil-producing cities and counties in North Dakota:

- Dickinson charges $400 per person per year.

- For one to five beds, Dunn County charges $1,000 per person per year and for six or more beds, the county charges an annual base fee of $1,000, plus $1,000 per bed per year.

- Slope County charges $400 per bed per year and McKenzie County charges $100 a unit per year.

- Mountrail County assesses a fee of $1,000 per bed per year for crew camps with 10 or less beds.

For 11 or more beds in a crew camp, Mountrail County charges an annual base fee of $1,000, plus $1,000 per bed per year.

- Williams County charges $1.50 per square foot for the crew camps in the county.

Stark County Commissioner Ken Zander suggested the county amend the ordinance to read the fee would be charged per bed, instead of per unit.

That way the county won't "have to have an auditor out there counting heads every month," he said.

Commissioners recently approved a crew camp, Josephson said. "It's a small one, but still he's trying to get his permits and we need to tell him what the county is going to charge."

Commissioner Jay Elkin said at a December meeting that Zoning Board members felt it would be best if any county crew camp fees were in line with the city of Dickinson's.

"I think that makes good sense," he said.