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County gets update on city’s ’14 building plans: 'It is not gonna be easy to get around’

Stark County commissioners heard a rundown of 2014 building projects the City of Dickinson is taking on, and one message was clear: it’s going to be a busy year.

City Administrator Shawn Kessel said he wanted to debrief commissioners on the projects because of their magnitude.

“It’s not gonna be easy to get around town in the next year,” he said.

He listed the top 20 projects the city is planning — some of which bleed into Stark County — of a total of 39 infrastructure projects for 2014, which total to a $390 million price tag.

Between $100 million and $130 million of that will come from the city, with other aid coming from the state and project developers.

The top priority is the new water reclamation facility, which Kessel predicted would have a “soft opening” this summer and a firm opening in the fall.

Other projects Kessel mentioned were lift stations, the public works building just east of town, the public safety facility and the West River Community Center expansion.

Kessel said the city’s goal is to start construction on the top 20 projects in 2014 — most are in the design stage. He said he expects them to be finished in 2014 and 2015.

Besides remarking at the incredible costs — Commission Chair Russ Hoff deemed them “humongous” — commissioners mostly reacted with appreciation for an update.

After the meeting, Commissioner Ken Zander said in an interview that the commission’s biggest concern is staying informed on these projects. Visits like Kessel’s on Tuesday work, as well as informal updates when city and county officials run into each other at other meetings, he said.

Zander said he’s also paying attention to land the city is increasingly annexing because it could affect the county’s tax base.

-- Commissioners went with the county zoning board’s recommendation to approve the rezoning for “Bakken Oil Express West,” an industrial rail park proposed for west of town by the pipeline company.

The facility would bring frac sand and ready-mix concrete to the area, as well as providing railcar repairs.

-- Director of Emergency Services Bill Fahlsing bought up a proposal to include employee cellphones in the county’s emergency notification system, which commissioners approved.

“If we were to decide to close government offices, we could send out a mass notification instead of employees making calls down the food chain,” Fahlsing said.

-- Southwest Narcotics Task Force representative Todd Ehresmann asked for Stark County to be the fiscal agency — basically a pass-through for monies from the Bureau of Criminal Investigation — for the task force, after Slope County decided it didn’t want to serve that role anymore.

Commissioners approved the request.