Time change could be put to voteStark County Commission members want residents to decide on a possible time zone change.
By: Ashley Martin, The Dickinson Press
Stark County Commission members want residents to decide on a possible time zone change.
Dickinson City Commissioner Shirley Dukart spoke with county commissioners Tuesday about her mission to change Stark County’s time zone from Mountain to Central Daylight Time.
“When we have people living in Belfield that work in Watford City and we have schools that participate — like Richardton goes to Hebron — it’s what 10 or 15 miles apart and there’s a time change,” Dukart said.
She plans to circulate petitions and get the issue on the 2010 ballot so residents can vote on whether to change it.
“I just feel that once it’s up for a vote it’s more effective,” Dukart said. “If they vote it down, fine, but if it goes in, then I think we need to pursue it.”
County commissioners agreed residents should have a say.
“I don’t see any reason that it’s not in the best interest of the county,” Chairman Duane Wolf said after the Stark County Board meeting. “I’ve been listening to both sides and I’m not committed to one way or another.”
During the meeting, commissioners Russ Hoff and Ken Zander said the same issues may come up if Stark County changes and surrounding areas remain on Mountain Time.
Dukart said surrounding counties on Mountain Time may also switch and she intends to send a letter to other southwest North Dakota county auditors so they can participate.
Hoff said he is aware of businesses which are not in favor of the change.
Commissioner Jay Elkin said a change may make things easier for some. “Would I like to see it happen because of convenience for day-to-day operations, especially with the commission or with business affairs? Yes.”
“So much of what we do is done in Bismarck,” Elkin said after the meeting. “It may very well be a convenience to others.”
However, he said he doesn’t have a strong opinion.
“It doesn’t really matter one way or another to me,” Elkin said.
Tom Henning, Stark County state’s attorney said Dukart must complete her petition and the commission decides whether to put it on the ballot. He said if it goes on the ballot and is voted in, commissioners decides whether or not to petition the Department of Transportation which would make the change.