Bowman Co. township to dissolveAfter more than 33 years, residents of Sunny Slope Township, south of Marmarth, are calling it quits.
After more than 33 years, residents of Sunny Slope Township, south of Marmarth, are calling it quits.
Half of the township, which is Gene and Sarah Hanson along with Nurine Hanson, met with Bowman County commissioners last month to discuss dissolving the township, because only six people live there.
“It’s not common that townships dissolve,” said past president of the North Dakota Township Officers Association Kerry Schorsch of New England. “The dissolution of a township in southwestern North Dakota is a bit surprising because township government is a way for residents to recognize and resolve their own zoning, taxation, road and other issues instead of having someone else solve it for them.
“With all the (oil) activity we are seeing I don’t see why a group of residents wouldn’t want that control.”
County commissioners are reviewing the process of dissolution with Bowman County State’s Attorney Nici Meyer Clarkson.
She said state law presents a few options.
Residents can petition and get half of qualified electors in the township to sign and present it to the township board.
If a majority of all votes cast at the township meeting are in favor of dissolution, the township ceases to be on the following Jan. 1.
Or, if electors do not exceed five, the county may dissolve the township or by request of the township, Meyer Clarkson said.
“If the county dissolves the township, a hearing is held and all residents, landowners, qualified electors, taxpayers or other parties who have an interest in the township must be notified,” Meyer Clarkson said.
Townships also have the option to merge with neighboring townships, Schorsch said.
Nurine Hanson, township clerk, said she is planning on putting together a petition.
She has been a clerk for 33 years and feels since there are only six there, including herself and two of her sons, dissolving is the right move.
She added the county does a great job in handling township issues.
The township property, (including buildings, money or equipment bought by the township) after paying its debts and liabilities, must be disposed of as directed by a majority of the voters. All of the must be turned over for preservation and safekeeping to the county auditor, according to state law.
Schorsch said there are 1,340 organized townships in North Dakota and about 6,000 township officers.