Stark County mill request for housing grants deniedMoney — or the budgeted lack thereof — was a hot topic of debate Tuesday at the regular meeting of the Stark County Commission.
By: April Baumgarten, The Dickinson Press
Money — or the budgeted lack thereof — was a hot topic of debate Tuesday at the regular meeting of the Stark County Commission.
Stark Development Corp. asked the commission to restore the Stark County Jobs Development Authority’s two mills of funding, but the commissioners said the 2012 budget was set. In that budget, the JDA’s funding was lowered to one mill, or $75,600 of property tax funds.
At Tuesday’s meeting in the Stark County Courthouse, SDC’s executive vice president, Gaylon Baker, requested two mills so the corporation could use the money for grants on housing in western North Dakota.
JDA has received two mills for quite a while, JDA Chairwoman Linda Steve said. JDA contracts its mills to the SDC, which uses the funds for its programs to help develop jobs in Stark County.
“Gaylon was trying to explain that a decrease … is really significant,” Steve said.
Baker said SDC realized in 2010 that housing would become an issue because of an oil boom in North Dakota, and that issuing grants and building housing could decrease rent.
Commissioner Duane “Buck” Wolf asked how building more houses would lower rent prices. Baker used the supply and demand theory.
“We are trying to add supply so the supply and demand balance is better so that rents don’t elevate as much as they would if we did not have that supply,” Baker said. “If you don’t have those supplies you are out of the ball game.”
The commissioners denied the request without a vote. However, they did invite JDA and SDC to come back next year.
“We did project our oil revenue very conservatively,” Wolf said. “There is certainly room if the situation continues like it is and our oil revenue continues to pick up.”
Baker thanked the commissioners and said he would come back before next year’s budget is approved.