Challenge made: First National Bank of Golva mails $15,000 check to state housing fundFirst State Bank of Golva mailed a $15,000 check Tuesday to benefit North Dakota’s Housing Incentive Fund, and it’s challenging others to contribute as well.
First State Bank of Golva mailed a $15,000 check Tuesday to benefit North Dakota’s Housing Incentive Fund, and it’s challenging others to contribute as well.
Dee Baertsch, president of First State Bank of Golva, Beach and Medora, said the bank is using the incentive to help fund a housing project in Beach.
During a recent special legislative session, the Legislature increased the fund from $4 million to $15 million in credit authority, said Sarah Mudder, communications coordinator for the North Dakota Housing Finance Agency.
“So you could say I owe $500 in state income tax liability and I’m going to make a $500 donation to the fund and I want that money to go to affordable housing development in southwestern North Dakota,” she said. “Basically it’s your opportunity as a taxpayer to say where you want your tax dollars to go.”
The fund also benefits disaster impacted communities in the state, Mudder said.
The $15,000 contributed by First State Bank was its expected state income tax liability, Baertsch said.
Those who have already had taxes withheld from their paychecks can send a check to NDHFA and receive a refund from the state, Mudder said.
“Most people wouldn’t think that it could be that simple and that it could be that direct of an impact,” Baertsch said. “So it’s not going to cost you a penny.”
Those who contribute can also specify what region, county or city they want their money to benefit, as First State Bank did, Mudder said.
The bank’s $15,000 is directed at a Lutheran Social Services Housing project aimed at constructing 12 rental units in Beach.
“Some of those units will be reserved for low- to moderate-income households and some will be available to anyone regardless of their income,” said Jessica Thomasson, LSSH director. “We know that families have bills to pay so we’re trying to do what we can to be fair.”
The nonprofit organization needs about $250,000 from investors to build the $1.5 million project, she said.
“We were out of ideas on how to fill the remaining gap,” Thomasson said. “So we’re very excited about the Legislature’s actions to add this tool that hopefully will help catalyze a lot of housing development in western North Dakota.”
If LSSH is able to fill that funding gap, Thomasson hopes construction will begin in the spring.
“Since it’s not an enormous project in terms of size, we think we’ll be able to have those units available by fall,” she said.
Baertsch, who is also a real estate agent, said the energy industry is just beginning to impact Golden Valley County and housing is already tight.
“I would say we’ve seen real estate prices increase probably between 10 and 20 percent just within the last year,” she said. “There’s just virtually nothing available for rent and any people that own rental properties have a waiting list of four to five people for anything that they might have coming open.”
The deadline to receive the tax credits is Dec. 31, 2012, said NDHFA Executive Director Michael Anderson.
“With the building industry coming up this spring, the most important time to get involved with the fund is now,” he said.
For more information about the Housing Incentive Fund, visit www.ndhousingincentivefund.org.