Contractors are concerned that Bowman County is jumping the gun
BOWMAN -- Contractors here have raised concerns regarding recent comments made in newspaper articles by Bowman County Housing Authority chief Les Snavely.
Dan Peterson of R & L Contracting in Bowman said the contractors in Bowman County are concerned about reports the county is going out of state for contractors, as well as the perception they are too busy to fill the demand for new homes in the community.
"The articles kind of caught us off guard," Peterson said. "What we're trying to point out to people is don't put the cart before the horse."
Left out of the reported comments was an entry in the Housing Needs Analysis that said the potential growth in Bowman County is dependent on certain economic factors such as proposed coal and wind power plants in the county.
"These units were contingent on certain things happening," Justin Coyle from Coyle Electric in Bowman said.
The report, prepared by Hanna:Keelan, a community housing and planning firm out of Lincoln, Neb., mentions if the potential economic development doesn't occur, then Bowman County could lose population.
"If there were 150 new houses there right now, probably 145 of them would be empty," Myron Vail, owner of Tiger Electric in Bowman said. "...We just don't want a mad panic with what's going on here in Bowman and have it be overkill."
Snavely said he understands the concerns raised by the contractors, but said it is important for Bowman County to plan for every contingency.
"They just felt that they had to protect the reputation of the contractors," Snavely said. "We still have to plan for what's right now, for what might happen positive in the future. You also plan for negative things in the future. That's what governments do."
There currently are waiting lists to construct homes, Peterson said. Typically, when one or two houses are built, there is one or two waiting to be started. But having a backlog just makes good business sense.
"We all want a comfortable backlog of work and that's what we have," Peterson said. "...TMI can't make every cabinet that gets ordered right away, they have a pretty big backlog. Right now there is no problem."
Peterson added out-of-state contractors don't pay state taxes and it makes economic sense to keep the business in the state.
Coyle, Peterson and Vail would like the county not to jump the gun and instead take a measured approach to development.
"All of a sudden, it's made a panic like there's no place to live in our town and there is," Vail said. "Our contractors are doing our best. We are busy, but we are doing our best to keep things local. We don't want all this out-of-state stuff coming in."