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Crew camp fees vary by county: Zoning board may consider change to Stark County toll

Want to build a crew camp in North Dakota? Better research the county for its assessment of fees because each county is different.

That was the finding presented to the Stark County Planning and Zoning Board on Thursday by County Planner Steve Josephson, who was asked by the board to research crew camp fees so it can decide if a recommendation on changes to Stark County's fees are justified.

The recommendation would go to the Stark County Commission. No decision was made on Thursday.

Kay Haag, county auditor, told the zoning board Thursday at its meeting at the courthouse that the county charges a $400 per unit fee for workforce housing.

But in his research, Josephson said there doesn't seem to be a methodology to how some local governments assess crew camp fees.

An exception though might be Dickinson, which charges a $400 per person per year fee for crew camps.

Gaylon Baker, executive vice president of Stark Development Corporation, said city calculated the taxation motel rooms bring in and $400 is an estimate of how much per year per hotel room the city gets.

Among the crew camp fees assessed by other counties in western North Dakota, Josephson said Dunn County charges $1,000 per person per year if it is a crew camp of one to five beds. If there are six or more beds, there is a $1,000 annual base fee assessed and $1,000 per person after that.

Mountrail County charges $1,000 per person per year for one to 10 beds. If there are 11 or more beds in the camp, Josephson said Mountrail County charges a $1,000 base fee, plus $1,000 per person per year.

Williams County bases the fee it assess crew camps on the square footage of the camp. Josephson said the county charges $1.50 per square foot.

"They will measure the area of the crew camp and it there are other facilities associated with it they don't necessarily take those into account because they are not necessarily exempt from property tax and can be taxed," he said.

After the fees are collected, Josephson said it is up to county officials to decide how to divide it up.

"For example, the planner in Mountrail County told me the way they divvy up the money they collect is 40 percent of it goes to whatever the fire district is in the area, 40 percent goes to the local ambulance district and then the last 20 percent goes to the general fund of the county commission to use it as they see fit," he said. "Say there is a need for more law enforcement because of the crew camp, they can take (those funds) and distribute that to the sheriff's office, or if it needs to go to roads, the commission can decide where they want to use that extra revenue that the crew camp fees bring in. Other counties I talked with divide the money up in thirds."

Josephson said he has also spoken to Bill Fahlsing, Stark County emergency manager, who suggested that 40 percent of the money be allotted to whatever fire district the crew camp is in with the rest of the funds going to support the county's general fund and being used for improvements around the county that may be required because of the camps.