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Mott Mayor uses role on regional boards to aid city

Mayor Troy Mosbrucker has served the city for about 14 years in addition to various other entities in the city and region. Photo by Ellie Potter/The Dickinson Press

MOTT—Mark Resner, the former economic director in Mott, said he has told everyone in the western half of North Dakota — legislators, economic developers, most anyone — about the mayor of Mott, Troy Mosbrucker.

"Troy is the kind of mayor that every little town needs, desperately needs," Resner said. "He's incredibly involved in the community, he's incredibly dedicated to the community. He spends an unbelievable amount of time. He just is extremely dedicated."

Mosbrucker assumed office in 2003, and the people of Mott have kept him running.

"You see the progress your city's making, and you want to stick with it. The people make the job fun, sometimes," he said with a laugh.

Because he does not have an office or office hours, people knock on Mosbrucker's door at all hours of the day and night with questions or concerns about the city, said Pam Steinke, the city's auditor.

"There's a lot of stuff getting done, but if you know Troy, you also know that there's going to be some laughs involved," she said. "I've gotta say, he goes at the job with a really positive attitude, and no matter what he seems to do, he always puts the city first. If there's some way that the city can benefit with something... then the city will benefit."

Prior to becoming mayor, Mosbrucker served on the park board for about 10 years, he said. He has also served as a volunteer EMT for the Mott ambulance since 1993 and been a volunteer fireman since 1994. He was elected fire chief this past January.

He drives a school bus and owns a few local businesses in town as well. He and his brother own a local carwash and storage units, which helps free up his time during the day to help the city.

For the past eight years, he has also served on the Roosevelt-Custer Regional Council, which helps support cities with resources to enhance their economic development, he said. He is the former president of the SW Reap Board, an entity he still serves on, which helps provide microloans to assist businesses that may be seeking to start or expand, he said. He represents eight counties on both of those boards, in addition to his service on boards in Mott.

Steinke noted that the mayor's time spent working with these different entities in the region benefits the town.

"Because he's on a lot of these boards, we've found out about grants, and they may not necessarily be grants that the city itself would qualify for, but he knows that maybe the library might qualify for them, or the history and art gallery might qualify for them," she said. "So he's constantly aware of opportunities for fundraising, definitely. He really keeps his ear to the ground as to what the city's needs are and what the various community groups' needs are, and when he runs across a grant opportunity, then he definitely lets them know."

For example, Mott's National Guard is leaving the armory and heading to the readiness center in Dickinson in August, something Mott has been fighting against for 20 years, Mosbrucker said. He and the city council are now working to repurpose the armory into a community center in order to fill the void. Currently, there are fitness groups who meet and workout at the armory, and the school rents the space for sporting events, he said. But the city hopes to add another locker room, office space and perhaps a conference room.

He is hoping the city will receive about $98,000 in grant money from the U.S. Department of Agriculture that should take care of most of these renovations — though the city may be required to pay a percentage of it. Roosevelt-Custer also has some grants available he is looking into, he said.

He would like to bring more business into Mott, but the city has an aging workforce that may not support such businesses, he said. He also worries that new businesses would detract from the workforce at existing localities. The nursing home and schools in town sometimes struggle to find staff. While a teacher opening used to receive 20 to 30 applications, the school is now lucky to receive five, Mosbrucker said.

Housing is another issue in town because Mott lacks quality homes on the market, he said. So when a nice home becomes available, it does not take long to sell. Some of the homes for sale currently require a good deal of work.

But the city has made improvements. The city passed a bond for a new $8.6 million grade school, which is set to be completed in August. The district plans to tear down the old elementary school and build a new playground, Mosbrucker said. He hopes this will attract younger families to the area.

Gene Steiner, who has served on the city council for about eight or nine years, said the roads in Mott have improved because of Mosbrucker's service. The mayor figured out how to use a percentage of the sales tax for street maintenance, so the city had the funds available when the council looked to re-chip the streets.

"He's a good guy to work with," Steiner said. "He understands what the mayor has to do, and he brings it to the council very well."

Resner noted that Mosbrucker was "instrumental" in the $520,000 addition to the city's fire hall, which provided a garage for the ambulance and meeting space for the firemen and ambulance workers. The project would not have been possible without him.

"That's the kind of mayor he is. It's amazing the effort he puts into it and the results he achieves," Resner said. "... He's very accomplished at budgeting on projects. He's very knowledgeable of construction, how construction projects should progress and how much things can cost and has done an excellent job of those kinds of oversight projects."

Overall, Resner noted that Mott has maintained its essential services despite losses in retail.

"Mott has actually done quite well in spite of missing out on the oil boom," he said.

Ultimately, Mosbrucker's dedication to the community stems from his upbringing. He and his siblings were raised by a single father, and the residents of Mott were always there to help his family, he said. He now feels it is his turn to return the favor.

He was the North Dakota volunteer of the year for long term care in 2003 because of the time he spent in Mott's nursing home, the Good Samaritan Society, he said. He took some of the residents fishing and golfing when he could. He still tries to visit once or twice a week.

"Just to see a different face, it puts a smile on their face. Just to see them smile is worth the trip in there," he said. "They might tell you the same story every day you come in there. They may tell you the same story over , but they're happy."

Overall, he said he could not help the city without the other officials' and community's support.

"As a mayor, you're only as good as the people around you," he said. "We have a great council, we work together on everything, and it ain't about me, it's about all of us. It ain't about one guy, it ain't about one guy running the city—it's about the elected people that are sitting here. It's about all seven of us running the city, and I think we do a very good job at it."

Ellie Potter

Ellie Potter started working for The Dickinson Press in September of 2016 as a news reporter. She graduated from the University of Richmond in Richmond, Va. in December of 2015 with a degree in journalism. She is originally from Columbus, Ohio and has worked for publications in Prague, Czech Republic; Washington, DC and Richmond, Va. 

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