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Mill levy increase measure fails at the polls in Dunn County

In a special ballot vote on Tuesday at the Killdeer Ambulance Hall, a measure to double an existing 5 mill property tax aimed at increasing support for the ambulance service was handily shot down by area voters.

Killdeer
By Jason O'Day / The Dickinson Press
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KILLDEER, N.D. — A ballot measure put forward by the Killdeer Ambulance District allowed voters to decide whether or not to enable the district to raise its existing 5 mill levy to as high as 10 mills. The tax hike purportedly would’ve brought an additional $250,000 in annual revenue to the ambulance service.

Dunn County Auditor & Treasurer Tracey Dolezal said the measure was soundly defeated, with an unofficial tally of 69 in favor and 230 against.

Dolezal, who is also board chairman of the Killdeer Ambulance District, expressed disappointment with the outcome.

“With the funding gap that we have, the mill levy would have provided stability to know that we could support and staff a second rig to be ready to go at any time,” she said. “We didn’t get it, obviously, from the mill levy. But in the past several years the county has helped.”

Killdeer resident Candyce Kleemann, who lives on a ranch north of town, explained why she was content with the results.

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“I’m not opposed to the ambulance because everyone needs it,” Kleemann said. “But I felt that since they were in state audit, it would be nice to make sure everything is in order prior to giving five more mills.”

Last week, Dolezal said the ambulance district is being audited by the state because they missed a filing deadline they were unaware of.

According to the North Dakota State Auditor’s website, “Local government entities (including rural ambulance service districts) must be audited or reviewed once every two years. Annual financial reports may be prepared in lieu of an audit under certain conditions.”

After this, read more Killdeer area stories
Ashley Koffler returns to The Dickinson Press to cover county government, features and more. Koffler last worked for The Press in 2012 and is ready to share the latest news and views with readers.

Kleemann said she finds it troubling that no one on the ambulance board knew they were required to submit biennial financial documentation to the state, noting that a brief search engine query delivered precisely what she was looking for.

“I hit ‘North Dakota requirements for ambulance’ and it popped up right away...,” she said. “They have access to the county auditor (Dolezal), to the State Auditor's Office, to the State's Attorney. They had a commissioner on the board... And then they're claiming the reason they didn't do it was they didn't know that. It was not difficult for me to find.”

She also suggested that if the ambulance service needs additional funding, that should be provided by the county instead of raising mill levies. She pointed out the county receives a substantial financial benefit from oil production.

An Audit Report shows that in 2021, Dunn County received approximately $8.1 million from federal mineral royalties.

The Killdeer Ambulance District Board will hold its next public meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, August 15, at the Killdeer Ambulance Hall, located at 25 High St.

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Other stories by Jason O’Day
This year alone, Choice Bank has supported 12 North Dakota childcare providers with $100,000 in grant funding aimed at easing the strain of daycare shortages in rural areas.

Related Topics: DICKINSON
Jason O’Day is a University of Iowa graduate, with Bachelor’s Degrees in Journalism and Political Science. Before moving to Dickinson in September of 2021, he was a general news reporter at the Creston News Advertiser in rural southwest Iowa. He was born and raised in Davenport, Iowa. With a passion for the outdoors and his Catholic faith, he’s loving life on the Western Edge.
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