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City Commission discusses $93 million debt load

Dickinson has some debts to pay. The city is carrying almost $93 million in municipal debt--approximately $60 million of which is due to oil impacts--and is on track to pay it off by 2033, according to a long-term debt report presented to the Cit...

Dickinson has some debts to pay.

The city is carrying almost $93 million in municipal debt-approximately $60 million of which is due to oil impacts-and is on track to pay it off by 2033, according to a long-term debt report presented to the City Commission by City Administrator Shawn Kessel at its Monday meeting.

Aside from the oil impact-related debt, Kessel said the city holds more than $16.4 million in debt from investments in the West River Community Center and $16 million from waste treatment improvements. He said the latter, while affected by oil boom rates of usage, was planned before the infrastructure ramp-up.

Kessel said the 2033 timetable would require the city to make $4.4 million in annual State Revolving Fund payments through the end of the life of four separate loans made to the city to tackle water infrastructure improvements.

By a "rough estimate," Kessel said the loans could be paid out in 10 years through annual payments of up to $7.75 million.

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The city mainly uses oil-impact funds to repay loans, he said.

"If we want to continue to use oil impact as our primary repayment source, the number that I would feel comfortable in advocating at the legislative level is a continuing commitment for $7.75 million a year for five continuous sessions," Kessel said. "That would essentially pay off our debt as it relates to our current indebtedness."

City Commission President Gene Jackson said he believed there was "a lot to be said" with attempting to pay off the existing debt at an earlier date.

Jackson said that, despite a downturn in sales tax and oil tax revenues, he thought the city could be "reasonably confident" that future sessions of the state Legislature would result in sufficient funds coming to the city.

"We have to also remember that we're using oil tax monies in the general fund and we have to remember we do have more work to do in Dickinson," Jackson said. " ... But I think it's a really worthwhile goal, if we can get rid of this debt at a faster pace."

He noted that it would be up to the next City Commission to make that decision while going through the budgeting process for next year.

Commission approves final platting, special use permit for presidential library

Fresh after securing a land lease for its proposed site on the Dickinson State University rodeo grounds, the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library project received additional approvals from the Dickinson City Commission.

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On Monday night, the commission approved the final platting for the 28-acre library site on Dickinson State University's campus. It also approved a special use permit to allow the library's organizers to proceed with building the facility in accordance with a set of 10 conditions.

Those conditions include items such as requiring library planners to obtain a building permit, provide an updated site plan to the city's planning director and attempt to minimize the large parking lot planned to be in front of the library while making the facility more prominent from State Avenue.

The final condition requires the library's foundation of organizers to provide a "schedule of improvements and scope of work" for the site. It also states the special use permit will be nullified if no significant work is performed on site within the next two years.

Both the platting and the special use permit were approved unanimously with no discussion among commission members.

Related Topics: DICKINSON
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