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A petition for a new half-cent sales tax already has roughly 225 signatures after only 12 days. The revenue would go toward public safety, with 60 percent divided equally between the city's police and fire departments, and 40 percent going to the city's general fund. The petition only needs 511 votes to be included on the November ballot, Linda Carlson, deputy city administrator, explained Wednesday at a meeting of the Half Cent Sales Tax Committee. If passed in November, revenue would start to be collected in April and received by the city in June 2019.
Shawn Kessel is departing as Dickinson city administrator. "I've accepted a position in Minnesota, and will be moving in June to take on the duties of my new role as a city administrator," Kessel told The Dickinson Press on Wednesday. A transition team will be established and the city will proceed with finding a new administrator, Mayor Scott Decker said. Decker commended Kessel for his service to the city.
Best Friends Mentoring is getting a new facade. The building at 135 W. Villard St., owned by A&F Properties, is also the site of Westwind Counseling Center. The improvements will be partly funded with a community enhancement grant from Stark Development Corp. ,which approved $20,000 Tuesday, April 17, half of the project's $40,000 cost. Scull Construction of Dickinson will serve as the contractor. The building is more than a century old, Kris Fehr, A&F property manager and Best Friends executive director, said.
City Commissioners Tuesday approved a land purchase agreement with Odyssey Theatres. Odyssey, which owns the three-screen theater in Prairie Hills Mall, hopes to build an eight-screen theater in downtown Dickinson on East First Street, across from City Hall. The cost for the land is $100,000. A drafted agreement was returned to Odyssey after commissioners voiced concerns at their April 3 meeting over the $10,000 down payment or "earnest money." Commissioners asked that the earnest money be made non-refundable.
Dickinson Public Library is seeking an architect for its upcoming expansion project. The library's foundation has purchased the former Arc thrift store building at 140 Second St. W. that is next to the library and the Friends of the Library bookstore. The plan is for the Arc building to be demolished this spring before designing a new building. "We are waiting until the frost is all out of the ground," Library Director Rita Ennen said of the demolition. "There are gas lines and other things like that. That's what the hold up has been."
Dickinson's Half Cent Sales Tax Committee finalized language Monday for an ordinance that would dedicate new sales tax revenue to the city's fire and police departments. With the language decided, the ordinance can be drafted and a petition circulated among the community for inclusion on this November's ballot. If approved, the first $1 million or 60 percent of the total public safety tax revenue will be split equally between the police and fire departments to supplant funds previously obtained from the general fund, Linda Carlson, deputy city administrator, explained.
Vision West ND, a consortium of 19 energy-producing counties, is investigating the possibility of a food hub being started in Dickinson. The community-led effort would aggregate and distribute locally produced foods exclusively to markets in southwest North Dakota. "We've been doing some work with small businesses, with main street, a number of things, but one of the things we identified is that there hasn't been a real connection between local and midsized farm producers and local communities," Deb Nelson, Vision West ND consortium administrator, said.
Paleontologist Denver Fowler, Dickinson Museum Center, is readying for summer field work at Montana's Judith River Formation, calling the site "the most exciting I've ever found." The site already has yielded a new species of nodosaur, belonging to the armored ankylosaur family. It is a low, stocky animal with many side spikes. A portion of skull and fragments of its arm are being cleaned at the museum center.
Gov. Doug Burgum and Lt. Gov. Brent Sanford toured Dickinson on Wednesday. As part of the governor's Main Street ND Initiative, the Downtown Dickinson Association and city of Dickinson hosted Burgum and Sanford as they visited Dickinson State University, enjoyed a walking tour of the city's downtown and held a listening session at Dickinson Public Library. Burgum said he enjoyed the experience.
City commissioners on Tuesday tackled a potential land purchase agreement with Odyssey Theatres. Odyssey, which owns the three-screen theater in Prairie Hills Mall, hopes to build an eight-screen theater in downtown Dickinson on East First Street across from City Hall. The agreement is still in draft form, Jan Murtha, city attorney, explained. "We have an idea," she said. "We know the purchase price. We know the approximate location. But the specific detail description won't be available until later on in the due diligence process."