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  • Asking the Experts: The Prairie Dog Bill

  • Asking the Experts: The Prairie Dog Bill

    Asking the Experts: The Prairie Dog Bill

    This month, we sat down with North Dakota State Senator Ron Sorvaag (R-45) to dive deeper into the passage of HB 1066, better known as Operation Prairie Dog.

    Could you provide an overview of the Prairie Dog Bill and why you supported it?
    “The Prairie Dog Bill establishes new ‘buckets’ of money for the oil extraction tax to flow through and will provide additional dollars to non-oil producing cities, counties and townships across the state. The additional funding will benefit both large and small communities and can be utilized for new infrastructure projects.”

    Specifically, Sen. Sorvaag expressed support, stating “It benefits every citizen that is a property owner, specifically within Cass County and the communities that I represent. The projects that will be partially funded through the Prairie Dog Bill are projects that would have gotten done eventually—but this will hopefully accelerate the timeline, which will save on inflation costs, special assessments and property taxes.”

    How much additional money will become available and how much will our community receive?
    “Up to $250 million will become available through the passage of Operation Prairie Dog. Of the $250 million, $20 million will go to airports – to be distributed by the aeronautics commission, $115 million will go to cities, to be distributed by population, and $115 million will go to counties and townships. Of the $230 million available for cities, counties and townships, roughly $25 million will go to Fargo, roughly $12.5 million to West Fargo and roughly $7 to $7.5 million to Cass County.”

    When will we receive the money and can it be ‘saved’?
    “The money for the current biennium will become available on July 1, 2021. Once the money is available, it can be saved for future projects and will not be affected by any changes to the state budget.”

    Sen. Sorvaag also noted that this is not a permanent ongoing appropriation, but instead, it will be a part of the formula discussion each biennium and will need re-approval each session.

    Got a question for a legislator, public official or other expert? Let us know what’s keeping you up at night and we just might help get you answers. Email mrademacher@fmwfchamber.com to submit a suggestion.
     

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