Morton County delays deciding on ballot
By LeAnn Eckroth
The Morton County Commission on Monday delayed a final decision on its ballot wording to pay for part of a $50 million jail.
The jail funding will be decided on June 10. Commissioners have until 4 p.m. April 7 to finalize the ballot for voters: about creating a home rule charter that allows the county to issue a sales tax and asking if a half-cent sales tax will pay off the jail and renovations to the county’s existing jail facility. A commission decision on the ballot wording is expected in late March.
Commissioner Cody Schulz wanted to ensure wording was clear enough for vendors who must charge the special tax. He said the ballot wording must be the same as Mandan’s existing sales tax and tax exemption policy. It must also specify the tax will be used to pay off jail bonds and tell voters when the sales tax ends, he said.
Morton County’s ballot will explain that the special sales tax will end when all construction cost bonds are paid off. However, Morton County will continue its home rule charter after the jail is paid.
Burleigh County has approved its home rule charter ballot. It will combine the home rule charter and the half-cent sales tax question into one question on its ballot. Burleigh County’s home rule charter and sales tax will both end when the jail bonds and existing jail renovations are paid for.
The counties plan to share the cost of building the new jail with the sales tax instead of increasing property taxes in each county.
At the request of County Engineer Mike Aubol, commissioners voted to protest a city special assessment district for road work at an industrial park area at 34th and 37th streets and 30th Avenue. The county shop would be one of the properties taxed in the special assessment district.
The special assessment would require the county to pay for nearly $450,000 of the $2.3 million project, Aubol said. He believes less expensive repairs could be done on the roads instead of replacing them. He added that 30th Avenue is in relatively good shape.
Commissioners asked Aubol to go back to the city to try to negotiate the repairs.