Mandan News

Morton renews housing contract

By LeAnn Eckroth
Lee News

The Morton County Commission last week renewed its contract with the Housing and Urban Development agency for a group of apartments located on the same block as the Law Enforcement Center.

The contract for low-income, subsidized housing at the site will now continue through March 2016.

Morton County Commissioner Cody Schulz said there are 34 apartments rented to low-income tenants. For the next two years, tenants will remain there.

Commission Chairman Bruce Strinden said the county commission bought the property nearly two years ago. Commissioners had debated about using that property to expand the Morton County Jail.

The jail expansion option was shelved when commissioners decided to put the jail sales tax and a home rule charter to a vote. Morton County would use the short-term sales tax to pay for part of a $50 million jail with Burleigh County in Bismarck.

Commissioners said if a vote for a sales tax for a combined jail in Bismarck fails in June, redoing a new jail plan will take time.

Commission Chairman Bruce Strinden said expanding the jail at the apartment property would cost $17 million. He added if the Burleigh County jail plan is not approved, a whole new jail financing plan and designs might take several months to complete.

Schulz said the property also could be used for county office space or parking space for the county.

Revenue received from the low-income rental is placed in the Morton County general fund.