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Word of state cutbacks trickling to county, townships

Posted 3/01/16 (Tue)

By Cecile Krimm
As state agencies struggle with the need for spending cutbacks, word is making its way to counties and townships that promised funds are no longer assured and the scope of some projects are changing.
For Divide County, that means not only the scaling back of work previously scheduled  for ND 42, but also the loss of $4 million promised in legislative action aimed at making up for a previous shorting of “surge” funds.
“Now that’s going to be gone,” said Divide County Commissioner Doug Graupe, leaving commissioners without funds they thought would be available for 2017 road projects.
Meanwhile, in Frederick Township, said Lynn Jacobson, they are not even assured of recouping oil impact monies already awarded. With less than half of a $200,000 award from last year expended, the township has been told that if they complete the project this summer, previously promised reimbursements may not be available.
When he got a call from the state two weeks ago, Jacobson said, “they were concerned about what commitments we had out there.”
“Everything seems to be in limbo,” said Divide County Commission Chairman Gerald Brady, based on conversations he has had with state officials.
When it comes to state energy impact grants for the townships, said Brady, it appears that if the work was not completed last season it may no longer be possible.
“If they got approval for a grant last year they probably won’t get the money, even if it was promised to them,” he said.
Brady and Graupe are also frustrated by the repositioning of the ND 42 project from a regrading project to an overlay project. While the road will be raised to 105,500 pound capacity, it will not be completely rebuilt, only overlaid. It also will not be widened, which is of concern to area residents.
“They’re the ones who have to deal with it on a daily basis, the people who live along there,” said Brady.
Though the road will meet state specifications, Brady said he doesn’t believe a 12 foot roadway is enough for ND 42.