Land Board Awards $2.5 Million for Teacher Housing, Public Safety Enhancements in Oil-Producing Counties
BISMARCK, N.D. – The North Dakota Board of University and School Lands (Land Board) today awarded $2.5 million in state energy impact grants to help fund the development of affordable housing for teachers and to enhance public safety throughout the state’s oil-producing counties. The grants are part of the state’s $135 million Energy Impact Grant Fund which was created to address impacts from rapid oil and gas development.
“The grants awarded today will further enhance public safety in our oil-producing counties and help six school districts develop the affordable housing needed to attract and retain quality teachers,” Gov. Jack Dalrymple said. “The Energy Impact Grant program has proved to be a valuable tool that allows us to quickly address a wide variety of needs in our oil-producing counties.
“We will continue working with local officials and community leaders to meet the region’s current and long-term needs,” Dalrymple said.
Dalrymple is chairman of the five-member state Land Board. Other board members are: Secretary of State Al Jaeger, Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, State Treasurer Kelly Schmidt and Superintendent of Public Instruction Wayne Sanstead.
The Land Board today approved energy impact grants for nine school districts and four counties in North Dakota’s oil-production region. A complete list of approved grants is available on line at http://www.nd.gov/energyimpact
About $125 million in Energy Impact Grant funds have been approved during the current budget cycle. The state grants are being used to develop affordable housing for teachers and other essential service personal; to provide additional classroom space; to facilitate the development of childcare centers; to support law enforcement agencies and to enhance emergency services. Cities are using the funding to expand water supply systems; extend sewer lines and city streets and to make other improvements that support the development. The state funding also is being used for major improvements to county and township roadways.
The Land Board is expected to award another $2.5 million in energy impact grants in December. The state Department of Trust Lands Energy Infrastructure and Impact Office is accepting grant applications through October for township road improvements.
Dalrymple said he will recommend that the Legislature increase the Energy Impact Grant Fund to $150 million for the 2013-2015 biennium. Dalrymple also supports changing the oil and gas production tax formula in favor of the local counties, cities and schools. Additionally, the governor supports creating a statewide, low-interest loan program of $200 million to help school districts finance building projects.