State funding for hub cities

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Should the state continue to fund hub cities? That's the question members of the state energy and transportation committee are looking to answer in Williston this week.

The typical visit from the Committee took on a new meaning this time with a directive from the State Legislature.

"What happened in the last session is that they decided to do a study on whether Hub City funding should continue on," said Williston Mayor Howard Klug.

The 12-member committee consisting of Senators and Representatives were in Williston this week to see first hand what the city has gone through since their last visit.

"On this committee, there are people from all over the state, so they represent all parts," said Dickinson Senator Richard Wardner, "And so as we go through this, and we debate it and work on it, we're hoping we can come up with a plan that everyone can live with."

Officials from the City, Williams County, and Williston Public School District One all explained why they believe the funding should continue.

"We're kind of upside down right now in that we're a year behind," said Williston Public School District One Superintendent Michael Campbell. "And they're going to take 75 percent of that year behind dollar, and we got less this year."

The Committee seemed receptive to keeping the program going.

"So what we're looking at is what is the correct amount that should come out here. And we're trying to get the formula set so that it's set for more than one biennium, but it's for multiple bienniums," Said Wardner.

And the hope is everyone can come together to keep the oil industry going in the state.

"The oil companies, the cities, the state, we're all working together to make sure this industry is going to benefit all of North Dakota and the United States of America," Said Klug.

The Energy and Transportation Committee will hold meetings in Minot and Dickinson as well.

The next meeting of the Energy and Transportation committee will be in October at the State Capitol.