Ward County Commissioners put weather mod fate in hands of voters

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MINOT, N.D. - Every five years, counties across the North Dakota are given the choice to join the state's weather modification program.

As the Ward County Commissioners put together their 2020 preliminary budget, funding weather mod participation hangs in the balance.

The Ward County commissioners decided by a three to two vote that they'll let the voters chose this June if the county should continue to participate in the weather modification program.

“I'm getting people that say yes, and I'm getting people that say no. I feel it should be the general public that decides whether we have the program as a whole or not,” said Shelly Weppler, Ward County Commission chair.

With the vote in the hands of the public, the commission was tasked with budgeting for a program that may or may not exist halfway through the year.

“Not having money in place until we decide if this program is going forward I think would be good. It would probably lead to better civil discussions and education,” said John Fjeldahl, commission vice chair.

Others thought they should have funds in place

“I would rather see a motion that includes the weather modification if it passes. If it doesn't pass it doesn't get spent,” Weppler said.

By a three to one vote the commissioner's decided to place nearly $150,000 in the budget for weather modification until they make a final budget decision in late September.

Fjeldahl was the only no vote in the budget motion. Commissioner Alan Walter was not present.