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Minot hosted members of the North Dakota Legislature’s Energy Development and Transmission Committee on Nov. 29-30 as part of the committee’s tour of North Dakota cities to discuss “HUB City” funding, oil-impacted development and infrastructure needs.
Over the two-day presentation, Minot officials joined the legislators on tours of various energy sector businesses throughout the city, including Hess, Enbridge, Baker Hughes and Cameron Surface Systems. The committee also toured the City of Minot’s Public Works building, the Minot International Airport, and the Ward County Jail, as well as other public infrastructure locations.
“We wanted to focus on telling Minot’s story, because we believe the city has a compelling story as one of the three legally defined HUB cities,” said City Manager Tom Barry. “We are very appreciative of the support we received from our partners throughout the city as well as the private industries that stepped up to help us show the committee members why Minot has been and continues to be a vital HUB City in western North Dakota.”
During the two days, presentations were made by Mayor Chuck Barney, Barry, Finance Director David Lakefield, City Engineer Lance Meyer, Director of Public Works Dan Jonasson, Airport Director Rick Feltner, Police Chief Jason Olson, Fire Chief Kelli Flermoen, Minot Area Development President Stephanie Hoffart, Chamber of Commerce President John MacMartin, Ward County Sheriff Bob Barnard, and Minot Public Schools Superintendent Mark Vollmer.
“During their visit to Minot, members of the committee witnessed first-hand the impacts brought on by the rapid growth in North Dakota’s energy industry,” Barry said. “The growth has impacted all aspects of life in Minot. The impacts are very real and they are ongoing, including major public sector infrastructure projects, increased calls for service at our police and fire departments, rising enrollments at our public schools, and spikes in serious trauma cases at our local health institutions.”
Private businesses in the energy industry, including Hess, Baker Hughes, Cameron Surface Systems, and Enbridge, hosted the members of the committee at their sites and presented information on their business operations, including reasons they decided to make Minot their home. Brett Tinnes, President of the American Petroleum Institute’s Bakken Chapter, also provided information during the tours.
“We can’t thank our private partners enough for their support over the two days the committee members were in our city,” Barry said. “By bringing the legislators to their facilities, all of the businesses and their employees were able to show the amazing variety of work they do right here in Minot, as well as provide legislators with information to reinforce what we already know: That Minot is indeed a HUB City and that we serve a vital role in the state’s energy sector.”
Minot, Williston, and Dickinson have been identified as HUB Cities, and have been awarded money from the state to help offset infrastructure investments and other costs incurred during the rapid growth brought on by the oil boom. The Legislature adjusted the funding formula during the 2017 session, a change that reduced Minot’s HUB City funding by 30 percent, or about $2 million annually.
The Energy Development and Transmission Committee visited all three HUB cities this fall, and has plans to reassess the funding formula before the next legislative session, which is scheduled to begin in January 2019.
“Minot may not have oil wells within sight of our city, but we truly are the Gateway to the Bakken, and the oil industry in western North Dakota would look very different without Minot’s contributions,” Barry said.
The committee is chaired by Sen. Rich Wardner. Other members include Sen. Brad Bekkedahl, Sen. Jim Dotzenrod, Sen. Merrill Piepkorn, Sen. David Rust, Sen. Jessica Unruh, Rep. Tracy Boe, Rep. Mike Brandenburg, Rep. Ben Koppelman, Rep. Corey Mock, Rep. Todd Porter, and Rep. Gary Sukut.