Flood, oil funding distribution up in the airState officials are still working out plans on how to distribute millions of dollars to help North Dakota’s oil-impacted and flood-impacted counties.
By: Staff report, Forum Communications
BISMARCK — State officials are still working out plans on how to distribute millions of dollars to help North Dakota’s oil-impacted and flood-impacted counties.
The Board of University and School Lands heard updates on both issues during its Wednesday meeting.
The next funding round for energy impact grants is slated to provide money for emergency services and response assets and training in the state’s oil and gas producing counties.
Enhancing emergency services and law enforcement is a top concern that local officials in western North Dakota have voiced to Gov. Jack Dalrymple in recent weeks.
However, state officials have not yet determined how much money they will distribute to the oil counties this funding round.
So far, the Land Board has set aside $2 million. However, the board will also likely have access to an extra $30 million approved by legislators during the special session, said Lance Gaebe, energy infrastructure and impact grant program director.
The board will need to decide how much of that money to spend this spring on emergency services, Gaebe said. The board agreed to see what types of applications are received before determining a dollar amount.
Applications will be accepted from counties, cities, rural fire protection districts, ambulance districts or other political subdivisions. Funding priority will be for projects that enhance safety and provide long-term benefits to multiple service providers within a region, Gaebe said.
The funds will be targeted to improve readiness and responsiveness of emergency response services by supporting their training, equipment and facility needs, Gaebe said.
“The focus here, I think, is on the volunteer services who are trying to bolster the people doing this out of the goodness of their heart,” he said.
Dalrymple said he thinks local officials understand these grants are not designed to be permanent staffing support.
“But, nevertheless, their needs, you know, do go to staffing,” he said. “We’re trying to figure out ways to help with that.”
Application forms and materials for this grant round are at www.nd.gov/energyimpact and will be accepted until Jan. 31. Awards are expected to be announced in March.
The board also discussed the $30 million in flood impact grants approved by the Legislature during the special session. Rep. Duane DeKrey, R-Pettibone, was hired on a temporary basis to assist in developing procedures and guidelines for the program.
The board hopes to provide more details on the grant funding application process after its Jan. 26 meeting.