County courthouse on schedule to add office space, new features

Dunn County Courthouse

Concrete is being poured and the steel for the addition will be put in next month, Dunn County Auditor Tracy Dolezal said. The addition is a three phase process. The first being adding to the south side, the second phase is the north side addition and the third phase will be a moderate remodel of the existing areas, according to the North Dakota Supreme Court website. The first phase of the project should be completed by June 15 and the remaining phases should be finished in early 2019.

The cost of the courthouse, which is $12.3 million, has been set aside and it will not come from citizens’ taxes, Dolezal said The money for the project comes from the Federal Mineral Royalties. The county receives this money from the federal government oil royalties. The county receives 25 percent of the royalties to be used on capital/ public services, such as the courthouse, Dolezal said. The money from this service has been budgeted to be paid over three years. The larger amount of the project will be paid for in 2018 and the remainder in early 2019, Dolezal added. With a new tax bill and possible increases to the deficit, there was some concern from Western states that are greatly impacted by this funding. Dolezal said with increases to the deficit the federal government has the potential to sequester 30 percent of this funding. Dunn County has received $5 million over the last three years from royalties.

According to a Huffington Post article, neighboring state Montana could lose $24 million in royalty payments if the tax bill is passed. With the money set aside, this is would not affect the courthouse, but could affect future projects, Dolezal said. Two million of the cost has already been paid for by the county, she added. The additions to the courthouse include a sally port garage for the sheriff’s office, larger commission room, jury or small hearing room and improved technology. The following offices will have space in the courthouse: Dunn County Social Services, public nurse, North Dakota State University Dunn County extension office, Dunn County Jobs Development Authority and the state’s attorney, Dolezal said.She added that next month courthouse officials will begin working out how to relocate offices. One of the best advantages of this new addition is the coming together of services since several of these offices are in Killdeer separated from similar services in Manning. “Citizens may come down here and it can be closer now, under one roof,” Dolezal said. There has been a shortage of space, she added. “Rather than fix something that’s not functional, the courthouse committee decided to have the services come together,” Dolezal said.