Progress was made during a Tuesday meeting discussing Ward County's space needs.
John Fjeldahl, chairman of the Ward County Commission, said they will probably be looking at a 1/2 cent sales tax to fund a new building and remodel the Ward County Courthouse. He said they were also advised by the Ward County State's Attorney to determine a funding amount the sales tax would raise and how long the tax would need to be levied if they were to go that route.
"I guess the principle thing was there was a consensus to, instead of funding this with property taxes, fund it with sales tax," Fjeldahl said. "Funding it out of property taxes, we're not going there."
It was also decided to further engage The Minot Daily News in talks about purchasing a parking lot across the street from the Ward County Courthouse for the new building. No progress has been made recently on that idea.
Fjeldahl said they were also advised to look at other alternatives that might provide more room to grow in the future.
"It was also recommended by our architect that if we're going to look at this more long-range, that we look at available properties in the area," Fjeldahl said. "Because we're pretty limited in space if we place a building on that lot; parking and future expansion if need be."
Fjeldahl said they were also cautioned not to limit the scope of their plans too much. He said the Williams County Sheriff talked during the meeting and said they funded their building with a sales tax and were extremely cautious on the size and scope of the project.
"They're already out of space," Fjeldahl said. "So he warned us against thinking that way. It was good to hear from him."
There will be another meeting on the project in a month. Fjeldahl said it is their goal to move quickly enough to get the issue on the November ballot for voters to decide.
"We'll have to move pretty fast, but hopefully we get stuff done," Fjeldahl said.