ON THE BALLOT Ward County residents will get the chance in November to vote on a proposed half-cent sales tax to be used for a new office building, expansion of the Ward County Jail, remodeling at the Ward County Courthouse and infrastructure needs. The estimated cost of the four project is $39.3 million. The sales tax would take effect Jan. 1, 2013, and end Dec. 31, 2022, unless all the needed funds were collected earlier.?The county has been down this road before. A request for funding for a new office building was rejected by voters a few years ago. Commissioners have discussed the idea of offering public tours of the courthouse to help interested voters get a firsthand look at the space needs. We would encourage voters to absolutely take advantage of those tours when they are offered. An up-close look at the crowded conditions inside the courthouse would be an eye-opener for some folks. Tours would show members of the public the county's real needs for additional space, both in the courthouse and in the jail. As we've said before, the commission has a daunting task ahead to convince the public to support such a massive, four-part project. But it can be done, and we'd encourage the commission and everyone else involved in these projects to provide as much information as possible and as much detail as possible as to where the money will be spent.
14th DUI? A West Fargo man was arrested on his 14th drunken driving charge recently, sparking new discussion of toughening North Dakota's laws against DUI. Kevin?Tegtmeier pleaded not guilty last week after being arrested last month with a blood-alcohol content of 0.25, well above the legal limit of 0.08. The state's toughest penalty against repeat DUI offenders is five years in prison and a $5,000 fine, but that only applies to offenders who have been convicted five times in seven years. At some point, habitual offenders like Tegtmeier have to spend time in jail, preferably before they are arrested for their 14th DUI. Let's hope the Legislature addresses this issue in?2013.