Minot-area water projects get hearing

Legislators take up flood control, NAWS

Screenshot Photo Minot Mayor Tom Ross testifies on a water bill containing funding for Souris River flood control before a Senate Appropriations subcommittee Thursday.

The proposed flood control project in the Minot region will protect residents and do it in the most efficient way possible, Minot Mayor Tom Ross told a legislative subcommittee Thursday.

The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Education and Environment took testimony on Senate Bill 2020, which includes funding for the Mouse River Enhanced Flood Protection Project and the Northwest Area Water Supply Project.

“We’re going to protect the residents and we’re going to be able to save the taxpayers state and local tax dollars with this plan –over $50 million,” Ross said. “We’re going to save property owners millions of dollars in flood insurance premiums.”

Ross told legislators that the local community is ready to handle the accelerated construction being proposed.

“I can say unequivocally with the construction companies we have on the ground in Minot right now, we’re ready. We’re shovel ready and we’re ready to get after it,” he said.

He added the city and Souris River Joint Board are confident the local dollars through city sales tax will be there for an accelerated project.

David Ashley, chairman of the joint board, said accelerating construction by designating $76 million in state funds each biennium would finish the flood protection project by 2035 at a cost of $640 million, or $47 million less than would be spent with the current pace of construction. The state would save $32 million.

The project could cut costs by $55 million and save the state $37 million under a scenario in which the Legislature approves a $100 million appropriation in the 2023-25 biennium, gradually reducing the appropriation to $63.6 million in the 2033-35 biennium.

“We’d like to get this done as quickly as possible and, ultimately, do it more economically,” Ashley said.

Sen. Ronald Sorvaag, R-Fargo, subcommittee chairman, said the committee has good options to discuss.

“We all realize with use of money, the more we can up-front, the lower the cost ends up on the back side,” he said. “It’s, obviously, whether the resources are there or not. But even the 76 (million dollars) all the way across is still a pretty desirable scenario.”

The subcommittee also heard from the Department of Water Resources about the $61 million request in state funds to continue NAWS. An additional $36 million in local dollars from Minot’s city sales tax and $25 million in federal dollars also would be anticipated.

Projects with those funds would include Snake Creek Pumping Plant intake modifications with intake structure and discharge pipeline; design for Phase II of the biota treatment plant; Phase III to expand production capacity at the Minot Water Treatment Plant from 18 million gallons a day to 27 million gallons a day; a reservoir and pump station by Souris; and booster pump stations at multiple locations.


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