Sunday, January 31, 2010

Taube Museum in Minot, North Dakota - Fundraiser

2 N. Main St. - Minot, ND 58703 - 701-838-4445 – taube@srt.com www.taubemuseum.org

For immediate release January 29, 2010


Fundraiser to support Artist Exhibitions

Soup It Up! at the Taube Museum of Art



(Minot, ND) The Taube Museum of Art in Minot will be hosting the third annual Soup It Up! fundraiser on Saturday, February 6, from 11:00 am – 1:00 pm.



What better way to spend a chilly Saturday than with friends surrounded by art and enjoying mouth-watering soups from Minot master chefs. The Taube Museum of Art can’t think of anything better either and for the price of a ticket the first 125 attendees will take home a hand crafted ceramic soup bowl created by the MSU Ceramics Department!



Master Chefs from 10 North Main, Primo’s, Badlands Grill House and Saloon, Roll ‘N Pin, and Ebeneezers are contributing their time and soup for this heartwarming event. Artisan breads are being provided by Marketplace Foods and desserts by volunteers.



Tickets are $10 for members and $15 for nonmembers. Not a member? Join by February 6 and receive a half price ticket! All proceeds support the Taube Museum of Art, a non-profit art organization. With the continuing support of the Minot community we are able to fulfill our mission of enriching lives through the visual arts.



Normal business hours are 10:30am – 5:30pm Tuesday through Friday and 11:00am – 4:00pm Saturday. Please call Nancy F. Brown, Executive Director at the Taube Museum of Art at 838-4445 for further information.







- END -





Nancy F. Brown
Executive Director, Taube Museum of Art
2 N. Main St., Minot, ND 58703
701-838-4445

Fax: 701-838-6471

www.taubemuseum.org

Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Federal Education Budget

Dear Education Stakeholders:



By now, I expect you’ve heard the good news. In his State of the Union address, President Obama called for the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) – “when” we reauthorize, not “if,” he emphasized – and, at a time when most government spending is frozen, the President proposed a significant increase in discretionary spending for education in his fiscal year 2011 budget.



The President’s budget continues and expands his commitment to provide a cradle-to-career education for all of America’s children. It provides a massive increase in student aid – $156 billion in fiscal year 2011, up from $98 billion in 2008. That’s enough to provide federal assistance to nearly 15 million students, or 3 out of 5 students currently enrolled in higher education. The budget also will make it easier for borrowers to repay their loans, lowering income-based repayments and cutting the length of their repayments.



In K-12 education, the President will propose a $4 billion increase, including the previously announced $1.35 billion request to make Race to the Top a permanent program. Of that increase, $1 billion would be made available through a budget amendment when Congress completes an ESEA reauthorization consistent with the President’s plan.



The budget also supports enactment of pending legislation that would provide $9.3 billion over 10 years for the Early Learning Challenge Fund, providing competitive grants to states that expand quality early learning experiences from birth through kindergarten entry.



Along with the increases, the budget will require us to work smarter and more efficiently. We expect to save billions by switching from the Federal Family Education Loan program to the Direct Loan program. In K-12 education, we will provide states and districts more flexibility by consolidating 38 programs into 11, and we will cut six programs that are ineffective or duplicative.



The budget will set the stage for ESEA reauthorization but there is still much more work ahead. With a bipartisan group of members of Congress, our goal is to develop an accountability system built on greater transparency, incentives and rewards, and a focus on turning around persistently underperforming schools.



We can’t wait to make these reforms. Right now, 25 percent of our students fail to graduate high school, and as many as 60 percent of college freshmen need remedial education. Millions of jobs are unfilled for lack of qualified applicants. The President and I know that we need to educate our way to a better economy. I am honored to be working with you to make it happen.



Sincerely,



/s/



Arne Duncan

Friday, January 29, 2010

Homeland Security Insider

Tips for info-sharing with local and tribal officials

The FBI and DHS need to better clarify what "suspicious activities" local and tribal officials in border communities are to report to federal law enforcement and state fusion agencies, and how to report them.

That was one of the central findings of a recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report to the House Committee on Homeland Security that studied information sharing among local and tribal officials in border communities, the Border Patrol, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the FBI and state fusion agencies. More


Can states' health care systems deal with an emergency 'surge'?

In a recent report to the Subcommittee on Management, Investigations, and Oversight, of the House Committee on Homeland Security, the Government Accountability Office looked into the capability of the nation's health care systems to "surge" after a terrorist attack, a pandemic or some other mass casualty event.

Specifically, GAO examined the "assistance the federal government had provided to help states prepare for medical surge and what states had done to prepare for medical surge." More


DHS designates foreign countries eligible for H-2A and H-2B visa programs

DHS has published its annual list of countries whose nationals may petition to enter the U.S. under H-2A and H-2B nonimmigrant status, in effect becoming legal guest workers. More



Summit Partners takes minority stake in NetWitness Corp.

Herndon, VA-based NetWitness Corp., the threat intelligence and network forensics specialist, reports that it has received an investment from Summit Partners, the Boston, MA-based equity firm.

The investment, says NetWitness, will be used to "fund additional technology acquisitions and other strategic initiatives related to the company's industry-leading network security technology." More


American Systems names new COO

Chantilly, VA-based American Systems, the government IT solutions provider, has promoted Peter Smith to chief operating officer. More


IceWEB MLP gets 100TB expansion

Sterling, VA-based IceWEB, Inc. has released modular data storage expansion packs for its multi-purpose lightweight portable (MLP) platform.

IceWEB reports that its MLP is being used around the world to assist in protecting communities against potential terrorist threats at such events as the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, the G8 Summit and the 2010 FIFA World Cup. More



---------------------------------------------------------------
Interested in sharing your expert commentary with our readers?
Click here for submission guidelines.






Forward e-mail

This email was sent to tseymour@nd.gov by gsn@gsnmagazine.com.
Update Profile/Email Address | Instant removal with SafeUnsubscribe™ | Privacy Policy. Email Marketing by


GSN: Government Security News | 233 Spring Street | 3rd Floor | New York | NY | 10013

Thursday, January 28, 2010

North Dakota Legislative Budget Section Minutes

NORTH DAKOTA LEGISLATIVE MANAGEMENT
Minutes of the
BUDGET SECTION
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Senate Chamber, State Capitol
Bismarck, North Dakota
Senator Ray Holmberg, Chairman, called the
meeting to order at 9:00 a.m.
Members present: Senators Ray Holmberg, Bill
Bowman, Randel Christmann, Tom Fischer, Tony S.
Grindberg, Ralph L. Kilzer, Karen K. Krebsbach,
Elroy N. Lindaas, Tim Mathern, Carolyn Nelson, David
O'Connell, Larry J. Robinson, Tom Seymour, Bob
Stenehjem, Rich Wardner, John Warner;
Representatives Larry Bellew, Rick Berg, Merle
Boucher, Al Carlson, Jeff Delzer, Mark A. Dosch,
Kathy Hawken, Lee Kaldor, Keith Kempenich, James
Kerzman, Matthew M. Klein, Gary Kreidt, Joe
Kroeber, Bob Martinson, Ralph Metcalf, Shirley
Meyer, David Monson, Jon Nelson, Chet Pollert, Bob
Skarphol, Ken Svedjan, Blair Thoreson, Don Vigesaa,
Francis J. Wald, Alon C. Wieland, Clark Williams
Members absent: Representatives Mary
Ekstrom, Eliot Glassheim, Kenton Onstad
Others present: Jim W. Smith, Legislative
Council, Bismarck
Arden C. Anderson, State Senator, Wahpeton
See attached appendix for additional persons
present.
It was moved by Senator Robinson, seconded
by Senator O’Connell, and carried on a voice vote
that the minutes of the September 15, 2009,
meeting be approved as distributed.
STATUS OF THE STATE GENERAL FUND
Chairman Holmberg called on Ms. Pam Sharp,
Director, Office of Management and Budget (OMB), to
present a report on the status of the general fund. A
copy of the information presented is on file in the
Legislative Council office.
Ms. Sharp said the consumer price index is
expected to decline by an average of .4 percent
during 2009 and then increase by 1.7 percent during
2010 and 1.8 percent during 2011. She said the
consumer price index for October 2009 was a
negative .2 percent, the eighth consecutive month of
decline. She said the average yield on a three-month
Treasury bill during the third quarter of 2009 was
.16 percent, one basis point lower than the previous
quarter and substantially lower than the 1.37 percent
average for 2008. She said North Dakota's
unemployment rate for October 2009 was 3.2 percent,
up slightly from the October 2008 rate of 2.4 percent
but down from the September 2009 rate of
3.4 percent. She said North Dakota oil production set
new records as it increased to 239,000 barrels per
day in October 2009. She said the average price for
North Dakota crude oil was $61 per barrel in August
2009, $59 per barrel in September 2009, and $67 per
barrel in October 2009. She said the current oil price
is $60 per barrel and the rig count is 72.
In response to a question from Senator Holmberg,
Ms. Sharp said current oil production of 239,000
barrels per day exceeds the production anticipated in
the legislative forecast. She said the legislative
forecast for the 2009-11 biennium anticipated oil
production would start at 205,000 barrels per day in
the beginning of the biennium and gradually increase
to 225,000 barrels per day by the end of the biennium.
She said the current oil price also exceeds the
legislative forecast which was anticipated to range
from $40 per barrel at the start of the biennium to
$55 per barrel by June 2011.
Ms. Sharp presented the following information on
the status of the state general fund for the 2009-11
biennium based on revenue collections through
November 2009:
Unobligated general fund
balance - July 1, 2009
$361,843,514
Add
General fund collections
through November 2009
$806,423,668
Forecasted general fund
revenue for the remainder of
the 2009-11 biennium
2,141,715,852
Total estimated general fund
revenue for the 2009-11
biennium
$2,948,139,520
Estimated general fund
turnback
2,263,883
Balance obligated for
authorized carryover from the
2007-09 biennium
76,383,530
Estimated total available $3,388,630,447
Less
2009-11 biennium general
fund ongoing appropriations
($2,970,380,754)
2009-11 biennium general
fund one-time appropriations
(278,984,727)
Balance obligated for
authorized carryover from the
2007-09 biennium
(76,383,530)
Estimated deficiency requests (3,823,000)
Total appropriations and
estimated deficiency requests
($3,329,572,011)
Estimated general fund
balance - June 30, 2011
$59,058,436
Budget Section 2 December 15, 2009
Ms. Sharp said the Information Technology
Department anticipates a general fund turnback of
$2.3 million relating to a contingent appropriation for a
longitudinal data system. She said the appropriation
will not be spent because the Information Technology
Department has secured federal funding through the
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009
(ARRA) for the statewide longitudinal data system
initiative.
In response to a question from Representative
Carlson, Ms. Sharp said the legislative forecast
estimated an ending general fund balance as of
June 30, 2011, of $29 million. She said the
anticipated increase in the June 2011 general fund
balance is largely due to an increase in the beginning
balance as of June 30, 2009, of approximately
$40 million.
Ms. Sharp presented the following information on
the status of the permanent oil tax trust fund for the
2009-11 biennium:
Beginning permanent oil tax trust fund balance -
July 1, 2009
$489,727,017
Add
Revenue collections through November 2009 19,550,231
Forecasted revenues for the 2009-11 biennium
(based on 2009 legislative forecast assumptions
for oil price and production)
323,092,000
Total estimated funds available for the 2009-11
biennium
$832,369,248
Less expenditures and transfers
Transfer to the general fund pursuant to
2009 HB 1015
($140,000,000)
Transfer to the general fund for the mill levy
reduction program pursuant to 2009 SB 2199
(295,000,000)
Transfer to the property tax relief sustainability
fund pursuant to 2009 SB 2199
(295,000,000)
Appropriations pursuant to 2009 HB 1015, 1305,
and 1394 and SB 2003 and 2020
(16,175,100)
Estimated permanent oil tax trust fund balance -
June 30, 2011
$86,194,148
Ms. Sharp said the general fund cap of $71 million
for oil and gas tax allocation was reached in
November 2009, and all additional oil and gas tax
collections allocated to the state for the 2009-11
biennium will be deposited in the permanent oil tax
trust fund. She said the budget stabilization fund
balance remains unchanged at $325 million.
Ms. Sharp presented information on general fund
revenue collections for November 2009 and the
2009-11 biennium to date. She said revenues
collected for the biennium to date are 4 percent more
than the legislative forecast. She said the increase is
primarily due to increases in oil and gas production
tax and oil extraction tax collections, which have
exceeded the biennium to date legislative forecast by
$10.6 million and $30.4 million, respectively. She said
biennium to date motor vehicle excise tax collections
have also exceeded estimates by $6.5 million, or
42.1 percent. She said sales tax collections for
November were 1.7 percent less than projections.
She said biennium to date sales tax collections were
$13 million, or 5.2 percent less than the legislative
forecast, but exceed 2007-09 biennium to date
collections by $31.2 million, or 15.2 percent. She said
insurance premium tax collections were $1.3 million
less than the legislative forecast for November and
$3 million less than forecast for the biennium to date.
She said insurance premium tax collections remitted
by Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota have been
less than estimated due to higher than expected
offsets for Comprehensive Health Association of North
Dakota premiums.
IRREGULARITIES IN THE FISCAL
PRACTICES OF THE STATE
Pursuant to North Dakota Century Code Section
54-14-03.1, Ms. Sharp presented information on
irregularities in the fiscal practices of the state. A
copy of the information presented is on file in the
Legislative Council office. She said the state
agencies with fiscal irregularities include:
Agency Amount Reason
Department of
Commerce
$1,575 Temporary additional workload for
internship program
Secretary of
State
$56,114 Operating line item - Services relating to
an information technology project were
provided by the contractor prior to the end
of the 2007-09 biennium and exceed the
amount appropriated for the biennium
resulting in a reduced amount that will be
paid in the 2009-11 biennium.
Secretary of
State
$70,654 General fund - Services relating to an
information technology project were
provided by the contractor prior to the end
of the 2007-09 biennium and exceed the
amount appropriated for the biennium
resulting in a reduced amount that will be
paid in the 2009-11 biennium.
In response to a question from Representative
Carlson, Ms. Sharp said current estimates of the
June 30, 2011, balances in the general fund
($59 million), the permanent oil tax trust fund
($86 million), and the budget stabilization fund
($325 million) total $470 million, compared to the
estimated $406 million June 30, 2011, balance in
these funds estimated at the close of the 2009
legislative session. She said the current estimate of
the June 2011 balance in the permanent oil tax trust
fund is based on the legislative forecast for oil price
and production and currently both price and
production exceed forecast assumptions. She said if
oil price and production remain at current levels, it
could result in an additional $150 million deposited in
the permanent oil tax trust fund by the end of the
biennium. She said the additional revenue could
increase the total of the estimated June 30, 2011,
balances of the general fund, the permanent oil tax
trust fund, and the budget stabilization fund to
approximately $620 million.
Representative Skarphol suggested the Budget
Section receive information on the amount of sales tax
collections resulting from oil-related activities.
Chairman Holmberg asked that the Tax Department
Budget Section 3 December 15, 2009
be invited to provide this information to the Budget
Section at future meetings.
AMERICAN RECOVERY AND
REINVESTMENT ACT OF 2009
Ms. Sheila Peterson, Director of Fiscal
Management, Office of Management and Budget,
presented information regarding ARRA, including
funding provided directly to political subdivisions,
funding available to the state that has not been
accepted, the use of $1.2 million of funds retained by
the Department of Commerce for the administration of
the state energy program, and funding provided for
programs in the 2009-11 biennium that agencies may
request funding from the general fund to continue in
the 2011-13 biennium. A copy of the information
presented is on file in the Legislative Council office.
Funding Not Accepted
Ms. Peterson said federal fiscal stimulus funding
available to the state that has not been accepted
includes unemployment compensation modernization
funding of $14.6 million available to Job Service North
Dakota; emergency unemployment compensation
administration funding of $27,666 also available to
Job Service North Dakota; and women, infants, and
children (WIC) miscellaneous technology project
funding of $85,690 available to the State Department
of Health. She said to become eligible for the
unemployment compensation modernization funding
of $14.6 million, the 2011 Legislative Assembly would
have to make certain changes to the state's
unemployment laws. She said Job Service North
Dakota will be submitting an Emergency Commission
request to accept and expend the emergency
unemployment compensation administration funding
of $27,666. She said timing of the award notice made
it impossible for the State Department of Health to use
$85,690 of the WIC miscellaneous technology project
funding available for software changes for the WIC
computer system.
Department of Commerce State Energy
Program Administration
Ms. Peterson said the Department of Commerce
will retain $1,219,500, or approximately 5 percent, of
the $24,585,000 state energy program grant award.
She said program regulations allow up to 10 percent
of the award to be used for administration. She said
any of the funds retained for administration that are
not spent for administrative costs will be redirected
and used to provide energy program grants. She
presented the following information regarding the use
of the $1.2 million retained by the Department of
Commerce for the administration of the state energy
program:
Budget Item Amount
Salaries and fringe benefits for existing staff $332,963
Salaries and fringe benefits for three temporary
full-time positions
470,412
Indirect cost charges for fiscal and
administrative support
401,970
Travel 11,250
Supplies 2,905
Total administrative expenses $1,219,500
ARRA Funding That Agencies May
Request General Fund Appropriations
to Continue in the 2011-13 Biennium
Ms. Peterson said four agencies received ARRA
funding for programs that may be continued in the
2011-13 biennium. She said the following agencies
received ARRA funding for the programs identified
and the funding listed represents the amount
necessary to continue the programs in the 2011-13
biennium:
Agency Amount Program
Attorney
General
$450,387 To continue three intelligence analyst
positions and one agent position
Department
of Human
Services
$66,500,000 To provide funding for the federal
medical assistance percentage
increase of 6.2 percent when the
increased federal match expires
December 31, 2010
Department
of Human
Services
$2,760,000 To provide funding for the temporarily
restored federal matching funds for
child support incentives
Adjutant
General
$25,000 To provide funding for utility costs of
the operations center facility in Fargo
constructed with ARRA funding
State
Department
of Health
$250,000 To continue a temporary position to
implement a health care-associated
infections plan. The department was
required to certify a health careassociated
infections plan that would
be developed to continue receiving
federal preventative health block
grant funding.
State
Department
of Health
$100,000 To provide a statewide immunization
conference and assist with ongoing
maintenance of the North Dakota
immunization information system
State
Department
of Health
$456,656 To provide patient designation
information, provide data exchange
between the North Dakota
immunization information system and
electronic medical records, and other
enhancements and maintenance of
the North Dakota immunization
information system
ARRA Funding Provided Directly
to Political Subdivisions
Ms. Peterson provided a listing of ARRA funding to
political subdivisions, including airports, cities,
counties, fire districts, housing authorities, nonprofit
organizations, private entities, school districts, state
agencies, tribes, and water districts. She said awards
total $584.4 million, of which $171 million has been
received through September 2009. She said a total of
Budget Section 4 December 15, 2009
978.33 jobs were reported as having been created or
retained by the recipients of the funding. A copy of
the information presented is on file in the Legislative
Council office.
In response to a question from Senator Holmberg,
Ms. Peterson said jobs reported were calculated
based on the federal Office of Management and
Budget formula.
Chairman Holmberg asked OMB to provide
updated ARRA funding information to the Budget
Section at future meetings.
In response to a question from Senator Holmberg,
Ms. Peterson said jobs created by recipient type may
be private or government because funds provided to a
government entity may result in private sector jobs if
the funding is used to contract with the private sector
for services.
In response to a question from Senator
Christmann, Ms. Peterson said the federal Office of
Management and Budget formula for determining the
number of jobs involves dividing the total number of
hours worked during the reporting period by the total
number of hours available in the reporting period.
In response to a question from Representative
Skarphol, Ms. Peterson said appropriations for the
Department of Transportation included $170 million
for highway infrastructure and $6 million for transit.
She anticipates ARRA funding will equal the amounts
appropriated. She said $92 million of this amount has
been contracted.
In response to a question from Senator Mathern,
Ms. Peterson said jobs reported relate to the funding
received and not the total grant award. She said as
more funding is received, the number of jobs should
increase.
In response to a question from Senator Stenehjem,
Ms. Peterson said based on the federal Office of
Management and Budget formula, overtime hours on
a federally funded project would increase the number
of jobs calculated.
In response to a question from Senator Stenehjem,
Ms. Peterson said the 978.33 jobs reported are all
temporary jobs resulting from ARRA funding. She
said when the available funding is spent, the jobs will
be discontinued unless another source of funding is
identified.
Representative Carlson expressed concern that
full-time equivalent (FTE) positions hired with ARRA
funding for purposes that the Legislative Assembly
may not have approved will be included in agencies'
budget requests for the 2011-13 biennium.
In response to a question from Representative
Monson, Ms. Peterson said some of the ARRA
funding will be spent on supplies and construction
materials. She said agencies could provide
information regarding the portion of ARRA funding
used for salaries and OMB could provide this
information to the Budget Section at future meetings.
In response to a question from Representative
Boucher, Ms. Peterson said the state and political
subdivisions were only to report direct jobs. She said
indirect jobs were calculated at the federal level by the
Council of Economic Advisers.
Representative Carlson requested OMB report to
the Budget Section periodically regarding the number
of state employees who have been employed using
federal stimulus funding. Chairman Holmberg asked
OMB to provide this information to the Budget Section
at future meetings.
In response to a question from Representative
Delzer, Ms. Peterson said representatives of
Economy.com do not expect inflation to increase
substantially in the next 12 to 18 months. She
believes Economy.com has considered the effect of
the federal stimulus funding in its forecasts.
JOB SERVICE NORTH DAKOTA
AMERICAN RECOVERY AND
REINVESTMENT ACT OF 2009
Ms. Maren Daley, Executive Director, Job Service
North Dakota, presented information regarding the
use of ARRA funds available to the state. Ms. Daley
said ARRA funding was provided to Job Service North
Dakota through existing programs. She said ARRA
grant awards totaled $9.1 million, of which $3.3 million
had been spent through October 2009. She said
through September 2009, Job Service North Dakota
had 4.72 temporary FTE employees related to ARRA
funding and 132.86 FTE employees took advantage of
summer youth employment funded with ARRA dollars
through the Workforce Investment Act. She said the
actual number of youth participating in the summer
youth employment program was over 600. A copy of
the information presented is on file in the Legislative
Council office.
Ms. Daley, responding to an earlier question from
Representative Boucher, said the unemployment rate
is based on the number of individuals working on the
12th of each month. She said North Dakota's
unemployment rate was 3.2 percent in October which
is typically the lowest unemployment month of the
year.
Ms. Daley said ARRA funding available to North
Dakota totals $14.6 million. She said to be eligible for
the funding, the Legislative Assembly must adopt an
alternate base period for calculating benefits and
change state law to include two of five expanded
benefit options. She said the additional federal
funding would cover the cost of the expanded benefits
for between three and five years, after which
unemployment taxes collected from employers would
need to provide the added benefits.
Ms. Daley said although North Dakota has a low
unemployment rate, it has experienced a significant
increase in unemployment benefits paid, from
$47.3 million in 2008 to $105 million in 2009.
In response to a question from Senator Mathern,
Ms. Daley said the ARRA funding of $14.6 million
would be available until 2011, but it may not be
accessed until required statutory changes are made
by the Legislative Assembly.
Budget Section 5 December 15, 2009
OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET
CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS PRELIMINARY
PLANNING REVOLVING FUND
Ms. Sharp presented information regarding a
request to use funds from the capital improvements
preliminary planning revolving fund for prepayment of
consulting and planning fees for proposed capital
improvements projects pursuant to Section 54-27-22.
A copy of the information presented is on file in the
Legislative Council office. She said funds are
available for studies, planning, architectural
programming, schematic designs, and cost estimates
relating to proposed new capital improvements and
major remodeling of existing facilities. She said
agencies, institutions, and departments interested in
obtaining planning funds must submit a written
request to OMB where the request is evaluated and
forwarded to the Budget Section with a
recommendation. She said the current balance of the
capital improvements preliminary planning revolving
fund is $203,000. She said requests total $168,500
and are as follows:
Agency Project
Estimated
Cost of the
Project
Preliminary
Planning
Request
OMB
Recommendation
OMB
Recommended
Funding Level
University of North Dakota Information technology facility $15,000,000 $93,500 Yes $93,500
State College of Science Old Main renovation $5,500,000 $55,000 Yes 55,000
Parks and Recreation
Department
Fort Stevenson Visitor
Services and Administrative
Offices Center
$800,000 $40,000 Yes 12,000
Parks and Recreation
Department
Grahams Island Visitor
Services and Administrative
Offices Center
$800,000 $40,000 Yes 01
Office of Management and
Budget - Facility Management
Division
Capitol grounds master
signage plan
$550,000 $12,000 Yes 8,000
Total recommended funding $168,500
1Recommended funding is included in the Fort Stevenson project recommendation.
Ms. Sharp said funds will be repaid to the capital
improvements preliminary planning revolving fund
when the project is approved and funds are
appropriated for the project. She said funds are not
repaid for projects that are considered but not
approved.
Representative Skarphol requested information
regarding the anticipated use of the areas that would
be vacated if the University of North Dakota
information technology facility project is approved.
Representative Delzer requested information on
the projects that have received funding from the
capital improvements preliminary planning revolving
fund, including the accuracy of the cost estimates and
whether the projects required additional funding after
the projects were approved. Chairman Holmberg
asked OMB to provide this information to the Budget
Section at a future meeting.
It was moved by Representative Wald,
seconded by Senator Robinson, and carried on a
roll call vote that the Budget Section, pursuant to
Section 54-27-22, approve the Office of
Management and Budget request to use $168,500
from the capital improvements preliminary
planning revolving fund for prepayment of
consulting and planning fees for proposed capital
improvements projects. Senators Holmberg,
Bowman, Christmann, Fischer, Grindberg, Kilzer,
Krebsbach, Lindaas, Mathern, Nelson, O'Connell,
Robinson, Seymour, Stenehjem, Wardner, and
Warner and Representatives Bellew, Berg, Boucher,
Carlson, Delzer, Dosch, Hawken, Kaldor, Kempenich,
Kerzman, Kreidt, Kroeber, Martinson, Metcalf, Meyer,
Monson, Nelson, Skarphol, Svedjan, Thoreson,
Vigesaa, Wald, Wieland, and Williams voted "aye."
No negative votes were cast.
UNIVERSITY OF NORTH DAKOTA -
ACCEPTANCE OF DONATED ASSET
Chairman Holmberg called on Mr. Rick Tonder,
Director of Campus Capital Projects and Planning,
University of North Dakota, to present information
regarding a request to accept a gift of $445,308 in
infrastructure improvements, including site
preparation, planning, utilities, and steamline, related
to the construction of a University of North Dakota
Alumni Center on the University of North Dakota
campus pursuant to Section 15-10-12.1. A copy of
the information presented is on file in the Legislative
Council office. Mr. Tonder said the work was
completed in anticipation of the construction of a new
alumni center on the campus of the University of
North Dakota and concurrently with the construction of
the president's house to minimize disruption of the
area around the president's house. He said the
infrastructure costs include site development
($99,500), steamline extension ($195,999), water and
sewer relocation ($50,000), and architect fees
($99,809).
In response to a question from Senator Grindberg,
Mr. Tonder said the site development costs relate to
soil quality in the area and include replacing a former
landfill with improved soils to support future
construction. He said the architect fees include
general site planning and center development.
Budget Section 6 December 15, 2009
In response to a question from Representative
Delzer, Mr. Tonder said the foundation will build and
maintain the alumni center. He said the estimated
construction cost has not yet been determined.
In response to a question from Senator
Christmann, Mr. Tonder said the funding for the
project has been secured and he is not aware of any
funding restrictions related to the gift.
In response to a question from Representative
Dosch, Mr. Tonder said he is certain there will be no
additional infrastructure costs related to this area.
In response to a question from Senator Mathern,
Mr. Tonder said the work relating to the $445,308 in
infrastructure improvements is completed.
Representative Boucher requested information on
the use of University of North Dakota and North
Dakota State University foundation funds for salary
enhancements, building projects, and scholarships.
Chairman Holmberg said the foundations would be
asked to provide this information to the Budget
Section at a future meeting.
In response to a question from Representative
Dosch, Mr. Tonder said it is the intent of the university
to seek State Board of Higher Education, Budget
Section, or legislative approval when required prior to
beginning a project. He said the university sought
State Board of Higher Education approval but did not
seek Budget Section approval because the total cost
was not expected to exceed the statutory minimum of
$385,000. He said the project was entirely financed
by private funds from the foundation.
It was moved by Representative Wald,
seconded by Senator Robinson, and carried on a
roll call vote that the Budget Section, pursuant to
Section 15-10-12.1, approve the University of
North Dakota request to accept a gift of $445,308
in infrastructure improvements, including site
preparation, planning, utilities, and steamline,
related to the construction of a University of North
Dakota Alumni Center. Senators Holmberg,
Bowman, Christmann, Fischer, Grindberg, Kilzer,
Krebsbach, Lindaas, Mathern, Nelson, O'Connell,
Robinson, Seymour, Stenehjem, Wardner, and
Warner and Representatives Bellew, Berg, Carlson,
Hawken, Kaldor, Kempenich, Kerzman, Klein, Kreidt,
Kroeber, Martinson, Metcalf, Meyer, Monson, Nelson,
Pollert, Skarphol, Svedjan, Thoreson, Vigesaa, Wald,
Wieland, and Williams voted "aye." Representatives
Boucher, Delzer, and Dosch voted "nay."
Representative Delzer expressed concern that
projects requiring Budget Section approval should be
considered by the Budget Section before construction
begins rather than when construction has been
completed.
In response to a question from Representative
Skarphol, the legislative budget analyst and auditor
said the State Board of Higher Education may
authorize improvements up to $385,000. He said
projects exceeding $385,000 must seek approval from
either the Legislative Assembly or Budget Section.
In response to a question from Representative
Skarphol, Mr. Tonder said there is a specific statute in
place that guides the selection of an architect for a
state-funded project. He said agencies are not
allowed to choose an architect based on fee. He said
agencies are required to select the architect and then
negotiate the fee.
Representative Skarphol expressed concern
regarding the statute relating to the selection of
architects for state-funded projects and suggested the
statute be reviewed for possible changes.
In response to a question from Representative
Monson regarding the effect of the Budget Section not
approving the acceptance of the $445,308 in
infrastructure improvements, the legislative budget
analyst and auditor said the statute relating to Budget
Section approval of improvements exceeding
$385,000 does not include a penalty.
UNIVERSITY OF NORTH DAKOTA -
ACCEPTANCE OF FEDERAL FUNDS
Chairman Holmberg called on Mr. Tonder to
present information regarding a request to accept and
spend $4 million of federal funds from the United
States Department of Energy to construct a "fuels of
the future" addition to the National Center for
Hydrogen Technology facility at the University of
North Dakota pursuant to Section 15-10-12.1. A copy
of the information presented is on file in the
Legislative Council office. He said the University of
North Dakota Energy and Environmental Research
Center has been awarded a $4 million grant for
construction of the addition. He said the approximate
size of the proposed addition will be between 15,000
and 20,000 square feet and will include traditional
laboratory space attached to a "high bay" research
development area that allows for the assembly of the
various experimental fuel production and energy
modules. He said the ongoing cost of maintenance
and operations will be paid by revenue generated by
the Energy and Environmental Research Center
through research contracts.
It was moved by Senator Mathern, seconded by
Senator Robinson, and carried on a roll call vote
that the Budget Section, pursuant to Section
15-10-12.1, approve the University of North Dakota
request to accept and spend $4 million of federal
funds from the United States Department of
Energy to construct a "fuels of the future" addition
to the National Center for Hydrogen Technology
facility at the University of North Dakota. Senators
Holmberg, Bowman, Christmann, Fischer, Grindberg,
Kilzer, Krebsbach, Lindaas, Mathern, Nelson,
O'Connell, Robinson, Seymour, Stenehjem, Wardner,
and Warner and Representatives Bellew, Berg,
Boucher, Carlson, Delzer, Dosch, Hawken, Kaldor,
Kempenich, Kerzman, Klein, Kreidt, Kroeber,
Martinson, Metcalf, Meyer, Monson, Nelson, Pollert,
Skarphol, Svedjan, Thoreson, Vigesaa, Wald,
Wieland, and Williams voted "aye." No negative votes
were cast.
Budget Section 7 December 15, 2009
WILLISTON STATE COLLEGE AND
MAYVILLE STATE UNIVERSITY
INCREASE IN AUTHORIZATION AND
CHANGE IN SCOPE OF PROJECTS
Williston State College
Dr. Ray Nadolny, President, Williston State
College, presented information regarding a request to
increase the authorization for construction of the
residence hall project from $9,375,000 to $9,875,000
pursuant to Section 48-01.2-25. Dr. Nadolny said the
increase in authorization is to replace the traditional
heating and cooling system for the project with a
geothermal system. He said the payback period of
the geothermal system is approximately eight years.
He said he anticipates funding for the increase to be
provided from grants and foundation loans.
Mayville State University
Mr. Steven Bensen, Vice President for Business
Affairs, Mayville State University, presented
information regarding a request to change the scope
of the Science Building and Byrnes Quanbeck Library
renovation/addition project pursuant to Section
48-01.2-25. A copy of the information presented is on
file in the Legislative Council office. Mr. Bensen said
the project consists of three components, including an
education addition, a science/library renovation, and
the demolition of East Hall and West Hall. He said the
change requested will increase the education addition
from 12,245 square feet to 13,915 square feet. He
said the increase will add one classroom and office
space for science faculty to the education addition
without increasing the approved funding level of
$4,958,325.
In response to a question from Senator Stenehjem,
Mr. Bensen said the Science Building and Byrnes
Quanbeck Library renovation/addition project is
expected to be bid in February 2010. He said if the
bids exceed the approved funding, the university may
remove up to one additional classroom and two
offices. He said the project includes $400,000 of
contingency funding.
It was moved by Senator Robinson, seconded
by Senator Seymour, and carried on a roll call vote
that the Budget Section, pursuant to Section
48-01.2-25, approve the Williston State College
request to increase the authorization for
construction of the residence hall project from
$9,375,000 to $9,875,000 and the Mayville State
University request to increase the square footage
of the Science Building and Byrnes Quanbeck
Library renovation/addition project. Senators
Holmberg, Bowman, Christmann, Fischer, Grindberg,
Kilzer, Krebsbach, Lindaas, Mathern, Nelson,
O'Connell, Robinson, Seymour, Stenehjem, Wardner,
and Warner and Representatives Bellew, Berg,
Boucher, Carlson, Delzer, Dosch, Hawken, Kaldor,
Kempenich, Kerzman, Klein, Kreidt, Kroeber,
Martinson, Metcalf, Meyer, Monson, Nelson, Pollert,
Skarphol, Svedjan, Thoreson, Vigesaa, Wald,
Wieland, and Williams voted "aye." No negative votes
were cast.
Williston State College
Dr. Nadolny presented information regarding a
request to use capital project funds of up to $200,000
from the residence hall project, the science laboratory
renovation project, and the virtual center for career
and technical education project authorized by the
2009 Legislative Assembly to hire a temporary
Williston State College employee to manage
construction projects pursuant to Section 48-01.2-25.
Representative Carlson expressed concern
regarding the hiring of an employee and suggested
the college contract for the services of a construction
manager.
In response to a question from Representative
Skarphol, Dr. Nadolny said because the economy in
Williston is thriving, it may be difficult to contract with a
private entity for the construction manager services.
He said currently a science faculty member is
managing the science laboratory renovation project,
the athletic director is managing the residence hall
project, and a humanities faculty member is managing
the virtual center for career and technical education
project.
It was moved by Representative Carlson,
seconded by Representative Berg, and carried on
a roll call vote that the Budget Section, pursuant
to Section 48-01.2-25, approve the Williston State
College request to use capital project funds of up
to $200,000 from the residence hall project, the
science laboratory renovation project, and the
virtual center for career and technical education
project authorized by the 2009 Legislative
Assembly to contract for a construction project
manager. Senators Holmberg, Bowman, Christmann,
Fischer, Grindberg, Kilzer, Krebsbach, Lindaas,
O'Connell, Seymour, Stenehjem, Wardner, and
Warner and Representatives Bellew, Berg, Carlson,
Delzer, Dosch, Hawken, Kempenich, Klein, Kreidt,
Martinson, Meyer, Monson, Nelson, Pollert, Skarphol,
Svedjan, Thoreson, Vigesaa, Wald, Wieland, and
Williams voted "aye." Senators Mathern, Nelson, and
Robinson and Representatives Boucher, Kaldor,
Kerzman, Kroeber, and Metcalf voted "nay."
UNIVERSITY OF NORTH DAKOTA -
INCREASE IN AUTHORIZATION
Ms. Alice Brekke, Vice President for Finance and
Operations, University of North Dakota, presented a
request to increase the project authorization for the
new president's house from $900,000 to $1,262,705
pursuant to Section 48-01.2-25. A copy of the
information presented is on file in the Legislative
Council office. Ms. Brekke provided information
regarding cost details of the presidents' houses at the
University of North Dakota and North Dakota State
University compiled from information provided to the
North Dakota University System office by the
campuses. She said construction of the home totaled
$919,575, but additional costs for landscaping,
Budget Section 8 December 15, 2009
driveway, patio, furniture, appliances, cabinetry,
security systems, and allocated costs for site work
and infrastructure increased the total cost to
$1,262,705. She said all of the costs have been paid
by the foundation.
Ms. Brekke provided information regarding the
president's transitional living costs related to the
construction of the president's house. She said
transitional living costs totaled $52,926, of which
$2,565 was paid by the institution with the remainder
paid by the foundation.
It was moved by Representative Svedjan,
seconded by Representative Wald, and carried on
a roll call vote that the Budget Section, pursuant
to Section 48-01.2-25, approve the University of
North Dakota request to increase the project
authorization for the new president's house from
$900,000 to $1,262,705. Senators Holmberg,
Bowman, Fischer, Grindberg, Kilzer, Krebsbach,
Lindaas, Mathern, Nelson, O'Connell, Robinson,
Seymour, Wardner, and Warner and Representatives
Berg, Carlson, Hawken, Kaldor, Kempenich,
Kerzman, Klein, Martinson, Metcalf, Monson, Nelson,
Svedjan, Wald, and Williams voted "aye." Senators
Christmann and Stenehjem and Representatives
Bellew, Boucher, Delzer, Dosch, Kreidt, Kroeber,
Meyer, Pollert, Skarphol, Thoreson, Vigesaa, and
Wieland voted "nay."
NORTH DAKOTA STATE UNIVERSITY -
INCREASE IN AUTHORIZATION
Mr. Jim Miller, Executive Director, North Dakota
State University Development Foundation and Alumni
Association, presented information regarding a
request to increase the project authorization for the
new president's house from $900,000 to $2,039,522
pursuant to Section 48-01.2-25. A copy of the
information presented is on file in the Legislative
Council office. Mr. Miller said construction of the
home totaled $1,366,372, but additional costs for
landscaping, parking, concrete, exterior lighting,
surveillance, furniture, appliances, and allocated costs
for site work increased the total cost to $2,079,283.
He said the foundation provided $1,877,687 of the
cost and the institution provided the balance of
$201,596 from parking reserves, telecommunications
income, and miscellaneous income.
Mr. Miller provided information regarding the
president's transitional living costs related to the
construction of the president's house. He said
transitional living costs totaled $89,682, of which
$57,933 was paid by the institution with the remainder
paid by the foundation.
Mr. Bruce Frantz, Director of Facilities
Management, North Dakota State University, said the
university supported the project by completing work,
including landscaping, sidewalks, and parking.
Mr. Frantz said no funding from the institution was
provided for the construction of the president's house;
however, institution funds were used to provide for
improvements outside of the president's house.
In response to a question from Representative
Monson, Mr. Miller said the value of donated services
for architectural design, construction management,
site preparation, construction, and landscape architect
services totaling $372,355 is not included in the
$2,079,283 project total.
In response to a question from Representative
Skarphol, Mr. Miller said the State Board of Higher
Education has approved the expenditures related to
the president's house by both the foundation and the
institution.
In response to a question from Senator
Christmann, Mr. Miller said the acceptance of in-kind
donations did not result in construction decisions that
added cost to the project.
In response to a question from Representative
Klein, Mr. Frantz said the concrete work totaling
$186,593 included a parking lot, sidewalks, driveway,
and patio and was competitively bid.
In response to a question from Senator Mathern,
Ms. Laura Glatt, Vice Chancellor for Administrative
Affairs, North Dakota University System, said the total
cost of the project includes $2,079,283 of actual
expenditures and $372,355 of gifts in kind, or
$2,451,638.
Senator Bowman expressed concern regarding the
project substantially exceeding the $900,000
previously approved.
In response to a question from Representative
Wald, the legislative budget analyst and auditor said
the State Board of Higher Education is requesting
Budget Section approval under Section 48-01.2-25
relating to the acceptance of gifts. He said the section
does not include a penalty for noncompliance. He
said that if the Budget Section does not approve the
request, a subsequent audit of the institution may
include a finding of noncompliance with state statute.
In response to a question from Representative
Kaldor, Ms. Glatt said the State Board of Higher
Education has made two policy changes to address
the issue of donated assets. She said the State
Board of Higher Education has adopted a detailed list
of costs that must be included in the total cost of a
project, unless it is expressly excluded. In addition,
she said the State Board of Higher Education has
adopted a policy requiring gift funds to be turned over
to the institution and projects to be managed by the
institution.
In response to a question from Representative
Carlson, Mr. Miller said all of the bills relating to the
president's house have been paid.
In response to a question from Senator Mathern,
Chairman Holmberg said the total cost to be approved
would be $2,451,638, including the in-kind donation of
services.
Representative Dosch expressed concern
regarding the mismanagement of the president's
house construction project by an institution that
teaches architecture, architectural management,
construction management, business management,
accounting, and engineering.
Budget Section 9 December 15, 2009
In response to a question from Representative
Martinson, Mr. Miller said because of the project's
accelerated timeline, some changes were made
without being reviewed by the construction committee.
He said any member of the committee could
communicate the change to the contractor.
In response to a question from Representative
Berg, Mr. Miller said the foundation no longer plans to
be involved in construction projects.
Representative Skarphol requested the North
Dakota University System office provide a more
detailed comparison of the costs of the presidents'
houses and related improvements at the University of
North Dakota and North Dakota State University and
that the details be presented in the same format for
both projects.
Representative Williams expressed concern that
North Dakotans are upset with the mismanagement of
the president's house project.
In response to a question from Representative
Nelson, Ms. Glatt said institutional funds spent on the
project include parking reserves ($6,641),
telecommunications income ($87,375), and
miscellaneous revenues ($107,580). She said
miscellaneous revenues are derived primarily from
soda revenues and interest income. She said the only
funding provided by student fees would be the parking
reserves which include fees charged to students,
faculty, and staff.
It was moved by Representative Berg and
seconded by Representative Nelson that the
Budget Section, pursuant to Section 48-01.2-25,
approve the North Dakota State University request
to increase the project authorization for the new
president's house from $900,000 to $2,451,638.
Senators Holmberg, Fischer, Grindberg, Krebsbach,
Mathern, Nelson, Seymour, and Wardner and
Representatives Berg, Carlson, Hawken, and Klein
voted "aye." Senators Bowman, Christmann, Kilzer,
Lindaas, O'Connell, Stenehjem, and Warner and
Representatives Bellew, Boucher, Delzer, Dosch,
Kaldor, Kempenich, Kerzman, Kreidt, Martinson,
Metcalf, Meyer, Monson, Nelson, Pollert, Skarphol,
Svedjan, Thoreson, Vigesaa, Wald, Wieland, and
Williams voted "nay." The motion failed.
Representative Carlson expressed concern with
the inconsistency of the Budget Section approving the
request of one institution but failing to approve the
other similar request.
It was moved by Senator Mathern and
seconded by Senator Seymour that the Budget
Section, pursuant to Section 48-01.2-25, approve
the North Dakota State University request to
increase the project authorization for the new
president's house from $900,000 to $2,451,638 and
to require the project be financed entirely by
private funds. Senators Mathern and Seymour and
Representative Klein voted "aye." Senators
Holmberg, Bowman, Christmann, Fischer, Grindberg,
Kilzer, Krebsbach, Lindaas, Nelson, O'Connell,
Stenehjem, Wardner, and Warner and
Representatives Bellew, Berg, Boucher, Carlson,
Delzer, Dosch, Hawken, Kaldor, Kempenich,
Kerzman, Kreidt, Martinson, Metcalf, Meyer, Monson,
Nelson, Pollert, Skarphol, Svedjan, Thoreson,
Vigesaa, Wald, Wieland, and Williams voted "nay."
The motion failed.
The Budget Section recessed for lunch at
1:10 p.m. and reconvened at 1:55 p.m.
AGENCY REQUESTS AUTHORIZED BY
THE EMERGENCY COMMISSION
Chairman Holmberg directed the committee to
consider agency requests, which have been
authorized by the Emergency Commission and
forwarded to the Budget Section, pursuant to Section
54-16-04.1. The information relating to the requests
was provided to Budget Section members prior to the
meeting and is on file in the Legislative Council office.
It was moved by Representative Thoreson,
seconded by Representative Kreidt, and carried
on a roll call vote that pursuant to Section
54-16-04.1 the Budget Section approve the
following requests, which have been approved by
the Emergency Commission:
• Public Service Commission
(Request #1711) - The request is to increase
spending authority by $766,350 of federal
funds from the United States Department of
Energy under the American Recovery and
Reinvestment Act of 2009 relating to the
regulation and oversight of transmission
and generation infrastructure, to provide
training to agency personnel, and for three
temporary positions.
• Information Technology Department
(Request #1716) - The request is to increase
spending authority by $2 million of federal
funds from the National Telecommunications
and Information Administration
for operating expenses for a comprehensive
assessment of broadband availability and
demand within the state.
• Information Technology Department
(Request #1717) - The request is to increase
spending authority by $1 million of federal
funds from the United States Department of
Transportation and the United States
Department of Commerce for the operating
expenses line item ($500,000) and the
capital assets line item ($500,000) for
implementation of enhanced 911 services by
the Emergency Services Communications
Coordinating Committee.
• Information Technology Department
(Request #1718) - The request is to increase
spending authority by $10 million of federal
funds from the United States Department of
Education, Institute of Education Sciences,
for the Statewide Longitudinal Data System
Initiative.
• State Department of Health
(Request #1719) - The request is to increase
Budget Section 10 December 15, 2009
spending authority by $7,076,990 of federal
funds from the American Recovery and
Reinvestment Act of 2009 for arsenic
trioxide grants ($6,800,000), ambulatory
surgical center surveys ($18,685), a
temporary employee to coordinate and
implement state health care-associated
infection prevention efforts ($201,830), and
for a grant to the University of North Dakota
School of Medicine and Health Sciences
Center for Rural Health to increase the
number of health care professionals in
underserved areas of the state ($56,475).
Senators Holmberg, Bowman, Fischer, Kilzer,
Krebsbach, Lindaas, Mathern, Nelson, O'Connell,
Seymour, Wardner, and Warner and Representatives
Bellew, Boucher, Carlson, Delzer, Dosch, Hawken,
Kaldor, Kempenich, Kreidt, Martinson, Meyer,
Monson, Nelson, Pollert, Skarphol, Svedjan,
Thoreson, Vigesaa, Wald, and Wieland voted "aye."
No negative votes were cast.
Ms. Carol K. Olson, Executive Director,
Department of Human Services, presented
information regarding an Emergency Commission
request to increase special funds spending authority
by $202,771 to accept federal funds from the United
States Department of Health and Human Services,
Administration on Aging, for the salaries and wages
line item ($19,579) and the operating expenses line
item ($183,192) for implementation of an aging and
disability resource center pilot project in the Bismarck
region. Ms. Olson said key partners include the
Burleigh County Council on Aging, the Dakota Center
for Independent Living, the Insurance Department,
and county social services offices. She said the
salaries and wages increase will provide for existing
staff costs for time spent administering the grant and
the operating expenses increase will be used to
contract for the necessary resources to coordinate the
services in the community. A copy of the information
presented is on file in the Legislative Council office.
In response to a question from Representative
Pollert, Ms. Olson said this program will not extend to
every county, and it will not duplicate services
provided by county social services. She said the
program is to coordinate services and provide
efficiencies.
Representative Svedjan said the 2009 Legislative
Assembly did not approve the executive
recommendation to provide $600,000 from the
general fund for an aging and disability resource
center pilot project. He said the federal grant would
provide funding for only a three-year period. He
expressed concerning regarding the source of future
funding for this center.
It was moved by Senator Mathern, seconded by
Senator Seymour, and carried on a roll call vote
that pursuant to Section 54-16-04.1 the Budget
Section approve the following request, which has
been approved by the Emergency Commission:
• Department of Human Services
(Request #1720) - The request is to increase
special funds spending authority by
$202,771 to accept federal funds from the
United States Department of Health and
Human Services, Administration on Aging,
for the salaries and wages line item
($19,579) and the operating expenses line
item ($183,192) for implementation of an
aging and disability resource center pilot
project in the Bismarck region.
Senators Holmberg, Fischer, Kilzer, Krebsbach,
Lindaas, Mathern, Nelson, O'Connell, Seymour,
Wardner, and Warner and Representatives Boucher,
Carlson, Hawken, Kaldor, Kerzman, Martinson,
Metcalf, and Meyer voted "aye." Senator Bowman
and Representatives Bellew, Delzer, Dosch,
Kempenich, Klein, Kreidt, Monson, Nelson, Pollert,
Skarphol, Svedjan, Thoreson, Vigesaa, Wald, and
Wieland voted "nay."
AGRICULTURE COMMISSIONER
Additional Office Space
Mr. Ken Junkert, Director, Administrative Services
Division, Agriculture Department, presented
information regarding a request for Budget Section
approval to lease additional office space pursuant to
Section 8 of 2009 House Bill No. 1009. A copy of the
information presented is on file in the Legislative
Council office. Mr. Junkert said the 2009 Legislative
Assembly provided $120,000 from the general fund to
the Agriculture Commissioner for additional office
space, subject to Budget Section approval. He said
the department's current office space in the Capitol is
overcrowded and lacks laboratory facilities. He said
under the proposal, two divisions and up to 12 FTE
positions would be relocated into leased space. He
said lease rates range from $13 to $18 per square
foot.
It was moved by Representative Klein,
seconded by Representative Monson, and carried
on a roll call vote that pursuant to Section 8 of
2009 House Bill No. 1009 the Budget Section
approve the Agriculture Commissioner's request
to lease additional office space. Senators
Holmberg, Bowman, Fischer, Kilzer, Krebsbach,
Lindaas, Mathern, Nelson, Seymour, Wardner, and
Warner and Representatives Bellew, Boucher,
Carlson, Delzer, Dosch, Hawken, Kaldor, Kempenich,
Kerzman, Klein, Kreidt, Martinson, Metcalf, Meyer,
Monson, Pollert, Thoreson, Vigesaa, Wald, and
Wieland voted "aye." Representatives Skarphol and
Svedjan voted "nay."
2009 NORTH DAKOTA FINANCE FACTS
At the request of Chairman Holmberg, the
legislative budget analyst and auditor presented the
Legislative Council report entitled 2009 North Dakota
Finance Facts, a pocket brochure prepared pursuant
to 2009 House Concurrent Resolution No. 3036. He
said the publication includes information regarding
economic statistics, the state budget, kindergarten
through grade 12 education, higher education, human
services, corrections, economic development, and
Budget Section 11 December 15, 2009
transportation. He said generally information is
provided for the last five years. He said the resolution
requires the brochure to be published annually.
DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES
Status of Medicaid Management
Information System
Ms. Jennifer Witham, Director, Information
Technology Services, Department of Human Services,
presented information regarding the status of the
Medicaid management information system project and
the cost of change orders and whether they are
attributable to federal law changes or state requests.
A copy of the information presented is on file in the
Legislative Council office. Ms. Witham said the
revised completion date for the project is April 2011.
She said the vendor--Affiliated Computer Services
(ACS)--delivered the detailed project workplan for the
revised schedule to the department in October 2009.
She said the project team has completed a review of
the plan and is in the process of final negotiations.
She said at this time, the department does not
anticipate the delay will result in any additional cost to
the state. She said the project team has executed two
change orders that have been approved by the federal
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. She
said one change order represented the addition of a
management and administrative reporting function
required for federal reporting and the other change
order was the transfer of responsibility for the data
conversion activities from the Information Technology
Department to ACS. She said all approved change
orders have been within the budget for the project.
Ms. Witham provided the following project funding
summary through November 2009:
Description Budget
Spent
Through
November
2009 Remaining
General fund $3,643,133 $2,647,675 $995,458
Federal funds 55,218,418 30,016,239 25,202,179
Other funds 3,667,820 1,318,452 2,349,368
Total $62,529,371 $33,982,366 $28,547,005
In response to a question from Senator Mathern,
Ms. Witham said approximately 20 percent of the
project contract amount is withheld pending Centers
for Medicare and Medicaid Services approval and
certification.
In response to a question from Representative
Skarphol, Ms. Witham said ACS has been purchased
by the Xerox Corporation and the Department of
Human Services has been assured the purchase will
not affect the contract or the project.
In response to a question from Representative
Nelson, Ms. Witham said the number of outstanding
Medicaid claims has recently been as low as 30,000
claims. She said due to a problem with the
processing of Medicare crossover claims, the backlog
has now increased to approximately 50,000 claims.
Representative Nelson requested the department
include information regarding the backlog of Medicaid
claims in the department's future reports to the Budget
Section. Chairman Holmberg asked the Department
of Human Services to provide this information to the
Budget Section at future meetings.
PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION STATUS
OF THE METROLOGY PROGRAM
Mr. Kevin Cramer, Commissioner, Public Service
Commission, presented information regarding a report
on the status of the metrology program transition from
a public to a private service pursuant to Section 3 of
2009 House Bill No. 1008. A copy of the report is on
file in the Legislative Council office. Mr. Cramer said
the metrology laboratory will cease operations by
June 30, 2010. He said a letter notifying all metrology
customers of the closure was sent in June 2009. He
said the commission continues to seek an alternative
metrology provider and is exploring possibilities that
include a private laboratory in the eastern part of the
state or a regional laboratory in association with the
state of South Dakota.
HIGHWAY PATROL
COMMERCIAL VEHICLE INFORMATION
SYSTEMS AND NETWORKS
Colonel James Prochniak, Superintendent,
Highway Patrol, presented information regarding the
status of implementation of the commercial vehicle
information systems and networks pursuant to 2009
Senate Bill No. 2011. A copy of the report is on file in
the Legislative Council office. Colonel Prochniak said
the commercial vehicle information systems and
networks is a collection of information systems and
communication networks that support commercial
vehicle operations and is managed by the Federal
Motor Carrier Safety Administration. He said the
commercial vehicle information systems and networks
program provides a framework that enables state and
federal government agencies, the motor carrier
industry, and other parties engaged in commercial
vehicle operations safety assurance and regulation to
exchange and use information to improve safety and
security and to conduct business transactions
electronically. He said the 2009 Legislative Assembly
directed the Highway Patrol to proceed with the
implementation of the commercial vehicle information
exchange window system, including preparations
necessary to allow for the automated issuance of
highway permits, and provided $100,000 from the
general fund to complete the initial implementation
process. He said a request for proposal was issued
and McFarland Management of Boise, Idaho, in
association with Iteris, Inc., was awarded the contract
for the commercial vehicle information systems and
networks study. He said the contract was awarded for
$80,595, $6,000 was spent on advertising the project,
and the remaining $13,405 will not be spent.
Budget Section 12 December 15, 2009
EMERGENCY DISASTER
RELIEF GRANTS
Chairman Holmberg called on Major General David
Sprynczynatyk, Adjutant General, to provide
information regarding emergency disaster relief grants
awarded to political subdivisions pursuant to 2009
Senate Bill No. 2012. A copy of the report is on file in
the Legislative Council office. Major General
Sprynczynatyk said the current estimate of the total
cost of the 2009 flood disaster is approximately
$185 million, of which the federal share is
$168 million, the state share is $11 million, and the
local share is $6 million. He said the costs include
flood response ($71 million), public assistance
($65 million), mitigation ($23 million), individual
assistance ($8 million), and small business loans
($18 million). He said the 3 percent local share of
public assistance costs is expected to total
$1.5 million. He said emergency disaster relief grants,
also 3 percent, should eventually match that total, but
through December 11, 2009, a total of $313,225 has
been spent.
TOBACCO PREVENTION
AND CONTROL COMMITTEE
Chairman Holmberg called on Ms. Kathleen
Mangskau, Chairman, Tobacco Prevention and
Control Executive Committee, to present information
regarding the implementation of the comprehensive
tobacco prevention and control plan pursuant to
2009 House Bill No. 1015. A copy of the information
is on file in the Legislative Council office.
Ms. Mangskau said through December 10, 2009, the
Tobacco Prevention and Control Executive Committee
spent $890,941 of its 2009-11 biennium appropriation,
including $851,129 for grants to local public health
units. She said grant programs include tobacco state
aid grants ($470,000 per year) to assist local public
health units in implementing public health service
guidelines relating to tobacco use and tobacco
prevention grants ($3 million for fiscal year 2009-10)
to assist local public health units and cooperating
public health units in implementing their workplans
regarding tobacco-free school districts and college
campuses, cessation services, and secondhand
smoke. She said Ms. Jeanne Prom was hired to fill
the executive director position and began in
October 2009. She said the executive committee is
working with the State Department of Health on a
memorandum of agreement for the coordination of
services.
VETERANS' HOME REPORT
Chairman Holmberg announced that the
Legislative Council staff distributed to each member a
written summary report from the Veterans' Home
project manager regarding the status of the Veterans'
Home construction project pursuant to 2009 Senate
Bill No. 2007. A copy of the report is on file in the
Legislative Council office.
COMMITTEE DISCUSSION
AND STAFF DIRECTIVES
Representative Meyer requested Legislative
Council staff provide a report regarding the oil and gas
revenue generated by the Indian oil compact,
including revenues relating to fee land and tribal trust
land. In addition, Representative Meyer requested
Legislative Council staff provide information regarding
whether the compact and the state are following the
directives of the 2007 Legislative Assembly as
provided in Senate Bill No. 2419, including "hold
harmless" provisions relating to the counties and
whether the tribes could impose a tax and siting fee.
Chairman Holmberg announced the next meeting
of the Budget Section is tentatively scheduled for
Thursday, March 11, 2010.
It was moved by Senator Seymour, seconded
by Senator Nelson, and carried on a voice vote
that the Budget Section meeting be adjourned
subject to the call of the chair.
Chairman Holmberg adjourned the meeting at
3:07 p.m.
___________________________________________
Sheila M. Sandness
Fiscal Analyst
___________________________________________
Allen H. Knudson
Legislative Budget Analyst and Auditor
ATTACH:1

Online Enrollment is up 17%

News
Online Enrollment Up 17%
January 27, 2010

Fall 2008 online enrollments were up 17 percent from a year before, with about 4.6 million students taking at least one class online, according to the 2009 Sloan Survey of Online Learning.

With all higher education enrollments increasing only by 1.2 percent for the same time period, the share of students taking at least one course online reached 25.3 percent. As recently as fall 2002, not even 10 percent of students were taking at least one course online. The data reflect nearly 4,500 colleges and universities, with information gathered by the Babson Survey Research Group and by the College Board, and supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

While the trends outlined in the survey are clearly positive for advocates of online learning, they also point to lingering challenges. A survey of chief academic officers indicated the growth in online enrollments has not been matched by consistent training programs so faculty members can learn how to teach virtually, and that many of these officers doubt that their faculties truly respect online learning.

The doubts appear to be greatest at private nonprofit institutions and least in for-profit higher education. (While this survey relied on chief academic officers to evaluate faculty attitudes, other surveys -- that have asked professors directly -- have found faculty doubts about online education, especially about whether institutions are serious about providing support for those engaged in it.)

Here are the numbers on enrollment growth, with online enrollment referring to every student who takes at least one course online.

Growing Online Enrollments, Fall 2002 to Fall 2008

Year
Online Enrollment
% Increase From Previous Year
Online Enrollment
as % of Total Enrollment

2002
1,602,970
n/a
9.6%

2003
1,971,397
23.0%
11.7%

2004
2,329,783
18.2%
13.5%

2005
3,180,050
36.5%
18.2%

2006
3,488,381
9.7%
19.6%

2007
3,938,111
12.9%
21.9%

2008
4,606,353
16.9%
25.3%


Despite that growth, the study also found that there is no assurance that faculty members are being trained to teach online.

In the survey of chief academic officers, they were asked (for the first time in the Sloan study) whether they provide training to those teaching online, and 19 percent said that they do not provide any training. Of the remaining institutions, many provide training in multiple forms, including internal training courses (at 65 percent of institutions) and informal mentoring (at 59 percent).

The chief academic officers were also asked whether their faculty accept "the value and legitimacy" of online education, and the results suggest something short of a strong endorsement of virtual learning. In the fall of 2009, only 30.9 percent of chief academic officers said that their faculty members do have such respect for online learning, while 51.8 percent were neutral and 17.3 percent disagreed. When asked two years earlier, a larger share of the chief academic officers (33.5 percent) agreed that their faculty members accepted online learning and a smaller share (14.6 percent) disagreed.

The Sloan report asks of this drop: "Does this recent drop indicate that the upward pressure to offer more online courses and programs that these institutions are experiencing is leading to increased ‘push back’ among their faculty? Future studies will need to track these results, paying particular attention to any possible relationship of perceived faculty acceptance to the rate of growth of online offerings at the institution."

The overall numbers of chief academic officers who believe their faculty endorse online learning would be lower if it were not for community colleges and for-profit higher education.

Percentage of Chief Academic Officers Reporting Their Faculty Accept 'Value and Legitimacy' of Online Learning

By Control


--Public
35.7%

--Private nonprofit
19.2%

--For-profit
44.9%

By Sector


--Doctoral
20.0%

--Master's
20.2%

--Baccalaureate
11.1%

--Associate
44.4%

--Specialized
25.7%


— Scott Jaschik

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Information from Minot State University - North Dakota

Jan. 27, 2010: Inside



The Jan. 27, 2010, edition of Inside, a newsletter for employees and friends of Minot State University, is attached at the following link:

Inside_Jan._27_2010.pdf





The stories contained include:
PIO update
New faculty and staff aboard for 2009-2010
Devils Lake sophomore performs at MSO family concert Saturday evening
Minot State class cancellation/campus closure/delayed opening policy outlined
Faiths Explored series resumes for spring semester
Timbrook traces early MSU history
Life Skill workshops start for spring semester
MSU financial aid office to conduct information session Feb. 6
Engagement Fair begins Diversity Week
Winter Week 2010 livens up the campus
Nominations for BOR faculty and staff achievement awards due March 1
MSU's Morrow to edit major work
MSU students assist NDCPD in video production
Student Ambassadors visit Washington, D.C.
Wellness works
Assistance with the college financial aid process available to North Dakotans
Faculty, staff and student notes
Announcements
In the galleries
Calendar (Jan. 27-Feb. 13, 2010)
Minot State University Mission
























































































-------------------------------


Public Information Campus Announcements Archives:

http://www.minotstateu.edu/newsletter/archive.php


-------------------------------

North Dakota Oil News from Ron Ness

New Members – Thanks to the new Petroleum Council members Trihydro Corp., NuStar Energy, Cornerstone Natural Resources, EnerCrest, Inc., and Wilson & Company, Inc.



North Dakota Oil Numbers – North Dakota set a new annual oil production record in 2009 producing about 80 million barrels of oil, up from 63 million in 2008. Production in November exceeded 245,000 barrels per day and December production likely approached 250,000 barrels per day. There are currently 85 rigs running in the state with 4,700 producing wells.



Bakken VOC Emission Control Solutions Session – The Bakken VOC Task Force, in partnership with the North Dakota Department of Health, is conducting an important informational meeting on March 23 concerning the venting of Bakken gases from crude oil production storage tanks. The gases contain potentially harmful VOCs (volatile organic compounds) which contribute to ground level ozone. This informational meeting will define unacceptable VOC levels and discuss measurement techniques and options for controlling these emissions. Industry is working collaboratively with the ND Health Department on this issue. The session will run from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. The cost is $35, with lunch included.



To register, complete the PDF “Bakken VOC Meeting form” on the Petroleum Council website at www.ndoil.org and click “Submit Form.” If paying by check, mail $35/person to:

NDPC - Bakken VOC

PO Box 1395

Bismarck, ND 58502



2010 Williston Basin Petroleum Conference – The 18th Annual Williston Basin Petroleum Conference is quickly approaching and we would like you to be part of the excitement. A tentative Conference agenda, which is packed with more than 70 outstanding presenters on key topics, will be available on the Conference website later this week.



Indoor expo booths and outdoor exhibit spaces won’t be available for long. There are 85 indoor and 10 outdoor spaces remaining out of nearly 300. Don’t wait! Reserve your spot today! Sponsorships are also available online. General registration opens February 17 on the Conference website. Be sure to reserve your hotel room and flight soon. A list of hotels with Conference rates is available on the Conference website. When making reservations, state you are with the Williston Basin Petroleum Conference room block. Flight schedules are available on the Bismarck Airport website.



Petroleum Council Social in Denver on March 16 – Denver-based Petroleum Council members will host a social at the Brown Palace on March 16 from 5:00 -7:00 p.m. Industry members with an interest in North Dakota are invited to attend. RSVP to Tricia_Pastrana@eogresources.com.



Herman Appointed to the BLM Resource Advisory Council – Jeff Herman, Regional Land Manager for Petro-Hunt, and Petroleum Council Secretary/Treasurer, has been appointed by Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar to serve a three-year term on the Dakota’s Bureau of Land Management’s Resource Advisory Council (RAC). Jeff will represent mineral interests in the Dakotas on the RAC. Congratulations to Jeff on this important appointment for our industry!



Standing Committee Participation Growing – Thank you to all who have volunteered to be a member of one or more Petroleum Council standing committees. We appreciate your interest in issues facing the oil and gas industry.



Business for five committees is already in full swing. The Bakken VOC Task Force met January 12 in Denver. The Split Estate/Surface Owner Task Force met January 21 and the Water Task Force is meeting January 28. The Workforce/Housing Committee is meeting January 29 and the Tribal Lands Committee has its first meeting February 1. We are still accepting volunteers. If you are interested in any of these, or other committees, visit the Petroleum Council website and complete the Standing Committee Sign-Up Form.



Committee Chairs Appointed – Petroleum Council Chairman Rick Ross has appointed the following members as committee chairs:

Bob Mau, Eagle Operating – Transportation; Terry Kovacevich, Marathon - Oil Can!; Brent Miller, Whiting Petroleum Corporation – Bakken VOC Task Force; Eric DillĂ©, EOG Resources –Split Estate/Surface Owner Task Force; Wayne Biberdorf, Hess – Water Task Force; Ryan Leininger, S & S Sales – Workforce Committee; Mike Smith, Questar Exploration and Production Company – Tribal Lands Committee; Jim Arthaud, Missouri Basin Well Service – Roads Task Force; John Morrison, Crowley Fleck Law Firm – Regulatory; Don Kessel, Murex Petroleum – Membership; and, Collis Chandler, G3 Operating – Royalty Owners Task Force.



Hoeven and Levings Sign Tax Extension Agreement – On January 13, ND Governor John Hoeven and Three Affiliated Tribes Chairman Marcus D. Levings signed a continuation of the State-Tribal Oil and Gas Tax Agreement. The signing ceremony was held at the Three Affiliated Tribes administrative headquarters in New Town, ND. The initial agreement was signed in June 2008 to streamline the current two-tax system into one and stimulate business activity for the tribes. View the agreement.



From left: Fred Fox, TAT Tribal Energy Director; Ron Ness, Petroleum Council President; Damon Williams, TAT Attorney; Chairman Levings; Gov. Hoeven; Scott Davis, ND Indian Affairs Commission Executive Director; Lynn Helms, Department of Mineral Resources Director; and Ryan Bernstein, Legal Counsel and Advisor to the Governor.



Photo courtesy Doreen Yellow Bird, TAT Press Secretary








Continental Resources Donates $1.8 million to ND Heritage Center Expansion Project – Oklahoma-based Continental Resources, Inc. has donated $1.8 million to sponsor the North Dakota Inspiration Gallery for the expansion of the North Dakota Heritage Center in Bismarck. The new gallery will interpret North Dakota’s innovators, opportunities, and inspirations. Visit the State Historical Society website for more information on the expansion project.



Oil and Gas Research Council Holds Special Grant Round – Applications for a special grant round ends February 15, 2010. Projects focusing on Bakken or Three Forks frac technology are encouraged. For more information, visit the Oil & Gas Research Council website.



Oil and Gas Research Council Approves Projects – The Oil and Gas Research Council held a meeting January 20 to review ongoing projects. During the meeting, a status report on the "Determination of Middle Bakken & Three Forks Sanish Zones" Project was given by Gene Carlson of Continental Resources. James Cron of Ward Williston also gave a report on the “Purpose-Fit Portable Multi-Phase Production Measurement System" Project. Several project grant requests were also reviewed and approved by the Council. These projects included a Bakken core surfactant study project, commercial driver license training program, flare gas capture project, and Phase II of the Bakken Water Optimization Study. View meeting reports online.



Annual Oil Tax Trigger Set – The North Dakota State Tax Commissioner has determined the oil trigger price for the calendar year January 1 through December 31, 2010, is $46.79. In accordance with NDCC § 57-51.1, if the average price of a barrel of crude oil (i.e., monthly average daily closing price for a barrel of West Texas Intermediate Cushing crude oil minus two dollars and fifty cents) exceeds the trigger price for each month in any consecutive five-month period, certain exemptions and rate reductions become ineffective. Therefore, the monthly average price of WTI oil would need to be less than $49.29 for five consecutive months in 2010 for the major oil tax incentives to trigger back on. View the published adjustment.



Professional Crane Operators Training Program – The Associated General Contractors of North Dakota is sponsoring a program designed to increase the participant’s knowledge of safe and efficient crane operations. The training will increase the overall quality and skills of the industry’s crane operators and provide assistance to employers in complying with regulatory obligations. Candidates for this course include any individual managing crane safety and crane operators. This program will also prepare crane operators to take the National Commission for Certification of Crane Operators (NCCCO) written core exam and any of its four written specialty exams.



Class Location: Radisson Hotel Bismarck, 605 E Broadway, Bismarck, ND 58501

Class Schedule: March 2-4, 2010, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. each day

March 5, 2010 - NCCCO Written Exam (Optional)



Topics covered include:

Rules and Regulations – OSHA 1926.550, ANSI B30.5 & ANSI B30.23 (including new rules on management & signal person responsibilities)
Site Review and Set-up – Covers the different types of conditions encountered on construction sites.
Operations – Covers the tasks performed each day allowing you to pre-plan and carry out safe operations
Basic Rigging and Wire Rope – Covers the types of rigging equipment, classification along with safe wire rope practices and procedures.
Maintenance and Inspections – Provides an overview of the requirements for inspection and maintenance.
Load Charts – Reviews how to use load charts to determine safe crane capacity. Load chart manuals and exercises will simulate real job situations in which safe capacities must be determined.
Crane Types – Covers basic types of cranes and the operations encountered for each type of crane.


How to Register:

· For the Crane Operators Class - Complete the AGC of ND registration form and include appropriate payment.

· To sit for the NCCCO Written Test complete the candidate application and include appropriate payment.

· If you are certified and need to recertify, complete the candidate recertification application and include appropriate payment.

· Register your operators by February 15, 2010, to allow for paperwork submittal to NCCCO and avoid a $50 late registration fee. If you have any questions please contact Mark at 701-223-2770.



Note: This program covers the written test only. To complete the NCCCO certification process a practical test for each crane type must be completed. The additional cost of the practical testing would be $300 to $500 per crane type. AGC of North Dakota will be sponsoring a practical exam opportunity March 22-24, 2010. The practical exam will likely be held in Fargo due to crane and approved test site availability.





For more information on any of these issues, or to be removed from the mailing list, contact the North Dakota Petroleum Council at

(701) 223-6380, ndpc@ndoil.org, or see www.ndoil.org.





Marsha Reimnitz

North Dakota Petroleum Council

PO Box 1395

Bismarck ND 58502

701.223.6380

701.222.0006 fax

www.ndoil.org

ndpc@ndoil.org

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Telecommunications Grants

A broad move for broadband
Traill County in line for high-speed Internet connection
Hundreds of residents and businesses in Traill County are in line to receive high-speed Internet connections in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s largest-ever distribution of funding for rural broadband.
By: Chuck Haga, Grand Forks Herald

SendPrintCENTER FOR SELF-GROWTH & RENEWAL
Feel a little off the right path? Let us help you back on track with your life!
SendPrint
JobsHQ
Get a personalized video for your business
SendPrintCENTER FOR SELF-GROWTH & RENEWAL
Feel a little off the right path? Let us help you back on track with your life!
SendPrint
JobsHQ
Get a personalized video for your business

Previous
Nextview all offers | sign up for email offers | add your businessHundreds of residents and businesses in Traill County are in line to receive high-speed Internet connections in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s largest-ever distribution of funding for rural broadband.

Halstad Telephone Co. will receive slightly more than $4 million in a federal stimulus grant and loan package to provide broadband Internet and video service to customers the Minnesota company serves in Traill County, the USDA and members of North Dakota’s congressional delegation announced Monday.

“That’s going to be quite a deal,” said Ronald Peterson of Buxton, N.D., a member of the Traill County Commission, who said he and other commission members weren’t aware of the impending project.

Peterson, who said he is “the furthest-north customer of Halstad Telephone,” said he hopes the improved Internet connections will help stimulate economic activity and employment in the county.

Sens. Kent Conrad and Byron Dorgan and Rep. Earl Pomeroy also announced $6 million in stimulus loans, grants and leveraged funding for BEK Communications Cooperative in Burleigh County.

Stimulus money

The funding, meant to bring broadband service to unserved and underserved rural areas, was awarded by USDA, using dollars available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

In all, USDA handed out nearly $310 million in stimulus money on Monday to extend high-speed Internet connections to 14 rural areas around the country, with the largest amount — an $88.1 million grant and loan — going to an Alaskan telecommunications company to wire 65 towns and villages in the southwestern part of the state.

Congress allocated $7.2 billion for broadband in the 2009 stimulus bill. USDA will distribute $2.5 billion while the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration will hand out the remaining $4.7 billion.

Competition for the grants and loans has been intense, the Associated Press reported, with USDA and Commerce receiving almost 2,200 applications seeking $28 billion. Applications for a second and final round of funding are due by March 15.

The goal behind the stimulus money is to create jobs and boost the economy in rural areas and poor neighborhoods where residents and businesses haven’t been able to keep pace in the evolving information age, according to the federal agencies.

Some of the funding will provide infrastructure necessary for rural areas to advance in such areas as online education, telemedicine and other bandwidth-hungry services.

“This funding will help connect communities across North Dakota to the power of the Internet,” members of the congressional delegation said in a joint statement issued through Conrad’s office. “This broadband investment will build on a solid foundation for future economic growth.”

Fiber-to-premises

In Burleigh County, the BEK Communications Cooperative will use a $2 million grant, a $2 million loan and $2 million in leveraged funding to expand its existing system to offer fiber-to-the-premises service to more than 540 underserved homes and institutions.

BEK’s existing network provides service to a little more than half of the service area’s population, and more than a fifth of current users derive income from the Internet, the lawmakers said. Expansion should stimulate economic growth and public safety, they said.

In Traill County, the new money — a $2 million grant, a $2 million loan and $10,000 in leveraged funds — will provide fiber-to-the-premises broadband service to homes and businesses.

Other awards announced Monday went to rural areas in Alabama, Missouri and Iowa.


Reach Haga at (701) 780-1102; (800) 477-6572, ext. 102; or send e-mail to chaga@gfherald.com.

Tags: local news, traill county, halstad telephone company, broadband internet service, american recovery and reinvestment act, utilities, business

Registered Nurses RiverView Health has 2 openings for part-time RN's to work on our »
ORTHODONTIC ASSISTANT WANTED 3 days per week. Bubbly personality, good with kids & »
********** Crookston MN We have delivery routes available immediately in Crookston, M »
DIRECTOR OF BUSINESS SERVICES Degree in Accounting, Business Administration, Finance »
l OVERNIGHT STOCKERS - Full-time. Apply to Rod, 1750 32nd Ave. So. »
view all HotJobs »


Career Minded Drivers
view employer jobs »