The timing of the HUD Regional Sustainability Planning Grant Program could not have come at a better time for western North Dakota. The second funding round of the program (2011) coincided with the era in which the Bakken Oil Boom was being recognized as “real and significant.” This allowed 19 counties in western North Dakota to join forces to plan and implement a future that can help steer amazing economic times into an era of greater livability.
One significant test of the planning effort came last week when Gov. Dalrymple unveiled his proposed 2015-2017 budget. The budget positively responded to the planning effort in many ways. Among the positive developments, the Governor is recommending to the legislature increasing formula distributions to oil producing political subdivisions by increasing their allocation from 25 percent to 60 percent of the revenue generated in excess of $5 million in each county. These funds can support community and infrastructure development, and serve to implement many of the 78 recommendations in the plan (see www.BuildingCommunities.us homepage).
The combination of constructive state and local politics with proactive planning sets the stage for a more livable and sustainable future for western North Dakota than it otherwise would have had without the regional planning effort. Visit www.visionwestnd.com for continued updates.