Posted 3/18/14 (Tue)
By Neal A. Shipman
When McKenzie County Public School District No. 1 voters went to the polls last week to cast their vote on a $27 million bond issue for a new high school in Watford City, most everyone expected the issue to pass. But what most people weren’t expecting was the overwhelming turnout for this special election and the resounding margin by which the bond issue was passed.
Considering that most bond issues across the state have been voted down so far this year, the fact that this local bond issue passed with a 90 percent approval rating with 748 voters casting a yes vote, while only 83 voted in opposition, was indeed a surprise. A very pleasant surprise.
But then again, as we have seen time and time again, the people of McKenzie County have always risen to the challenge when there is a need. It has always been the progressive attitude of the people of Watford City and the surrounding area that has defined this region of the state. Unlike so many other parts of the state or country, the people of McKenzie County don’t wait for the government or some rich benefactor to come forward and build them what they need built. They find a way to get the job done themselves. And if that means digging into their own wallets, so be it.
Which is why our county and community have been able to build facilities that rival those found only in much larger cities. Things like the Wild West Water Park, the McKenzie County Multi-Purpose Building for indoor hockey and rodeos, the Long X Visitor Center, a new clubhouse at the Fox Hills Golf & Country Club. Or to develop a Renaissance Zone that allowed Watford City to completely revitalize its Main Street.
The list of facilities that the people of Watford City and McKenzie County have poured their hearts and souls, as well as their money into is impressive.
So it should have come as no surprise that when the voters of the school district were asked whether or not they were willing to pay more in property taxes to build a new school to serve a growing number of students, the answer would be yes.
It is our belief in the doing things right and doing what is needed not only for today but for the future that has always been the trademark of this county. And it is that attitude that will continue to propel Watford City and McKenzie County through this unprecedented period of growth. And it is that commitment to making this part of North Dakota a great place to live and raise a family that will continue to set us apart from so many other parts of the state and the country.
Last week’s yes vote on taxing ourselves to build a new high school is just the latest example of the commitment to the future of Watford City and McKenzie County.