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Voters say ‘no’ to eliminating property taxes

Posted 6/20/12 (Wed)

By Kate Ruggles
Farmer Staff Writer

As election day neared last week, North Dakota trended in the national scene with its placement of Measure No. 2 on the voting ballot.
All the attention proved unimpactful, however, as North Dakotans voted with an 83 percent margin to leave the state’s property tax system alone.
“I am pleased with the election results regarding Measure 2,” states Steven Holen, McKenzie County School District No. 1 superintendent. “It is important for the school district to maintain local control by retaining the ability to plan and react to changes in district demographics with local funding sources.”
Watford City Mayor Brent Sandford is also pleased to see Measure No. 2 voted down.
“No one likes paying property taxes, but the alternatives are worse -  higher income taxes and sales taxes and asking Bismarck if we can hire a teacher or replace a garbage truck,” states Sanford.
Other noteworthy election decisions were the acceptance of Measure 1, by a 60 percent margin and Measure 4 by 61 percent, which means the University of North Dakota will have the difficult task of deciding on a new mascot and North Dakotans will have to say, ‘goodbye’ to the Fighting Sioux nickname.
Measure 3, however, which had to do with the government burdening a person’s or religious organizations’ religious liberty, joins Measure No. 2 with a 68 percent resounding ‘no’ from the voters.
Locally, the city measures for Watford City, Alexander and Arnegard were all passed.
In the Primary Election, Republican Rick Berg and Democrat Heidi Heitkamp will compete for U.S. Senator and Republican Kevin Cramer, Democrat Pam Bulleson and Libertarian Eric Olson will face off for the U.S. House Representative race in the November election.
Also, Ryan Taylor will run against North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple in this November’s Gubernatorial election.
McKenzie County Commissioner candidates Ronald Anderson, Richard Cayko and Douglas Nordby will be advancing to the fall General Election as will Linda Svihovec, county auditor, and Cheryl Grantier, county treasurer. In addition, Richard Cayko was elected to be director of the Garrison Diversion Conservancy.
In Watford City, Doug Bolken and Marty Mulder were elected to their first term on the Watford City City Council, and Justin Voll was re-elected for another term.
“We are glad to have Doug Bolken and Marty Mulder join the city council. Both are ready to go to work and fully aware of the challenges ahead. We are also very thankful Justin Voll signed up for his third term. We have a good group going forward,” states Sanford.
In Alexander, Terry Hatter will replace Kay Glick as mayor, and Dusty Bratsberg and Terrille Jacobson will hold another four-year term on the Alexander City Council.
Arnegard had an interesting race, with two council seats open, Tim Homiston was re-elected to one and the other came down to a write-in campaign with Bill Hanson coming out ahead.
Area school board elections are as follows: Nicole Johnsrud, Kelly Norby, Brent Arnegard and Pat Fitzgerald will fill seats on the McKenzie County School District No. 1 school board; Jeremy Heen, Tim Nelson, Donna Sims and Cecile Long were elected to the Alexander School District No. 2 school board; and Yellowstone School District No. 14 elected Jessica Cayko and Jason Rau to fill four-year terms on its board.
Finally, Arnegard voted in Nancy Haight and Donna Nelson to the Park Board, Alexander voted Mary Rettig, Augustina Moreno, Jeffrey Morton and Jackson Kysar to its Park Board and Watford City’s Park Board will be joined once again by Peni Peterson and for the first time by Whitney McDaniel.