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Minot mayor: Flood control tops city priorities for 2021 Legislature

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Minot Mayor Shaun Sipma said the Mouse River flood control project tops the list of the city’s priorities for the upcoming Legislative session.

The city and the entire Mouse River valley continues to recover from the devastating 2011 flood.

In an interview, Sipma said there are two different components to the ask. The first deals with Legislative intent language.

"There's a little more than $101 million remaining, over the next two bienniums, for the city of Minot, to meet the Legislative intent passed a few sessions ago," Sipma said. "That would get us to 'Stage MI-5,' which would essentially give protection to 65 percent of the flood valley in Minot."

Sipma said hand-in-hand with that is a proposal to utilize local cost-share, through a low-interest, long-term loan. THat could be accomplished through bonding or through Bank of North Dakota. He said local sales tax revenues could help to repay the loan or the bond.

"If we go out to the bond market, we will be able to capture a 20-year bond, and rates are really good," Sipma said. "But if you compare a 20-year bond to a 30-year bond, you could maximize what you have for leverage dollars much more on a 30-year bond."

Sipma said that long term, low-interest loan would fit well with that Legislative intent.

Gov. Doug Burgum is proposing a bonding program, using Legacy Fund earnings to pay off the bonds. Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner (R-Dickinson)  is advocating a grant program from those earnings. And Senator Tim Mathern (D-Fargo) is working on another bonding proposal.

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