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Bekkedahl talks bonding, addiction treatment

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A Republican State Senator from Williston -- who is a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee -- said the bonding bill approved by the House is a “lot lighter” than he – and other Senators – envisioned it would be.

The House version is $680 million, with money going toward water projects – including the FM Diversion and the Mouse River Flood Control Project.

Sen. Brad Bekkedahl (R-Williston) said he’s been a proponent of bonding – especially at this time, when the interest rates are low.

"This is not spending on wants -- this is spending on needs," Bekkedahl said,

Bekkedahl said in terms of the allocations to water projects, the Legislature has already allocated funding for the Diversion.

"This is going to take that appropriation out of the Resources Trust Fund, that we would normally tie up there, put it into bonding , and get that project funded," Bekkedahl said. "We're going to take that funding authorized for Minot, and do the same thing."

Bekkedahl said the money set aside for those projects in the water resources trust fund could then be used for the smaller projects that haven’t yet been funded.

Also – Bekkedahl said some of the items the House deleted from the bonding bill may be reconsidered in the Senate. He said one item would be bonding for Career and Technical Education facilities around the state.

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Bekkedahl said he continues to work toward getting in-patient treatment for addiction in western North Dakota.

Right now, there are no facilities west of Bismarck for that treatment. And several studies have shown the need to offer treatment in the west.

"We can find the treatment providers," Bekkedahl said. "In fact, we've had great interest from providers who want to come to those areas. But you have to have facilities."

Bekkedahl said building those facilities is expensive.

"We looked at a wing in our hospital in Williston that the county and the city wanted to renovate, to put in the in-patient program, and to provide 8 treatment rooms," Bekkedahl said. "That was a cost of $4 million to $6 million."

Bekkedahl said there was talk about funding those facilities in the bonding bill. He said the Senate will take a look at putting something in the budget bill for Human Services.

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