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Minot lawmaker wants to know how state agencies decide to rent or own buildings

A Minot lawmaker who chairs an interim Legislative committee looking at the potential sale or re-purpose of several state-owned buildings has some questions about agency decisions on ownership of buildings versus rental.

The interim Government Administration Committee is looking at the sale or repurposing of the Job Service- North Dakota state headquarters in Bismarck. It is also looking at the future of regional Job Service offices in Bismarck, Fargo, Minot and Rolla.

"My biggest concern is what factors go into an agency deciding whether it wants to own or rent," said Committee chairman Rep. Scott Louser (R-Minot). "In some cases, there are three or four factors that go into it, and in some cases, there's 10."

Louser said there cannot be an across-the-board policy on building ownership versus rental.

"I want to hear from the agencies, 'What are you making your decisions on?'" Louser said.

Louser said as long as state department heads can convince the Legislature they’ve gone through an appropriate process of weighing ownership versus rental, that’s what he’s looking for.

"Bismarck and Minot, for Job Service, are two different factors," Louser said. "As long as our Committee hears that they have thought things through, that's their job to make those decisions, and our job to oversee it."

Louser said the Committee is awaiting an appraisal of the Job Service headquarters building.

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