By Richard Peterson
Counties, cities and townships are not being treated very well by the ND State Legislature. Gov. Hoeven had originally included in his budget $120 million to be distributed to those political subdivisions for use as they desired. But then something happened.
The federal stimulus money came to North Dakota and the legislature decided, with the consent of the governor, to substitute the stimulus money for the funds the governor had originally planned to distribute to the political subdivisions. The problem is that the stimulus money can be used only for new projects and the counties, cities and townships are having a mighty struggle to take care of the infrastructure they have now. There are some projects that would be welcome, but for the most part, just maintaining the present infrastructure is more than they can handle.
We all agree that property taxes are too high, but the counties and townships are limited by law to that source of income from taxation.
Townships are destitute. They don’t even have enough money to blade their roads after spending what little money they had on snow removal. Three townships in Benson County were forced to raise their own property taxes in an effort to keep up with expenses. So much for tax relief. More townships will undoubtedly have to increase property taxes to keep their roads driveable.
The county is hurting, too. The county had to pay about $35,000 to independent contractors to help with snow removal this winter because the county crews and equipment couldn’t do it all. A county Caterpillar dozer was used to move snow and the rollers on the Cat were damaged from being used in cold weather. It will cost $30,000 to repair this crucial piece of equipment.
Despite all these extra expenses, the county couldn’t qualify for the snow removal program offered by the state. No wonder. It was only a miserly $1.5 million which was used up almost immediately. Sen. Ryan Taylor is trying to get more allocated for this, but the priority of the legislature lies with Fargo and Bismarck, not the rural areas.
The Spirit Lake Nation will vote on whether or not UND should keep the "Fighting Sioux" nickname. If the reservation approves the nickname, we’re probably in for years of continuing controversy. This issue is like a scab that will continue to be picked open. If the reservation disapproves of the nickname, that would probably put an end to use of the nickname. I, for one, am sick and tired of this issue coming up again and again and again.
In the beginning God covered the earth with broccoli, cauliflower and spinach, with green, yellow and red vegetables of all kinds so Man and Woman would live long and healthy lives.
Then using God’s bountiful gifts, Satan created ice cream. And Satan said, "You want hot fudge with that?" And Man said, "Yes!" And Woman said, "I’ll have one, too, with chocolate chips." And lo, they gained 10 pounds.
And God created the healthy yogurt that Woman might keep the figure that man found so fair.
And Satan brought forth white flour from the wheat and sugar from the cane and combined them. And Woman went from size 12 to size 14.
So God said, "Try my fresh green salad." And Satan presented blue cheese dressing and garlic croutons on the side. And Man and Woman unfastened their belts following the repast.
God then said "I have sent you healthy vegetables and olive oil in which to cook them."
And Satan brought forth deep fried coconut king prawns, butter-dipped lobster chunks and chicken fried steak, so big it needed its own platter, and Man’s cholesterol went through the roof.
Then God brought forth the potato; naturally low in fat and brimming with potassium and good nutrition.
Then Satan peeled off the healthy skin and sliced the starchy center into chips and deep-fried them in animal fats, adding copious quantities of salt.
And Man put on more pounds. God then brought forth running shoes so that his children might lose those extra pounds.
And Satan came forth with a cable TV with remote control so Man would not have to toil changing the channels. And Man and Woman laughed and cried before the flickering light and started wearing stretch jogging suits.
Then God gave lean beef so that Man might consume fewer calories and still satisfy his appetite.
And Satan created McDonalds and the 99c double cheeseburger. Then Satan said "You want fries with that?" and Man replied, "Yes, and super size ’em."
And Satan said, "It is good." And Man and Woman went into cardiac arrest.
God sighed . . . and created quadruple by-pass surgery.
And then . . . Satan chuckled and created the National Health Service