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The Dickinson Board of Equalization on Monday agreed to move forward with reassessing values for six properties owned by Carlos Royal. Royal has been pursuing revaluation for months, claiming the mass appraisal system used by City Assessor Joe Hirschfeld is flawed and that assessments should instead be based on market values. He called the system "arbitrary and capricious." The baseline used by the city, Hirschfeld explained, is based on a valuation established in 2015 at the height of the oil boom. Values in Dickinson have since gone down, Royal argued.
Lisa Heiser is Stark County Fairgrounds Coordinator, a newly created county position. Hesier has been on the job for three weeks and is responsible for both the new Stark County Fairgrounds facility south of Dickinson and the Southwest Speedway. She was drawn to the position not only because she'd heard the county is a great employer, especially from her husband, County Road Superintendent Al Heiser, but also because of the opportunities it promises to provide.
A potable water fill station at 800 block of West Broadway is being replaced. The station has been damaged for more than a month and will be demolished, with a new one being constructed in six to eight weeks. The water purchased there is used for fracking, and for farms and rural pools, among other uses, Adam Ballesteros, city water department manager, said. "Although it's potable water, it's not meant for drinking purposes," he said. "The water comes directly out of the southwest water plant there, out of our finished water pump station."
Dickinson begins work on many of its capital improvement projects this week. City Engineer Craig Kubas reported to City Commissioners Tuesday the many efforts that are now underway or readying to start. Eighth Street South is being rehabilitated using an NDDOT Urban Roads grant, Kubas said. The project extends to both sides of Highway 22, from Second Avenue SW to Sixth Avenue SE. Work is scheduled to start Friday, but could be moved up to Thursday. It will be a phased construction to limit the impact on the public, Kubas said.
Stark County Commissioners Tuesday approved a petition from Theodore Roosevelt Regional Airport to vacate a section-line road. The road, 112th Avenue between southwest 41st and 42nd streets, is being vacated for the airport's upcoming runway expansion project, Kelly Braun, airport manager, explained. "Our new proposed runway will cross over that section line," Braun said. "We have to do some property acquisition coming up, and to get the title for this property, part of that is to have this section-line road vacated."
With speed and strength, the titans of the Dickinson Roller Derby Team clash under the leadership of league president and team captain Tessa Beyers. Beyers, "TessMonster" on the derby track, joined the Dickinson team in March 2013, two months after its launch. Beyers said she has always been drawn to the sport. "On TLC they used to have 'Roller Girls' and it was a documentary series on one of the Texas teams, and I remember seeing that and being, like, these girls are so cool and fierce and muscular, without losing that feminine charm," she said.
A petition for a new half-cent sales tax already has roughly 225 signatures after only 12 days. The revenue would go toward public safety, with 60 percent divided equally between the city's police and fire departments, and 40 percent going to the city's general fund. The petition only needs 511 votes to be included on the November ballot, Linda Carlson, deputy city administrator, explained Wednesday at a meeting of the Half Cent Sales Tax Committee. If passed in November, revenue would start to be collected in April and received by the city in June 2019.
Shawn Kessel is departing as Dickinson city administrator. "I've accepted a position in Minnesota, and will be moving in June to take on the duties of my new role as a city administrator," Kessel told The Dickinson Press on Wednesday. A transition team will be established and the city will proceed with finding a new administrator, Mayor Scott Decker said. Decker commended Kessel for his service to the city.
Best Friends Mentoring is getting a new facade. The building at 135 W. Villard St., owned by A&F Properties, is also the site of Westwind Counseling Center. The improvements will be partly funded with a community enhancement grant from Stark Development Corp. ,which approved $20,000 Tuesday, April 17, half of the project's $40,000 cost. Scull Construction of Dickinson will serve as the contractor. The building is more than a century old, Kris Fehr, A&F property manager and Best Friends executive director, said.
City Commissioners Tuesday approved a land purchase agreement with Odyssey Theatres. Odyssey, which owns the three-screen theater in Prairie Hills Mall, hopes to build an eight-screen theater in downtown Dickinson on East First Street, across from City Hall. The cost for the land is $100,000. A drafted agreement was returned to Odyssey after commissioners voiced concerns at their April 3 meeting over the $10,000 down payment or "earnest money." Commissioners asked that the earnest money be made non-refundable.