NDACo News

NDACo News

Filling in the Blanks – Q & A on the Prairie Dog Bill

Posted 7/09/19 (Tue)

HB 1066 - Operation Praire Dog

Linda Svihovec | NDACo Research Analyst

What is the amount of Prairie Dog funds that will be distributed to counties?

The County/Township distribution bucket is $115 million total, with $15 million allocated to townships and $100 million allocated for counties, excluding the nine counties receiving more than $5 million in Gross Production Tax (GPT) revenues annually. The counties receiving over $5 million annually in GPT revenue receive their funds through the GPT formula.

When will Operation Prairie Dog funds be distributed?

In short, when the two “buckets” for city and county/township are “full” (they each reach $115 million) the money will be distributed. As there are several buckets that must fill before these two, it is currently anticipated that the infrastructure buckets will be full sometime late in this biennium. Summer 2021 is most likely when counties, cities and townships will see the funds.

How will be funds be distributed if the buckets don’t fill?

The funds are based on oil and gas revenues, which vary due to commodity markets. If there is not enough revenue to fill the county/ township/city buckets, any funds that have accumulated in these buckets will be distributed on a pro-rated basis at the end of the biennium.

How is each county’s distribution amount calculated?

Each county’s share of the $100 million will be based on their 20-year relative investment needs as reported in the most recent Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute local roads study. The estimates used for the Legislative Session were based on the 2016 study. A new study has been funded and should be complete before the allocation – so everyone’s amounts will vary from the estimates during the Legislative Session. The nine oil and gas counties receiving more than $5 million annually do not receive a share of the $100 million distribution, as their funds come through the GPT formula.

What kind of projects can Prairie Dog funds be used for?

County distributions of Prairie Dog funds can be used for “Road and Bridge Infrastructure Projects.” Road and bridge infrastructure projects are defined as projects associated with the construction of new unpaved and paved road and bridge infrastructure or associated with the maintenance, repair, or replacement of existing unpaved or paved road and bridge infrastructure.

Do projects funded with Prairie Dog funds need to be approved by NDDOT?

Prairie Dog infrastructure projects do not need ND Department of Transportation approval.

Is there a reporting requirement for Prairie Dog funds?

A county that receives Prairie Dog grant funds will be required to provide a report to the State Treasurer on the use of the funding by November 30 each year, beginning November 2022. The Treasurer will notify counties of the reporting requirement by November 1 each year and provide the reporting form for counties to use. A county that does not provide a timely report, in the correct format, will not be eligible to receive grant funds for the next two years.