County slashes road projects from preliminary budget
By Neal A. Shipman
After years of investing millions of dollars building and improving county roads, under the preliminary 2021 budget that the McKenzie County Commissioners approved on Tuesday, Aug. 4, the road projects that the county had planned for next year are going to be put on hold due to budget cutbacks.
But according to Erica Johnsrud, McKenzie County Auditor/Treasurer, road projects aren’t the only areas that the county will be reducing in order to meet its preliminary budget of $168,176,210.
“We have already cut $80 million in the 2021 budget requests,” states Johnsrud. “And we still have another $30 to $35 million to cut to make the preliminary budget figure.”
After years of seeing its budget grow, Johnsrud says that the dramatic decline in the Gross Production Taxes (GPT) the county receives from oil and natural gas production is the reason this year’s budget is lower by just under $15.5 million.
“In the last two months, the county has seen an 80 percent drop in our GPT funds,” states Johnsrud. “We used to get $5 million a month in GPT revenue. Now we’re receiving just over $1 million a month.”