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What is County Measure 1?

By Staff | May 16, 2014

When voters cast their ballots on June 10 they won’t just be choosing between candidates. There also will be one measure on this year’s primary ballot. County Measure 1 will ask voters whether or not an additional 0.46 mills should be levied for the “historical work of the county.”

Prairie Village Museum executive director Cathy Jelsing is concerned that the language in the measure could be confusing to some voters.

“Prairie Village Museum and Geographical Center Historical Society are not mentioned in Measure 1, but the historical society and the museum do ‘the historical work of the county’ and the proposed mill levy increase will directly benefit the museum,” Jelsing said.

The historical society, which operates Prairie Village Museum, would see nearly $12,000 more per year, if the measure passes. The historical society currently receives about $7,270 per year from Pierce County. Based on estimates provided by Pierce County Auditor Karin Fursather the measure would bump the museum’s county funding to about $19,000 per year.

The historical society board is seeking support of voters to address the renovation and care of museum buildings and collections.

“If this measure fails it will mean major changes to the museum,” said Roger Sitter, president of the historical society’s board of directors. “I think it’d be fair to say that the museum will not be what we know it as today.”

Sitter emphasized the importance of preserving the area’s history and the educational value of the museum for visitors of all ages.

“We don’t want to have a crisis,” he said. “Let’s get to this before it becomes a crisis.”

What does passing Measure 1 mean for area residents? For a city home valued at $150,000 the total tax of 0.75 mills will cost an owner about $5 per year. Depending on the valuation of farmland, the total tax of 0.75 mills will cost less than $3 per quarter. To pass, the measure needs to be approved by 60 percent of voters.

Officially Measure 1 reads:

“Shall the Board of County Commissioners in and for Pierce County, North Dakota, levy an additional .46 mills, not to exceed a total of .75 mills, upon all taxable property within the boundaries of Pierce County, North Dakota, for the year 2014, for the promotion of historical work within the borders of Pierce County, including the collection, preservation, and publication of historical material, and to disseminate historical information of the county, and in general defray the expense of carrying on historical work in the county.”

Voters will have the following options:

“Yes means you approve of this measure as summarized above.” or “No means you reject the measure as summarized above.”

The question was put on the ballot two years ago, but was voted down 1,161 to 934. Mill levy increases were also requested for the museum in 1970, 1972 and 1974. It was voted down by a slim margin of 1,541 to 1,440 in 1972, and won with strong support in 1974 by a vote of 1,583 to 1,092. The measure failed in 1970.

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