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Mark Bragg and Katie Walters, Watford City, N.D., Published March 04 2013

Letter: Large Bakken firms stepping up

As Watford City, N.D., has grown from a quiet western community into a 10,000-person boomtown, it has struggled to provide affordable housing for its teachers and police officers and develop day care services for the thousands of new families.

The city’s leaders have proposed Wolf Run Village, a city-led housing development that will provide day care for 200 children and 42 affordable townhomes and apartments for local teachers and police officers. However, funding the project has proven difficult, despite a large grant from the city’s sales tax fund.

It is a challenge born from the state’s oil taxation system, which sends the bulk of tax revenue to the state and leave cash-strapped cities with too few resources to answer the challenges of rapid growth.

Thankfully, a number of the largest oil production and service companies in the Bakken have stepped up to take a lead in funding the project.

Two weeks ago, QEP Resources, Whiting Petroleum, Power Fuels and MBI Energy Services committed $300,000 to funding Wolf Run Village, an amount that ensures the project will be built before school starts this fall.

Their donations guarantee affordable rents for teachers and police officers in Watford City and accessible day care for the city’s new families.

North Dakota’s oil industry has gone above and beyond in its attempts to better our western communities, increasing safety and quality of life for our state’s longtime and new residents.

We hope our state’s leaders will recognize the commitments of these companies and will follow suit in providing relief to our state’s western communities.

Bragg and Walters are with Bakken Housing Partners.