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Published May 01, 2013, 10:15 PM

Grand Forks leaders hope for progress on bills in final days of legislative session

As North Dakota's legislative session comes to a close there are still some priorities leaders here in Grand Forks are pushing for. Water projects and property tax relief are just a couple of last minute bills that could make a big impact for Grand Forks residents.

As North Dakota's legislative session comes to a close there are still some priorities leaders here in Grand Forks are pushing for. Water projects and property tax relief are just a couple of last minute bills that could make a big impact for Grand Forks residents.

Overall this year's legislative session has been a successful one for the northern valley, but these last four or five days are what it's really comes down to. Will local leaders get their way, or will Grand Forks have to wait another two years and try again?

Some of the session's most anticipated bills are being discussed in conference committees during the legislature's final days.

Pete Haga, GF Community and Government Relations Officer: "The house and the senate kind of slug it out a little bit to come up with versions they can move forward with."

House Bill 1020 includes more than 500 million dollars for statewide water projects. Passage of that bill would help support a 130-million dollar water treatment plant as well as fund the Red River Water Supply Project.

Todd Feland, Public Works Direcot: "On those two projects, just getting them to the point where we're at today has been a two year process."

Besides water project funding, property tax relief in Grand Forks has been a hot topic for years.

Haga: "Grand Forks leaders just like state leaders have heard the message of property tax relief."

House Bill 1319 is still in the works and would provide relief to homeowners.

Maureen Storstad, Director of Finance and Admin Services: "Nothing is final yet but one of the options they're looking at is to help fund the schools, which would impact the home owner's property tax bill."

The majority of the city's priorities have been answered by legislators in Bismarck. Community and Government Relations Officer Pete Haga says Grand Forks is tracking very well.

Haga: "I can't see any major major disappointments."

One bill that passed today allocates money to the Grand Forks Air Force Base, and that was another legislative priority. If either of these bills don't pass in the next few days, leaders tell me they will wait until the next biennium to tackle them again.

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