The Ward County Commission has been discussing space needs and the possibility of a new office building for years. It still is. The only thing that seems to change is the cost of any proposed project.
Commissioners discussed the now-familiar subject again on Tuesday, but there remains a lack of answers to some essential questions.
The basic concept seems to be agreed upon by county department heads and other officials: Build an office building across the street from the Ward County Courthouse to alleviate space issues in that facility.
From there, things get complicated.
Does the county need to buy the parking lot belonging to The Minot Daily News? How much will the entire project cost? When discussed a couple of years ago, the project cost was roughly $12 million. That's probably risen to $16 million or $17 million, according to officials, because of rising construction costs.
The second major unanswered question is how to pay for the project. Again, there has been plenty of discussion and questions, but few, if any, solid answers.
There are several bonding options. There's the option of adding a county sales tax specifically to pay off the building project. But before any option can be chosen, another major question needs to be answered: Which of the options would require voter approval, and approval by what margin?
It's impossible to move forward without answers to these major questions, but all these vital answers, apparently, will have to wait until the commission's next meeting on June 26. We hope to learn more then, so the county can finally figure out which direction it's heading.