Both Ward County measures on the ballot passed in Tuesday's general election by the skin of their teeth.
County measure one, which was a 1/2-cent sales tax to fund a new office building, jail expansion, courthouse remodel and infrastructure needs, passed with 51.84 percent of the vote, 12,756 to 11,854.
The largest share of money for the project, $15.3 million, will go to build a new office building just to the north of Ward County Courthouse. The jail expansion will receive $10.5 million, while courthouse improvements will get $3.5 million. The final $10 million will be used for roads and other infrastructure improvements.
Shelly Weppler, who won a seat on the Ward County Commission, said the 1/2-cent sales tax will help the county immeasurably by providing facilities the county has needed for quite some time.
"That will support the staff that we have to support our sheriff (and) to support our jail in order to bring ourselves up to date with our needs," Weppler said.
Alan Walter, who also won a seat on the commission, said the 1/2-cent sales tax was the most fair way to get the project, which was greatly needed, done.
"They're all needed," Walter said. "I think it's a fair way to do it."
County measure two, which will raise the 911 fee from $1 to $1.50 per month, had an even closer vote, passing with 50.51 percent, 12,249 votes to 12,000. The system will be converting from analog to digital, and the increase will go a long way toward helping to fund those upgrades.
Weppler said with the county's increased population, a modern 911 system is needed now more than ever.
"Again, we're talking about an increase in calls and an increase in service needs," Weppler said. "So I think that it's important that we have the funds in order to support those needed services."
County commissioner Bruce I. Christianson, who lost in his re-election bid Tuesday, said the increased tax will help to greatly enhance the 911 system, which will help keep the citizens of Ward County safer in the future.
"Good to see that that passed too, because it's important for the public safety, actually, on the 911 system going from analog to digital," Christianson said.
Walter said the increased tax will be a huge help to keep the 911 call center in Minot up to date, and it will also give the people who work there better equipment to deal with the highly stressful situations they face every day.
"I've associated pretty closely with the police chief over the years, and I know the hassles they've had with the 911 call center to keep the call center updated," Walter said.