By Nick Smith

Nearly $3.86 million has been approved for seven state agencies for the coming year to help about 700 state employees living and working in oil-impacted areas of the state where housing and cost of living have been an issue in maintaining staff in recent years.

The dollars, approved Monday by the North Dakota Emergency Commission, come from a section of Senate Bill 2015, the Office of Management and Budget bill that provides for a state agency energy development impact funding pool.

The commission, made up of the governor, secretary of state, the House and Senate majority leaders and appropriations committee chairs from both chambers, voted unanimously in favor of the request by a 5-0 vote with one member absent.

The largest request, amounting to $2.43 million, came from the North Dakota Department of Transportation. The Department of Human Services had the second largest request, totaling $989,653. The remaining dollars are split between the state tax department, highway patrol, department of corrections, state historical society and game and fish department.

The dollars for the pool include $2.4 million from state general fund dollars and $5.565 million from special funds and federal dollars.

This is the second biennium the funding pool has been authorized.

Legislative intent is to draw down the use of the dollars at some point after the 2015-17 biennium.

(c)2015 The Bismarck Tribune