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Published October 25, 2011, 01:22 PM

Churchs Ferry residents to vote January 10 on future

CHURCHS FERRY, N.D. (AP) — The four remaining households in the flood-threatened North Dakota community of Churchs Ferry are split on whether to dissolve the town. They will settle the matter early next year in a special election in which fewer than 10 people are eligible to vote.

CHURCHS FERRY, N.D. (AP) — The four remaining households in the flood-threatened North Dakota community of Churchs Ferry are split on whether to dissolve the town. They will settle the matter early next year in a special election in which fewer than 10 people are eligible to vote.

The Ramsey County Commission has set a Jan. 10 date for the election in the century-old city, the Grand Forks Herald reported (http://bit.ly/uu0GwV ) Tuesday. The move came after four of the town's nine voting-age residents filed a petition seeking an election on whether to continue as an incorporated city.

If the city remained incorporated it could continue collecting taxes for services. Petitioners said the city provides only two services — trash collection and street maintenance — and that township or county services might be better.

Churchs Ferry was incorporated in 1897 and had a peak population of 457 people 13 years later. The federal government bought out most residents in 2000 because of the encroaching Devils Lake, which has quadrupled in size after nearly two decades of wet weather and continues to expand. Only a dozen people remain in the town. It had 100 people before the buyout in which most residents moved to area communities.

The town's biggest business, the local grain elevator, moved a few miles west to rural Leeds in 2001. The town's last church closed last May when its sewer system was inundated by floodwaters.

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