Minot City Council approved a $175 million budget in its first reading on Tuesday after a public hearing failed to yield feedback.
The tax increase over this year’s budget is small – a fraction of a mill. It reflects the board’s decision to add additional employee positions and to fully fund features that would not be in place through 2022 as a whole. Full funding prevents another jump in the cost of those new features in 2023.
The council cut about $600,000 from its preliminary budget after making choices about how many new features to add.
The council chose to approve the recommendations of council chairwoman Lisa Olson, which come with a property tax of 121.49 mills, up from the 121.29 mills budgeted for this year. The actual levy for 2021 was lower than estimated in the 2021 budget once the province completed the property appraisals. The 2022 tax is also an estimate, subject to real estate valuation and tax credits.
Councilor Paul Pitner cast the sole vote against the budget. He favored a budget plan that would have kept the charge stable at 121.29 mills by adding five new positions — two coordinators, two bus drivers and a plumber inspector — and converting four part-time positions into full-time positions.
Olson’s recommendation adds six positions and moves the four part-time positions to full-time. The full-time positions include a police computer forensic technician, two emergency responders, a plumber inspector, a mechanic, and a senior building and grounds worker. The part-time positions that would move to full-time are an administrative clerk in Community Development, parts clerk/bus driver, building and grounds worker, and light equipment operator/landfill scale.
The preliminary budget included 18 new positions, including applications for heavy equipment operators, a police spokesperson, a fire chief, a GIS engineer, a water plant operator and a utility company.
“We just know there is a need for 2022, and I think these positions are needed. Again, the increase is so small,” said Olson. “I know we can’t say exactly what it is because we’re not at the end of the year yet, but there’s some evidence that it could be less than a $1 increase on a $100,000 property.”
Pitner said his desire is to avoid a factory tax hike, primarily to create a more conducive environment for the school district to pursue a bond issue for its facilities.
“These are not stupid investments in our staff or in our organization. I understand that our organization needs these features to improve service. But I think as a community as a whole, looking at some of our other incriminating entities, I want to be a good partner.” he said. “I want to give them the best chance of success.”
Olson replied that she believes her recommendation addresses the city’s immediate needs while keeping the school district’s ability to continue the bond issuance.
“I even quote Councilor Pitner from an earlier meeting when he said we take care of our own home,” she said. “I think we’re doing that with this budget, but we’re also listening to the needs of the community, recognizing that there are other community projects that will come forward, and hopefully we’ll be able to make all of these projects a reality. them.”
Mayor Shaun Sipma said the budget is “Do more with less” once inflation is included.
“Given the times, absolutely, I think it is very sensible, to the point of Councilor Pitner, to send the message loud and clear that we are doing our due diligence on this budget in anticipation of a bond coming forward. comes for a second high school in Minot,” he said.
Sipma also explained that the size of the budget is inflated by the cost of flood protection and the Northwest Area Water Supply project. “Communities of our size usually don’t have such large budgets, but communities of our size don’t usually build generational projects at the same time,” he said.
Taxation to support the 2022 budget is approximately $26 million.