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The Minot City Council approved a 2018 budget that includes an operating budget of $101.6 million, and an estimated 106.46 mills. For the owner of a home valued at the median level of $182,000, property taxes will rise about $192.
The Council held special meetings on Sept. 14 and Sept. 21 to discuss and eventually pass the 2018 budget. The final version was adopted after several lengthy discussions among members of the City Council and several appearances from members of the public.
At the Sept. 14 meeting, members of the Council asked City Manager Tom Barry and City staff to find deeper budget cuts in order to save planned 3.5 percent pay raises for City employees. Barry and department heads found an additional $531,622 in cuts, which were presented at the Sept. 21 meeting, but the Council instead opted to approve the 2018 budget with no changes from the Sept. 14 meeting. That means 2018 pay raises for City employees won’t be implemented until July, effectively cutting the raises in half.
The list of 41 budget reductions proposed by Barry to maintain the full pay raises for City employees included eliminating a recycling transfer station, some extra help, the purchase of an air compressor and a street mower, and attending a conference.
In his budget recommendation, City Council President Mark Jantzer proposed shifting funds from the city’s sales tax that had been earmarked for the MAGIC Fund and the Community Facilities Fund to flood control. The Council amended the cutting of money to the MAGIC Fund to be for only one year. The funding redirection will provide an estimated $3.55 million for flood control projects. Sales tax funds for Minot Area Development Corp. will be $365,000, and the $90,000 budgeted for Minot Air Force Base retention efforts will remain the same.
Voting for the final 2018 budget were Mayor Chuck Barney and aldermen Josh Wolsky, Shawn Sipma, Shannon Straight, and Mark Jantzer. Voting against the final budget were aldermen Stephan Podrygula and Lisa Olson.
The City of Minot is one of four entities that levy property taxes in Minot. In an average homeowner’s property tax bill, 38.2 percent goes to the Minot Public School, 27.5 percent to the City of Minot, 22.8 percent to Ward County, and 11.1 percent to the Minot Park District.