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Posted on October 20, 2020 at 10:45 AM by Bryan Obenchain
We need your help.
Do you know someone who deserves to be recognized as our community’s Citizen of the Year? We bet you do, and we’d love to have you share their story with us.
As part of the 2021 State of the City event, we’re seeking nominations for Minot’s Citizen of the Year. All you have to do is make a short (1 minute to 5 minute) video telling us why this person should be recognized and submit it to the City. We’ll take it from there.
The winning video will be included in the annual State of the City event on Feb. 2. The subject of the winning video will have a $1,000 donation made in their name to their favorite Minot charity, courtesy of First International Bank & Trust. The creator of the top video will win $100 in Minot Chamber of Commerce bucks, courtesy of Farmers Union Insurance.
Submissions are due by Dec. 23, and can be submitted to the City of Minot via a link on the City’s website at www.minotnd.org/mayorschallenge.
What does citizen of the year mean? Well, that depends on who you ask.
As we all know, 2020 has been a very trying year, to say the least. Despite COVID-19 disrupting our lives, there are countless stories of good deeds – and the people responsible for them - that too often go unnoticed. We’d like to change that. This contest is an opportunity to share a positive, uplifting message with your fellow community residents.
It could be someone who has had a significant impact on your personal life, like a teacher, a coach, your best friend, or a relative who makes a positive difference on your life. Maybe it’s a neighbor who takes care of little things to make your neighborhood a better place to live, or a veteran who shares their life experiences to help educate younger generations. It could be a longtime volunteer with a local charity, or an elected official or a board member who has made an impact on the entire community.
The simple truth: It could be anybody.
Everyone has a story to tell, and that’s the point of this contest. Our people have always provided the real magic in Minot. Our sense of community spirit and pride is visible and palpable; sometimes we take that pride for granted, and we fail to see the goodness that is right in front of us. Take a good look at our community, and you’ll see our real identity. You’ll see it in the little things people do for each other every day, and you’ll see it in the large community-wide projects that help shape and define our city.
Minot is a great place to live, work, and play; our people make that true. This contest is an opportunity to showcase some of our best people, both in front of the lens and behind the camera.
We appreciate the sponsors who helped make this contest possible. Community partners play a vital role in the continued success of our city. Thank you for contributing to this project that aims to recognize the best of our community.
We’re looking forward to the seeing your videos, and to learning about someone who has touched your life or the lives of other Minot residents. Our community is full of extraordinary people, and we can’t wait to discover some of their stories.
Sincerely, City Hall.
You can find more about what’s happening at the City of Minot at minotnd.org, or find us on Facebook and Twitter. We’d also encourage you to sign up for our monthly electronic newsletter on our website.
Posted on October 5, 2020 at 8:35 AM by Bryan Obenchain
It doesn’t seem like that long ago since the Minot City Council approved the 2020 budget, and, yet we’ve already approved the 2021 budget. And, like every year, we thank members of the public for being part of the process.
We were happy to hear from members of the community, as the public’s input is a welcome and valued part of the budgeting process. Department heads and Council members must consider the best interests of the entire community when crafting a municipal budget, and public input is an important piece of the puzzle.
The City of Minot’s approved budget for 2021 does not include any property tax increases. The 2021 budget is $143.5 million, a 47.48 percent reduction from the record $273.3 million budget for 2020. The 2020 mill levy of 121.29 is set to remain the same for 2021.
Why such a dramatic difference from 2020? Mostly, it’s due to a decline or completion of large capital projects and a change in the way some expenses are represented within the budget; in this case, those expenses are huge.
The City continues to fund flood protection and the Northwest Area Water Supply project, but the money for those projects that comes from our state and federal partners is no longer included in the city budget at the recommendation of auditors. Those figures had been included in the 2020 budget, but much of that money goes directly to contractors. Essentially, in many cases the City plays the role of a pass-through entity. So while the total budget looks much different this year, rest assured the City continues to push forward on the two largest infrastructure projects in our community’s history.
Spending on major projects is set to be down in 2021, with the only large new expenditures being a $2 million water main upsizing on Broadway and an increase of approximately $1 million to the street department. In 2020, the Council delayed construction of a fifth fire station planned in northwest Minot and a retaining wall project near City Hall; both projects have partial funding in the 2021 budget.
The 2021 budget represents countless hours of work by City of Minot employees and Council members. Officially, the budget process begins in early spring every year, and continues until final approval in September or October, but it’s essentially a year-round process because being good stewards of the public’s money is constantly on the minds of City employees and the Council.
Every budget cycle includes its own challenges, but the budget process this year has certainly been unique. Because of the financial uncertainty created by the coronavirus pandemic, we tasked City department heads with looking for ways to be creative with their budget requests. We challenged them to think differently. We gave them direction, and we encouraged them to find ways to keep the City’s property tax rate flat for the upcoming year. And they responded.
Thanks to everyone’s hard work and collaboration, we put together a budget that doesn’t raise property taxes. We put some projects on hold to help us remain financially flexible. We held the line on fees charged by the City. We included incremental pay raises for City employees as we strive to maintain our low turnover rates. And we did this in the face of an ongoing pandemic that continues to wreak havoc with our economy and cloud our financial forecasting. I’m proud of the 2021 budget we constructed and approved.
To the members of the City staff and those members of the public who participated in the budget process, I say thank you. You all play an important role in the City of Minot’s budgeting process.
Posted on September 21, 2020 at 9:31 AM by Bryan Obenchain
We’re no strangers to natural disasters here in Minot. The details of the 2011 flood and other natural disasters and accidents in our community have been well-documented through the years. But so have the overwhelming examples of support our community has received in those times of need.
When Minot needed help, agencies and volunteers from across this great country reached out with assistance ranging from financial help to cleanup work to construction expertise. Volunteers have worked shoulder-to-shoulder with us cleaning up after disasters. Volunteers have helped our residents reconstruct their childhood homes and their businesses.
Now, it’s our turn to extend a helping hand.
Four members of the Minot Fire Department left town on Tuesday, and have arrived in Oregon where they and other North Dakota firefighters will assist crews battling raging wildfires that have killed numerous people, destroyed entire towns, and scorched thousands of acres.
Capt. Casey Meadows, Senior Firefighter Will Decoteau, Senior Firefighter Jason West, and Senior Firefighter Jon Hanson volunteered to represent Minot in the growing group of firefighters from across the United States that is gathering in Oregon and other western states. They are ready to assist in any way they can.
As expected, there were many Minot firefighters who volunteered for the 18-day trip, according to Assistant Fire Chief Lonnie Sather. But the request was for staffed equipment, so the four firefighters and Minot’s Engine 1 was what we could provide while maintaining proper fire protection for our community.
Meadows, Decoteau, West, and Hanson joined other firefighters in Oregon, where their primary mission will include structural fire support, and potentially responding to calls for service in communities that have lost their own fire departments because of the wildfires. The Minot crew won’t be fighting wildfires, as they haven’t been trained for that specialty, but they will be supporting those crews that are on the front lines.
If you’re surprised that firefighters from across the United States, including Minot, quickly volunteered to help their colleagues, then you must not personally know any firefighters. Their profession is all about protecting communities and people from the threat of fire, whether it’s in Minot or any of the countless communities halfway across the country that have been devastated by wildfires.
We’re proud that the Minot Fire Department responded to this call for help. It’s what they do every day on the job. Firefighters and law enforcement officers are a different breed. When other members of society flee from danger, whether it’s a fire or criminal activity, these men and women routinely run toward the danger. Yes, I know it’s their job, but we must never take our first responders for granted. Every time you hear a siren, remember that those folks responding to an emergency are human beings who have chosen a life of service, despite its inherent dangers. They are not nameless, faceless employees. They are our fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, husbands, wives, friends, and neighbors.
In this case, they are Capt. Casey Meadows, Senior Firefighter Will Decoteau, Senior Firefighter Jason West, and Senior Firefighter Jon Hanson. To them and their families, our community offers its unwavering support for this mission and your ongoing duty of protecting Minot. You are in our collective thoughts until you all return safely from this call for service.
God speed, and stay safe.