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City of Minot Finance Director and interim City Manager David Lakefield presented information to the City Council detailing eight priorities for consideration when work on the 2021 budget begins.
Lakefield said department heads submitted budget priorities, and the final list was created from that information.
The priorities include:
“We need to have direction on how we’re going to develop this next budget. I think in light of some of the events that have happened in the past six to eight weeks, we kind of know some of where that direction is going to lead us,” Lakefield said.
City Council member Stephen Podrygula expressed concern that the budget priorities were created without input from the council, a practice that has been in place for the past couple of years.
“The problem I have is with the process. The prior year, the council was in charge of setting priorities as a whole and delegating those to the City Manager. This time the priorities were set by the executive leadership of the Council and the City Manager, and I don’t like that,” he said. “I think in the future it has to start with the Council. I think the Council is responsible for setting those broad parameters and that shouldn’t be delegated to anybody.”
Alderman Mark Jantzer said he supported the eight priorities submitted, but also wanted to make sure the budget prioritizes the continued support of essential city services.
“Obvously that’s assumed, but I think that’s an important thing for us to remember,” Jantzer said.
Council member Lisa Olson also supported the submitted priorities, but requested that the Council be provided with as much data as possible from the City’s finance department as they begin crafting the 2021 budget.
The 2020 budget was approximately $274 million, which included approximately $95 million spent on Northwest Area Water Supply project, highway projects, capital purchases, water projects, and ongoing flood protection work that must be accounted for in the overall budget. The $95 million for projects included roughly $55 million in federal and state funding. In regards to the $40 million in City money, the City has been allocating money for specific projects for years, and now those funds have to be put into the budget in order for the City to spend them for the designated purposes.
Key dates in the 2021 budget schedule:
May 4: City Council outlines budget priorities
May 19: Income estimates due from Finance Department
June 15: Annual Plan presentation to Civil Service Commission
June 23: Budget workshop at City Council reorganization meeting
June 22: Annual Pay Plan public meeting
Aug. 3: Proposed budget and Annual Plan presented to City Council
Aug. 17: City Council – budget Q&A as part of regular meeting - 5:30 p.m.
Aug. 26: President of the Council’s budget message due
Sept. 7: City Council meeting – first reading, public hearing on budget - 5:30 p.m.
Sept. 21: City Council meeting - final adoption of budget - 5:30 p.m.