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Posted on: August 7, 2019

City releases preliminary budget for 2020

City Manager Tom Barry introduced the largest budget in Minot’s history on Aug. 5, while at the same time reporting to the City Council that the City’s portion of residents’ property tax bills will be lower than it was in 2019.

The preliminary budget Barry presented to the Council for 2020 was $275 million, a $95 million increase over the 2019 budget due to committed expenses. But the City’s mill levy for the 2019 budget was 129.23 mills, while the proposed 2020 budget will drop that mill levy to 121.29.

How is that possible?

In April, the City’s Recreation and Auditorium Department was transferred to Minot Park District, which reduced the City’s levy by nearly 8 mills. Consequently, the City’s property tax portion will be reduced by approximately 6 percent in 2020.

“I would venture to say that the 2020 budget is probably the largest this city has ever developed. It’s astonishing for the size of our town,” Barry said. “Not all that money is coming from the City. That’s the big misnomer. Oh, my gosh, where’d you guys get an extra $95 million? What have you been sitting on? That’s not the case.”

What is the additional $95 million for in the preliminary budget?

  • $25.9 million for flood control construction
  • $31.8 million is spending sales tax money for flood control projects outside the city limits
  • $9.3 million is for highway projects
  • $8.7 million for capital purchases
  • $11.7 million is for water projects

While a $95 million budget increase looks daunting, in reality, less than half of that total is actually coming from the City; $55 million will come from federal and state funding sources for capital projects. In regard 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. Projects like flood control and the Northwest Area Water Supply have a local cost share of 35 percent, which is solely funded by local sales taxes.

Barry reported that several revenue sources have been adjusted upward for 2020:

  • Online sales taxes collected beginning October 2019 and are projected to be about $100,000-$250,000
  • Hub city funding is expected to increase by approximately $2.7 million annually more than in previous year
  • Interest income is expected to increase by about $700,000 more than 2017

In addition, expenses continue to be monitored and in many instances, reduced, including:

  • City is down 15 positions from 2018
  • Reduced operations costs by about $5 million since 2018
  • Community facilities funds have all been redirected to flood control
  • Grants and donations are down approximately $600,000 since 2018

The presentation of the preliminary 2020 budget to the full City Council is the first step in a long process before the budget becomes official.

  • The City Council will host a question and answer session on Aug. 19 at 4:15 p.m.  in Room 201 of the Minot Municipal Auditorium
  • City Council President Mark Jantzer’s budget message due on Sept. 3
  • On Sept. 16, the first reading of the budget will be held during the Council’s Sept. 16 meeting
  • The budget will be formally adopted at a special Council meeting on Sept. 23

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