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Minot Mayor Shaun Sipma discussed accomplishments of 2019 and the challenges that lie ahead of the City of Minot in 2020 during his State of the City address.
Minot Mayor Shaun Sipma highlighted accomplishments from 2019 and outlined the City of Minot’s vision for 2020 and beyond during the third annual State of the City on Feb. 6.
“As much as we’re here today to reflect upon our challenges and accomplishments of 2019 – and there were many of both – our larger purpose is to envision and embrace the opportunities before us as a community,” Sipma told the crowd at Magic City Campus’ Arvel Graving Theatre. “Some of those opportunities, like flood control, are daunting and will require massive amounts of time, work, and money to complete. Others, like the 2020 Census, are simpler and require far less time and effort to achieve success. Yet both projects – and many others - are vital to secure the future of Minot and its residents.”
Several times during his roughly 45-minute presentation, the mayor focused on the theme for this year’s State of the City: One voice, one mission, one Minot.
“If we are to successfully face our challenges in 2020, our collective voices must resonate as one. If we are to strategically guide our community through one of the most important times in its history, our mission must be a common one. If Minot is to continue to grow and prosper, we must stand together as one community,” Sipma said. “One voice. One mission. One Minot.”
The mayor detailed how working together with community partners and residents in 2020 is vital to the success of the community, noting that 2020 is a Census year, and having an accurate count of Minot’s population is critical.
“We believe an accurate count will show Minot’s population is more than 50,000, which would entitle Minot to more federal funding, perhaps as much as $400,000 annually, for infrastructure and other projects,” he said. “Many local agencies depend on federal funding to help area residents, and that funding is often based on population and poverty levels; an accurate population count is vital to the mission of those agencies.”
The mayor also noted that by working together with community partners and Minot-area legislators at the 2019 Legislature, Minot was able to secure funding for both the flood protection project and the Northwest Area Water Supply project. In addition, changes to the hub city formula will provide up to $6 million more per biennium that Minot can use for infrastructure projects.
Programs related to the $74.3 million Minot was awarded through Housing and Urban Development’s National Disaster Resilience contest were also successful in 2019, and more projects related to NDR will be happening in the future. The Resilient Homebuyer Program had nearly 100 applicants in 2019, with dozens of applications going through the eligibility and verification process. Blu on Broadway is a mixed-use project that will combine commercial space with 42 units of low-to-moderate income housing; an environmental review is under way, and construction is expected to begin this summer or fall.
“All of this is being done to build a more resilient Minot by assisting our most vulnerable population, protecting our critical infrastructure, and ensuring that more residents are permanently out of harm’s way,” Sipma said.
During the speech, Sipma also unveiled the Barksdale Trophy, which is awarded to the community that has provided the highest level of support to a base in the Air Force Global Strike Command. Minot recently won the award, and the trophy will remain here for two years. Sipma thanked Minot Air Force Base leaders and members of Task Force 21 for their ongoing partnership.
“Minot has always had a supportive and positive relationship with Minot Air Force Base, and now we have proof that this relationship is stronger than ever,” the mayor said.
The City conducted a “Minot Through Your Eyes” photography contest in the weeks prior to the Feb. 6 event. Rick Heit of Minot was announced as the winner of the contest, and was honored on stage with a $150 award.
Before discussing the City’s future, Sipma highlighted accomplishments from 2019, including progress on the Mouse River Enhanced Flood Protection Plan, reducing the City’s employee turnover rate that translated into a savings of more than $1.5 million, and a project under way that will replace the out-of-date software systems to help the Finance Department modernize its business practices throughout City departments.
He also thanked all of Minot’s first responders, and specifically honored Jason Olson, who recently retired after 32 years in the Minot Police Department, including nearly eight years as Minot’s police chief.
“You’ve made Minot a better and safer place to live, while you, Lisa, and the rest of your family made countless personal sacrifices,” Sipma said to Olson and his wife, Lisa, a member of the City Council. “On behalf of the City of Minot and its residents, thank you.”
City of Minot department heads held a traveling City Hall prior to the State of the City address, where they answered questions and provided information to members of the public. A social hour followed the mayor’s presentation.