A huge staff request for 62.5 new city positions goes to the Minot City Council this week as an addition to a proposed 2013 budget that would nearly double annual spending to $116.6 million.
Overall spending reflects the inclusion of $57 million in federal Community Development Block Grant spending. But even with the federal revenue, Minot taxpayers would see a property-tax increase for city services amounting to $12.80 on each $100,000 of home value.
That doesn't include any tax increases that might come with staff additions, which are being presented to aldermen as an alternative budget. Staff have ranked 40.5 of the positions as urgent needs, 13 positions as important and nine positions as needed.
Jill Schramm/MDN • A city employee hoses down equipment in the wash bay at the Minot Public Works Building Friday. The department is requesting staff additions for several equipment operators.
Eighteen of those positions are in the police department, including nine considered urgent. Of seven requests in the fire department, four are considered urgent. The public works department also is requesting a number of employees, from equipment operators to maintenance staff.
The financial impact of just filling the urgent needs adds 13.5 mills to the basic budget that calls for 79.51 mills, up from 76.67 mills levied in 2012. The 79.51 mills is estimated to raise $11.4 million and reflects property tax relief from sales tax revenue, which lowers the mill levy from an otherwise 102.55 mills.
The 13.5 mills would add $60 to the property tax bill for each $100,000 of home value.
Proposed 2013 budget highlights:
- Total spending, $166.6 million, up $81 million
- Total estimated mill levy, 79.51 mills, up from 76.67 mills
- Estimated tax on $150,000 house, $537, up $19
- Water, sewer, garbage increase averaging $17 a month
- Operating budget, $66 million, up from $46.3 million
- Spending on employee salary and benefits, $24 million
- 62.5 new staff positions requested
The value of a mill is estimated to increase 17 percent. The increase reflects higher assessed values of homes up 10 percent on average and city growth. The city added $8.5 million in new housing, hotel/motels and the commercial industry in the past year.
The budget also projects a 17 percent increase in sales tax collections.
Cindy Hemphill, city finance director, said the budget is up 27.5 percent excluding the CDBG money and the new staff requests. Water, sewer and garbage rates together are expected to go up 20 percent on average or about $17 a month for the typical customer using 1,200 cubic feet of water.
Hemphill said the budget increases reflect the local share necessary for flood recovery projects, capital improvement projects to keep up with growth and salary increases to compete in the market. The budget includes $2.2 million more than in 2012 to cover employee salaries and benefits. That's about a 10 percent increase.
"We are like everybody else. We are just having a hard time retaining employees because of competition from the oil field. Salaries are a little above what we would normally request," Hemphill said. "That's probably the biggest change that we are asking the city council to consider."
Major infrastructure projects proposed for 2013 include a downtown parking garage, northside sewer, southwest sewer, Sixth Street underpass improvements and airport improvements. Infrastructure projects total nearly $124.7 million and would be funded with federal and state dollars as well as bonding.
Hemphill said capital purchases would go up significantly under the budget. Those purchases include $750,000 to replace emergency dispatch software that is outdated and no longer serviced.
A public hearing on the budget is tentatively scheduled for Sept. 10.
|Urgent staff requests:|
|Public information officer||0.47|
|Part-time finance internal auditor||0.23|
|Seven police officers/cars||4.06|
|Two dispatchers||E911 funds|
|Assistant fire chief||0.63|
|Two fire fighters||0.87|
|Building, electrical, mechanical inspectors||0.33|
|Inspection administrative clerk||0.34|
|Traffic maintenance worker||0.36|
|Assistant city planner||0.56|
|Three heavy equipment operators, street||3.18|
|Four light equipment operators, street||1.02|
|Property maintenance worker||0.34|
|Two airport operation technician||airport revenue|
|Cemetery equipment operator||0.36|
|Garbage equipment operator||special fund|
|Two sanitation laborers||special fund|
|Landfill heavy equipment operator||special fund|
|Storm sewer maintenance, engineer||0.08|
|Five utility operators||special fund|
|Water/sewer administrative clerk||special fund|