Open seat to be filled

Council reorganizes, approves TIF

The Minot City Council seated a new mayor, put plans in motion for a fall election and approved Tax Increment Financing for development of downtown Minot’s most iconic building on Tuesday.

Council member Tom Ross was sworn in as mayor to replace Shaun Sipma, who had served two years on the council before being elected to a four-year term as mayor. Ross won the three-way race for mayor, defeating Sipma and Miranda Schuler on June 14.

The change opens the council seat held by Ross. The council voted to consider applicants for appointment at its July 18 meeting. The city will hold an election Nov. 8, in conjunction with the statewide general election, to fill what will be the remaining 1½ years in the term. Residents interested in seeking appointment have until July 13 at 4:30 p.m. to apply with the city clerk.

Prior to reorganization, the council unanimously approved a $2.55 million TIF that will benefit EPIC Companies in renovating the former Midwest Federal building, known as the Big M building. The city proposed to bond to provide EPIC the money, which will be used primarily to remediate asbestos. Property taxes on the renovated building are projected to increase from $9,350 a year to $249,900 a year. The city will commit 90% of the tax increase to pay off the bonds.

Figures provided by the city show the city committing $86,598 a year, the school district $79,382 a year and the park district $33,677 annually over the 20 years. The Ward County Commission approved 100% participation but only over eight years, amounting to $327,148.

“We really are excited about moving this project forward,” said Blake Nybakken, EPIC Companies’ chief operating officer. “We have officially bid demolition and asbestos. We are expecting to do a walk-through after the Fourth for all those contractors interested in that portion of the work, and to start work officially on that before the end of July.”

“This is a big thing for our community,” said council member Paul Pitner, who was later elected the council’s president during the reorganizational session. “I’m excited to see it move forward.”

Council member Stephan Podrygula, who was elected council vice president, singled out Ward County in particular for “having the courage to re-examine their prior decision, look at new data and reverse their position on that.”

The Ward County Commission failed to get a majority vote to participate initially as some commissioners sought more information and a greater involvement in the process.


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