President’s message: Aspirations into action
The task before me is to share my recommendations regarding the City of Minot 2022 Proposed Annual Budget. I don’t view this as a stand alone opinion, but rather a culmination of the work that we have done collectively over the past few months.
Under the leadership of our city manager, input from all of our department heads and goals that we developed during our council retreat, we have a proposed budget before us. As we delve into the budget process, it is important for all of us to revisit our newly penned Magic City Aspirations.
– Dynamic and Prosperous: Minot is a thriving and vibrant community, built on a spirit of sharing strengths, a commitment to sustainable strategic growth and investments in targeted partnerships.
– Resilient and Prepared: Minot rises up and is positioned to meet the challenges and opportunities of the future.
– Safe and Welcoming: Minot is a caring community where people feel safe and engaged, with opportunities to celebrate our histories and diverse identities.
– Excellent and Connected: Minot is an innovative, professional, fiscally stable city government that works collaboratively with residents and community stockholders to deliver high quality services.
Looking into the future is somewhat difficult, because we are still experiencing the impacts of COVID-19. We breathed a sigh of relief when the North Dakota State Fair returned in July, but we are keenly aware of the losses incurred due to the postponement of the Norsk Hostfest and the absence of visits from our Canadian friends and family. Dollars brought into our community are key to not only budget stability, but growth. Now, more than ever, investments in economic development are vital! With all of that, I still sense a level of optimism for 2022, with the move of City Hall to downtown Minot, continued work on a Center for Technical Excellence, construction on Fire Station 5 and improvements to our current City Hall retaining wall.
Projects within our community, including construction on Trinity Hospital, the Magic City Discovery Center and the MSU Summer Theater enhance my belief that Minot is moving forward to meet the needs of our citizens. It is a good time to live, work and play in Minot and our proposed budget reflects it.
During our June City Council retreat, we discussed at length our support for a second public high school within the Minot Public School District. As community partners, we agreed that our verbal support and actions will relay this message to the voters. It is my belief that our staff took this directive into consideration as they developed a budget. While lending our support is important, we must remember that we are elected to consider the needs within the City of Minot.
I believe that our greatest asset is our employees and that we are tasked to hire and retain employees that carryout the municipal services that our residents expect. As elected officials, we are responsible for equipping our staff to successfully do their job. In some instances, the tools that are necessary are additional personnel. We have been asked to consider adding 18 new positions in addition to approving the employee pay plan. I do believe that all positions are necessary, but perhaps not all in 2022. Using the Magic City Aspirations as my guide, I recommend approval on the following positions, to be fully funded through the General Fund: Police Department computer forensics technician; dispatcher; dispatcher; plumbing inspector; mechanic; property maintenance senior; Non-career Positions – administrative clerk-Community Development (part-time to full-time), parts clerk/bus driver (part-time to full-time), building & grounds worker (part-time to full-time), light equipment operator/scale attendant (part-time to full-time). As well as the following positions, which are funded through enterprise funds: GIS technician, recycling coordinator, water plant operation 1, utility operator 1.
This would give us an estimated mil levy of 121.49, compared to last year’s mil levy of 121.29. Although there is a very slight increase, I believe that the new positions are both vital and timely. With the positions listed above, I recommend approval of the 2022 proposed budget, including cuts of $265,798 that staff determined were acceptable for the upcoming year. I am thankful that our staff and management team have done a thorough job in prioritizing expenses.
As we move into the first and second reading of the proposed 2022 budget, I encourage discussion and debate among the Council members as well as from community members. When we put our aspirations into practice, our community will see the benefits.