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Local budget processes raise taxing challenge

Local governments and schools are beginning to draft and release preliminary budgets for next year, and the process isn’t without its challenges.

Counties, cities, parks and schools all have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. The changes occurring in the oil industry also will affect revenue for many of these entities in the coming year. While holding the line on property taxes will be difficult, it is particularly important at this time to do so, given the difficulties and uncertainties facing businesses and residents during this pandemic.

Minot Public Schools is looking at a $3 million deficit in its preliminary budget. Ward County commissioners have a meeting scheduled today to grapple with the budget, and the City of Minot continues to look for ways to save as it develops its proposed spending plan. Minot Park District has released a preliminary budget that accomplishes what needs to happen – little increase in spending and basically a flat mill levy.

Residents will be watching with interest as budgets are finalized. There will be opportunities for citizens to voice their support or concerns for spending decisions. Taxing entities will be holding budget hearings this fall, but there also are alternative avenues through phone calls, emails or other written communication for people to connect with their elected officials and make their opinions known.

Although there may be differences of opinion on specifics, the public and their government boards surely share a common goal. No one wants to see taxes go up during trying economic times

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