Several Minot residents voiced their displeasure with the city’s 2019 budget last night.
That budget requires an 18% increase in the city’s share of property tax revenues next year.
And it follows an even-larger increase this year.
Jim Olson reports on what citizens are saying, and how city leaders are responding.
(Jim Soltis, Minot Resident) “I propose a sales tax increase of some sort.”
One after another…
(Robert Hodge, Minot Resident) “Maybe we need to take a step back and not try and do everything at once.”
Citizens came to the microphone…
(Jonah Lantto, Minot Resident) “I just wonder if there aren’t more creative ways to make money.”
Pleading with the city council to find a way to chop the size of the budget increase.
(Mike Enslin, Minot Resident) “A lot of people are moving out of Minot, you see the houses for sale. They’re moving because they can’t afford it.”
On that point, City Assessor Kevin Ternes disagreed…
(Kevin Ternes, City Assessor) “I’m not aware of anyone that has been booted out of their home because of property tax because if it’s down to that, they qualify for homestead credit.”
But on the larger point – that the city is about to hit property owners with a second straight year of double-digit tax increases – city leaders had to agree.
(Tom Barry, Minot City Manager) “We are undoing a long history here and it is painful and I acknowlede that and wish it was different.”
That ‘long history’ includes a ten-year period when the city relied on one-time income and money from sales tax collections to soften property tax increases.
(Josh Wolsky, Council Member) “We have been hiding the cost of our government from ourselves.”
(Tom Barry, Minot City Manager) “The reality is that the increase in Minot property taxes from 2006 to 2016 was about 10% over that entire period. Yet the cost of living was double that.”
Mayor Shaun Sipma says one key thing will make sure such tax hikes end – expanding the tax base.
(Shaun Sipma, Minot Mayor) “Build the base. Build a base of properties and economic development and that is the best model for creating revenue that otherwise wouldn’t be here.”
But for the many people fed up with major hits on their family budgets from the yearly property tax bill, it’s still a bitter pill to swallow.
(Ernie Medalen, Minot Resident) “Why does this all have to be made up in two years?”
Jim Olson, KX News.
The final reading of the 2019 budget is scheduled for next Tuesday at Minot City Hall.