Many cities in North Dakota have had to make cuts to their 2017 budget.
This is due to sales tax dropping in the past 2 years.
Emily Medalen has details on why these cuts are being made, and the effects it may have on residents.
(Emily Medalen, KX News)
The city of Minot is proceeding cautiously into 2017.
This is due to a 30% drop in state aid, and a 20% decline in city sales tax collections.
(Cindy Hemphill, City of Minot Finance Director) “I’ve been the finance director for 10 years, and this is the first time we’ve seen a drop of this significance, so it’s a fairly big deal.
The drop in state aid is due largely to reduction in oil over the past 2 years, especially following the growth the city experienced during the boom.
In the past 4 years, the city’s debt has increased about 165%.
(Cindy Hemphill, City of Minot Finance Director) “Our population and everything has increased, and then when you see a reduction in the revenues, then you really start to feel that squeeze of trying to provide the services that, again, the citizens expect – but with less revenue to support those services.”
According to Hemphill, there has been no reduction in staff.
The board has made cuts in other areas, but she says the city is committed to keeping service the same as it always has been.
(Cindy Hemphill, City of Minot Finance Director) We’ve reduced travel, we’ve reduced some of the training for staff, we’ve reduced some of the supplies… different things like that. Hopefully, the general public won’t see any reduction in services, because that’s what we’re here for is to provide public safety, street maintenance, and different things like that.”
She added that if more cuts need to be made, they would likely be in street maintenance or improvements.
(Cindy Hemphill, City of Minot Finance Director) “As we move forward, we will have to continue to watch our budgets carefully if further reductions need to be made.”
She says the plan was carefully made in May of last year, and they are working every day not to stray far from it.
In Minot, Emily Medalen, KX News.”
Hemphill points out that the city will proceed with projects that have already begun in the new year carefully.
She says they are already looking at possible budget cuts to projects in 2018.