A new proposal to the Office of Management and Budget would strip Bismarck of its metropolitan status — and potentially put millions of dollars in federal funding at risk.
143 other cities also would be on the chopping block under the new plan, which raises the population threshold to be considered a metro from 50,000 people to 100,000.
Despite the city’s growth, Bismarck could narrowly miss that number according to community development director Ben Ehreth, who says the city is teetering right around the 100,000 mark, but it’s close.
He says the implications could mean fewer federal dollars going toward transportation, housing and other programs tied to population.
“We see this as kind of the first step, if the OMB changes their definition. It’s our concern that other federal funding programs will follow suit. There have been a variety of federal funding programs who have independently over the past several years been trying to increase population thresholds to qualify for various funding programs, and we see this move to make it just that much easier,” Ehrenth said.
Ehreth says $2.5 to $3.5 million a year could disappear under the new proposal. He says Minot and Grand Forks could also be at risk.