Bismarck mayor on why COVID relief money couldn’t offset tax increase

Local News

With property taxes in Bismarck going up next year, Mayor Steve Bakken explains why federal COVID-19 relief money wasn’t able to offset those increases.

Bakken says Bismarck received about $10 million during the spring of last year, right when the pandemic began.

He says that money went to fund one-time costs, like the mass drive-through testing events that took place at the city’s event center.

North Dakota is expected to receive even more federal COVID relief dollars through the American Rescue Plan, which could mean more money for Bismarck.

But Bakken says that money currently hasn’t been approved by the state, so it can’t yet be allocated.

“I’ve got a firm policy in place — we don’t program a dime until we have that money. That’s just a bad way to do business. You don’t allocate those funds or program those funds until you have them in hand. Relying on something that might possibly could come, is a bad way to do business,” Bakken said.

State lawmakers are expected to approve and allocate the more than $1 billion from the American Rescue Plan during a special session in November.

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