MINOT, N.D. (KXNET) — Minot has more than 45,000 people who live in city limits, and a budget of $200 million for 2024, but some of the burden of cutting $17 million from that budget was put on homeowners, and they have other ideas for how to lower city costs.

“What you as a city council can do, is stop raising our taxes,” said Minot Resident, Larry Bellew.

Minot homeowners recently received a property tax form telling people about their rate increases, prompting some to speak out during the city budget portion of the Minot City Council meeting.

“Over the past seven years, you, the city council, the city, have increased my property taxes by a wapping 76.79%,” Bellew explained to City Council members.

People continued to express their concerns about how money is being spent and how local officials are cutting the $17 million gap in next year’s budget.

“We keep getting warned about the cost of public safety and how any change in funding or taxation immediately means that the fire department won’t show up when we call. I would ask you to stop the histrionics,” Minot neighbor, Mike Blessum said. “The idea that the first thing we would cut is fire or police coverage is an irresponsible lie.”

While trying to minimize those zeros, council members are increasing garbage collection fees, commercial utility prices, property taxes, and more.

“One of the biggest increases, and probably the biggest increase in this budget is the Puppy Dog Coulee project,” said Scott Samuelson. “$16 million, a project which should have been done 10 years ago at a third of the cost. You have at least one type of project like this every year. So, I would think your budget would go down every year, but it never does.”

But city council members didn’t change property tax prices much and approved the $200 million budget on its first reading.

At the meeting, council members also approved an additional $600,000 for the Minot Water Treatment Plant for this year.