KX Conversation: Jeff Heintz on Bismarck’s budget after a very unusual winter

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Jeff Heintz, the Director of Service Operations for the City of Bismarck, joined our March 15 edition of KX Conversation to discuss this very unusual winter we had, with hardly any snow.

We asked Heintz how the budget works and if they have any idea of how much money has been saved this year.

Heintz said they have one total budget that they operate within, meaning they aren’t budgeted by projects — like a snow budget. He said the savings would be on the fuel side, equipment repair and overtime, for example.

“I was just looking at our budget last year, we only spent 50% of our diesel fuel budget. Overtime, again, was quite low. And equipment repair costs were down because we weren’t moving that heavy equipment, pushing snow and having breakdowns, so we saved there. But overall, we’ve been struggling here in Bismarck because the largest portion of our revenue comes from the motor vehicle fuel sales and the licensing that takes place across the state. Every city and county receives motor vehicle fuel or highway tax funds, and in Bismarck, what our problem has been is the growth in centerline miles of streets and the number of people moving to Bismarck has not been matched by the revenues that we’re receiving from the state, so that’s primarily what we’ve been using for years to fund our roads and street department. So because of those shortfalls, we’ve been having to cut back. So these types of winters help us in the big picture. But the big question is, how do we make up that difference moving forward? We’ve got people that want to live in Bismarck, but we don’t have the revenue stream coming in to compliment that,” Heintz said.

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