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Published August 05 2012

Minot budget: Higher property taxes, water rates

MINOT, N.D. — Minot's City Council will be considering a request to add 62 city workers and raise property taxes and water rates to help pay for the increased spending.

The proposal includes 18 new police officers and seven firefighters. The public works department is asking for more equipment operators and maintenance workers.

The proposed budget also includes a 20 percent increase in the cost for water and sewer service and garbage collection, The Minot Daily News reported. That would raise a typical water user's bills by about $17 monthly.

The City Council has tentatively scheduled a public hearing on the budget Sept. 10.

Cindy Hemphill, the city's finance director, said the increases are needed to pay for Minot's share of paying for recovery projects after last year's Souris River flooding, which destroyed or damaged more than 4,000 homes.

There is also intense competition for labor in Minot, which is on the edge of western North Dakota's booming oil development, she said. The budget includes a proposed 10 percent increase on city spending on worker salaries and benefits.

“We are like everybody else. We are just having a hard time retaining employees because of competition from the oil field,” she said. “(Salary increases) are a little above what we would normally request.”

The blueprint would almost double total city spending, increasing it by $81 million, to $166.6 million. The increase includes $57 million in federal flood-recovery grants.

The plan represents a $619 increase in annual property taxes for every $100,000 of a home's value, the newspaper said.