Bismarck property owners to see small spike in utility fees

BISMARCK, N.D. - Beginning next month, Bismarck Property owners can expect to see a small hike on their public works bill.

if you have a water meter you can expect to see a $2.50 fee tacked on to your monthly bill.

The commission backed away from its initial proposal to charge a $7.50-fee-a-month for all landowners, which would have included vacant lots.

The city didn't have the money it needed to fund all the infrastructure projects it had planned, so raising rates was a viable option.

However, charging an extra $2.50 for those with water lines instead of $7.50 for any property still means cuts will need to be made.

"If we didn't suspend the projects, I couldn't in good conscience suspend the funding, so that's why I voted no. But that's also why at the end of the meeting I made the motion to also suspend the projects that were tied to the funding," said Bismarck City Commissioner Josh Askvig.

Developers were among those pleased with the lower rates.

"It's wise that the city is taking a closer look at how this fits rather than just plugging some numbers in to some places, we appreciate that," said Tim Atkinson, a member of the Manufactured Home Community Group.

Once city leaders talked with property owners, they knew it would be necessary to make changes.

"And we were able to demonstrate the impact that those changes would have on our community that we didn't have a chance to share with them previously. And those impacts were substantial," said Dot Frank, executive officer of the Bismarck Mandan Home Builders Association.

She says she looks forward to better communication with the city in the future.

Mayor Mike Seminary says the budget is in a state of limbo currently because of this unique pause in the history of the city of Bismarck.

Many agree that city officials did a good job with listening to the constituents.