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Bismarck approves slight increase to property tax for 2020

Photo Source: PublicDomainPictures.net / MGN
Photo Source: PublicDomainPictures.net / MGN(KALB)
Published: Aug. 7, 2019 at 9:08 PM CDT
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Property taxes are going up in Bismarck, but not by much.

Bismarck city commissioners came to agreement on a preliminary budget for 2020 on Wednesday morning. Commissioners spent more than four hours going through eight items on their budget agenda.

The first hot topic: salaries for employees. Those working for the city will be getting a 2.5 percent raise and the chance for a 1 percent merit based increase next year.

“I have a problem with this just because we don't let our managers manage if we could do that I would change my opinion,” Commissioner Greg Zenker said.

The big issues came up during the discussion on priority initiatives. Commissioner Nancy Guy requested funding for a full-time health maintenance nurse at public health for just over $90,000, much of which will be reimbursed through Medicaid. The other issue was funding about $650,000 to the fire and police departments for salary and benefits, with a large showing of officers and firefighters attending to show their support. Both were initially added to the mill levy, doubling the proposed two mill increase to 3.99. But commissioners decided instead to pull money from the general reserve fund, so taxpayers wouldn't see the dollars adding up even more on their bills.

“Even though that it's pretty minor or miniscule as far as what it costs a month, it still just all adds up, even though it's not much and it's very cheap,” Commissioner Steve Marquardt said.

Commissioners say one of the reasons for taxes to increase next year after going down the last couple years is that property values aren't increasing as much, so the city isn't seeing the same rise in revenue each year. The two mill increase will mean about $9 more in property taxes a year on a $100,0000 home.

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