MINOT, N.D. - With less than a month to approve a final budget for 2018, Minot's aldermen are pushing for more cuts.
At Thursday night's first reading of the budget, the aldermen debated cuts to employee salaries, the city's Magic Fund, and the proposed recycling plant.
Minot's aldermen approved a recommendation from Council President Mark Jantzer to essentially freeze city employee salaries for the first half of next year, meaning scheduled raises would not go into effect until July.
“This is tough,” said Alderman Shannon Straight, when discussing the proposed freeze.
Aldermen Stephan Podrygula and Lisa Olson showed concern over the move.
“I don't know that saving an additional $500,000 is going to make a difference at the cost of exacerbating our problems with work force,” said Podrygula.
“The employees of the city of Minot are the ones who provide those services, and if we can't compensate them equitably, we're going to lose those employees,” said Olson.
The council also greenlit an amended version of Jantzer's recommendation to redirect the first penny of sales tax from the city's Magic Fund to flood protection, to the tune of more than $820,000—but only for next year, and directed Minot Mayor Chuck Barney to form a task force on economic growth.
“We have to do a better job of conveying to the larger audience and the state that the city of Minot is open for business,” said Straight.
In the largest proposed cut during first reading, the aldermen chose to put off construction of the city's recycling facility for next year, saving $2.25 million. The city will continue with design of the project, but won't break ground.
These are all proposals at this point, and City Manager Tom Barry will continue to look for more cuts before the council adopts its final budget.
There will be a second reading of the budget next week Thursday, Sept. 21 at 6:30 p.m. in the council chambers.
You can find the proposed city budget here: http://www.minotnd.org/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/378