Ward County Commissioners finalize 2020 budget

MINOT, N.D. – Ward County residents could see their property taxes go down by just under $100 next year.

The County Commissioners approved the 2020 budget following a special public hearing Wednesday night at the Ward County Administration Building.

For a home valued at $200,000, county property taxes would go down roughly $97.

The commissioners made a few other 11th-hour funding changes to the budget, from for the county’s "Pioneer Village" budget to the controversial Weather Modification program.

The commissioners reduced the "Pioneer Village" 2020 budget by $17,260 to get it within the correct mill levy amount. The "Pioneer Village" portion of the budget encompasses Ryder, Makoti, Lake Region, and Ward County.

They also reduced the 2020 budget for the Weather Modification program from $174,000 to $55,500 to allow the program to function at least through a vote in June, where Ward County voters will decide whether to continue the project.

The commissioners also voted to cap county employee salary increases at $5,000, plus 1.5 percent, and to create a budget stabilization fund for the extra money to go in to for the following year.

The county will have an independent survey conducted of employee salaries.

The county auditor is making the adjustments to the preliminary budget before it is sent to the state.