City Commission Approves 2023 Preliminary Budget

The Mandan City Commission preliminary approved a 2023 budget proposal during its Aug. 2 meeting. The proposed budget maintains the city levy at 64 mills. However, expenses for all funds combined are $986,000 higher than the 2022 budget. Rising costs of providing the same, basic City services is visible throughout the budget, including in the form of employee compensation, equipment, projects, operations and maintenance.

Mandan’s average residential property valuation increase was 9.6% in 2022. This coupled with the mill levy, equates to a $27 increase per $100,000 of true and full value for a residential property. This excludes any special assessments.

Residents will notice a $1.39 per month increase for utility charges, totaling about $17 for the year. This increase includes a water usage increase of $0.10 per unit (748 gallons) of water and contractual increases with both Armstrong Sanitation for residential garbage services and Waste Management for recycling services.

The City’s proposed budget totals $33.4 million. The contribution from property tax revenue is $6 million with the remainder covered through user fees, special assessments, sales and use tax revenue, funds received from other sources such as federal and state contributions, and existing reserve funds.

The preliminary budget counts on a transfer to the general fund of 65% or $2.1 million of the 1% city sales and use tax revenue for property tax reduction and revenue stabilization. Without the sales and use tax contribution, the property tax levy would need to be about 18 mills higher.

The draft budget includes a 4% salary adjustment. The budget and finance committee recommended approval of five Police Department promotions for retention and advancement. Also, the budget uses savings from vacant positions to address labor and market conditions for hard to fill positions, further aiding in retention of City employees.

Federal funds help. The City of Mandan plans to use $1.1 million of CARES Act funds in the 2023 budget to help with general fund operating expenses. Finance Director Greg Welch believes the City will be able to spread out the remaining $1.5 million CARES Act funds in both the 2024 and 2025 budgets as well. In 2020, cities were encouraged by the State Emergency Commission to use these funds to keep property tax mill rates as low as possible, benefiting all property tax payers.

To help balance the budget, the City will use $431,000 from the general fund balance for capital outlay; $490,000 from the street light utility fund to complete an LED street lights replacement project; as well as $560,000 from the water and sewer utility fund to purchase a vacuum tanker truck for the Public Works utility division used to clean sewer lines, storm drains and during repair of water line breaks.

“It’s tough to balance providing city services without overly burdening tax payers,” says Mayor Tim Helbling, “but the City is using fund reserves to help lessen the burden on our residents.”

City services only a portion of local property tax bill. City services currently account for about 22% of the total mill levy for Mandan property owners. The School District, Morton County and Park District services account for the remainder.

Public hearings. The Morton County treasurer, in accordance with state law, will mail letters by Aug. 31 to all property owners, notifying them of proposed changes in property taxes and public hearing dates for all taxing entities. The letters will provide estimated property taxes based on preliminary budgets. It will also include notice of the City Commission’s public hearing on the budget scheduled for Sept. 20 at 6 p.m. prior to final consideration. The hearing will take place at Mandan City Hall, 205 Second Ave NW.

For more information about the 2023 budget, contact the Finance Department at 701-667-3213. The preliminary budget documents are posted at cityofmandan.com/budget.