Proposed Budget Increases City Levy by 2 Mills

The Mandan City Commission preliminarily approved a 2022 budget proposal during the Aug. 3 meeting. The proposed budget will increase the city levy from 63 mills to 65 mills.

The average property valuation increase was nearly 2.4% for the typical house in Mandan in 2021. This slight increase, coupled with the mill levy, equates to a $44 increase for the year on a $275,000 property, excluding any special assessments on the property.

Mandan residents will notice a $0.55 monthly increase for utility bill base charges, totaling $6.60 for the year. Of this increase, $0.05 is a contractual increase with Armstrong Sanitation for residential garbage collection and hauling services, and the remaining increase is a contractual increase with Waste Management for recycling services.

The City’s budget, as recommended by the budget and finance committee, totals $32.4 million. The contribution from property tax revenue is $5.5 million with the remainder covered through user fees, special assessments, sales tax revenue, funds received from other sources such as federal and state contributions, and existing fund balances.

The preliminary budget counts on a transfer of 76% of the 1% city sales tax collections to the general fund for property tax reduction and revenue stabilization. Without the sales tax contribution to the general fund, the property tax levy would need to be about 22 mills higher.

The draft budget includes a 1.6% salary adjustment following the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics employment cost index. It also reflects six new hires covered under the general fund: a full-time records technician and a full-time detective if a current grant is not extended for the police department, a full-time firefighter/EMT, a part-time real property appraiser assistant, part-time code enforcement officer and a part-time grounds maintenance laborer.

No major infrastructure projects are included in the preliminary budget, however, the Memorial Highway reconstruction project is anticipated to begin in 2022 with off-road work on the stormwater and sewer along the corridor. City staff and leaders are working to identify the funding mechanisms to be used for this project.

CARES Act funds. The City of Mandan received $2.9 million in CARES Act funds from the state in 2020. The State Emergency Commission encouraged cities to use this money to keep property tax mill rates as low as possible, benefiting all property taxpayers. The City plans to use the $2.9 million over the 2022 to 2024 budget cycles to help pay for general fund operations such as public safety and public works. The preliminary budget allocates spending $783,000 of the CARES Act funding in 2022.

“The City is not earmarking this money for any one expenditure,” says Finance Director Greg Welch. “Instead, it will be used to help pay for general fund operating expenses, spread over a three year period, to keep the City’s potential future mill levy increases as low as possible.”

City services only a portion of local property tax bill. City services currently account for about 24% 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 notify owners of estimated property taxes based on the preliminary 2022 budget. It will also include notice of the City Commission’s public hearing on the budget scheduled for Sept. 21 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 2022 city budget, contact the Finance Department, phone 701-667-3213. The preliminary budget documents are posted at cityofmandan.com/budget.