Committee looks into demolition bids, taxi cab fares

A Minot firm is low bidder on a city contract to demolish homes on property that the City of Minot has acquired for flood protection.

The Minot City Council’s Finance and Improvements Committee voted Tuesday to recommend the council accept the bid of about $1.66 million from Dig It Up Backhoe to remove structures and water and sewer lines and restore the sites. The city received six bids.

Funding is available from the North Dakota State Water Commission and Community Development Block Grants – Disaster Recovery.

The committee also is recommending the council approve a rate increase request for Taxi 9000 and Central Cab Co.

The companies requested the rate increase to address employee turnover and provide competitive wages and to cover rising costs of gasoline and vehicle repairs. Under the new rates, a trip of 1.83 miles, or about 25 blocks, would cost $9.15 rather than $7.30. The same trip with one stop and a four-minute wait would be $11.65 rather than $9.

The committee also heard from Gallagher Benefit Services regarding the annual review of the city’s pension plan. Assets are funding only about half of the plan’s approximate $100 million long-term liability. The fund is paying about $7 million a year in benefits.

To fully fund the plan in 30 years is requiring a contribution rate of 22.41 percent of payroll by the city to match employee contributions of 14.74 percent of salary or wages. If the employee’s share remains the same, the required city share is expected to be 21.73 percent in 2014.

The city also is investigating the possibility of a defined benefit plan for new employees rather than continuing with the pension plan.