City should explain budget

Bill Treckman, Minot

Did I miss something?

Back last spring, as the North Dakota Legislature was wrapping up, we saw our elected state legislators telling us how they had passed property tax relief and state educational aid legislation to reduce the property tax burden on all North Dakotans.

Fast forward to the present. We see the Minot School Board telling us they need to have a bond issue for $125 million to fund new school construction. And just a day or two later the city revealed its 2014 budget which will increase our property taxes more than 3 percent. This is due to the increased cost of maintaining our city infrastructure. Oh, and our water and sanitation bills were also going up. Wasn’t Minot included in those tax relief legislations?

Something is wrong with this picture. These increases are due to increased demand on city services and educational facilities which are due to the rapid growth of our city population. You need only drive around the U.S. 2 & 52 and 83 bypasses to see that there are numerous new commercial and residential properties going up. Shouldn’t these properties be adding to the city tax base? Shouldn’t they be offsetting the increased costs of infrastructure improvements and educational needs? Why are the costs of these increases falling on the established residents of our city?

I would call on our elected city leaders as well as the civil service employees of our city government to publicly explain to the populous the rationale behind these budget proposals.

Has our city council given away too much in the name of economic development?