Sales Tax is a critical but recently volatile revenue source for City and infrastructure projects — is our current percentage-based bucket plan that heavily subsidizes the cost of our government that otherwise be funded through property tax serving our needs or are there changes to how we use this revenue that need to be made?

We learned in preparing the 2018 budget, that relying on sales tax revenue to offset property tax increases was short sighted. However, I will argue that at the time, it met with the pleasure of many who did not want to see property tax increases, and that it levied the cost of running our city to many northwest North Dakota residents who regularly shop in Minot.

I understand our citizen's concerns with increased property taxes, because they, like us, have budgets to fulfill. They expect and deserve quality municipal services at an affordable price. Herein lies our quandary... How do we create this balance?

As I stated in a different question, paying for flood protection is Minot's new normal. In addition, we will likely reinstate collection of sales tax to fund NAWS. The City Council also learned this year that delaying a pay increase for city employees has cost far more than the pay increases would have.

In all situations, collaborating with our state and federal partners to share costs will keep local property taxes lower, but ultimately when bills have to be paid and property tax collection is the only way to pay them, our residents will have to contribute. I wish there was a better answer and I am open to anyone's suggestions on other alternatives.

— Lisa M. Olson

This question fails to acknowledge that changes have been and are being made to the use of sales tax "buckets" and that that has been the case throughout the history of the sales tax. There is not enough room to recount that history here, but more to the point of the question, including property tax relief for the voters in the sales tax was a selling point, in a time of drastically declining revenues, it creates major difficulties. so we are weaning ourselves from sales tax as a substitute for property tax, and that process needs to continue. it will be much easier when the economy, building, and property values swing back to the positive. For the present, sales tax needs to be used to fund priority projects (e.g. flood protection and NAWS) while other uses are reduced or eliminated.

— Mark Jantzer

This candidate did not provide an answer to the question.

— Paul Pitner

The chickens are coming home to roost.

For too many years, we have relied too much on sales tax revenues, and pretended that we could meet the city's needs by keeping the mill levy artificially low. With the downturn in our state's economy, sales tax receipts have plummeted.

Despite frequent complaints about how high property taxes are, when you figure in special assessments – which most cities rely on to a far greater extent – our overall local property tax rate is actually fairly low: Minot, 120 (mill equivalents); Bismarck, 125; Grand Forks, 140; and West Fargo, 157. Our property taxes are indeed higher, but our special assessment burden is significantly lower, leading to a pretty good overall rate.

I would suggest the following: be honest and realistic with citizens; work much harder to become more efficient and effective in delivering services; fund critical city needs through property tax, with sales tax directed to special projects (e.g., flood control) and discretionary spending (e.g., economic development); stop throwing away money (e.g., reduce staff turnover); defer capital improvement projects as much as possible; and prioritize needs.

Ultimately, you get what you pay for.

— Stephan Podrygula

This candidate did not provide an answer to the question.

— David Shomento

This candidate did not provide an answer to the question.

— Edward Montez

This candidate did not provide an answer to the question.


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