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Dickinson financially healthy

This year has been a productive year for the City of Dickinson, officials said Thursday at a special commission meeting held at City Hall. After additional expenditures and revenue, the city brought in an extra $6.6 million.

"We have had our economy grow quite a bit more than we projected," Mayor Dennis Johnson said. "Of course, we know there are more demands on city services than we projected, but this is good news because ... we collected $6.6 million more in monies than we spent."

The 2011 year-end budget amendments and transfers were unanimously approved by the Dickinson City Commission on Thursday. Revenue and expenditures exceeded previous years, Dickinson accounting manager Tina Johnson said.

The proposed budget amendments for total revenues equaled more than $9.1 million, more than three times the total revenue from last year and nine times the amount in 2009. The total expenditures this year were more than $2.5 million, compared to last year's spending of $904,000.

"While our total amendments are much greater than last year, mostly due to energy impact in our area, the general fund amendments are fairly close to last year with expenditures actually less than 2010," she said.

Expenditures from the general fund were $211,000, compared to $379,000 last year and $445,000 in 2009.

Building permits, water vendor sales, higher tax collections and revenue in the Oil Impact Fund were major contributors to the increase in income, Tina Johnson said. Land sales, which were originally budgeted at $50,000, hit almost $1.77 million.

"We budget $50,000 every year because it is one we don't know what to expect," she said. "We are basically out of land after this year. We are basically selling everything we have because there is so much development."

City Administrator Shawn Kessel said the energy impact from an oil boom in western North Dakota has played a major part in the increase in revenues, including on property sales and taxes.

"We had a piece of property, a fairly large piece of property, that was on the books for about $75,000," he said. "We are probably going to sell that for 10 times that amount. Our environment has caused revenues to go up."

Tina Johnson added the city didn't expect it to go so high.

"When we budgeted in 2011, we were doing that at the end of the summer of 2010," she said. "I don't think we really saw the energy impact hit until the fall of 2010."

Tina Johnson said the city had more information for the 2012 budget, helping it decide on more accurate numbers.

"We had a better estimate of sales taxes and those types of things that we are definitely going to see a rise in next year, but I think we budgeted for those increases already."

Dennis Johnson and Kessel said they didn't expect to see the increase in revenues next year. Both agreed there would be more pressure on expenditures.

"We are going to feel more of the infrastructure impacts of the growth," Dennis Johnson said.

Kessel said sales tax could have an opportunity to continue to contribute to revenues, but the city would have the opportunity to invest in long-term infrastructure projects.

Dennis Johnson said the city has large gaps in expenditures ahead of it, but he was very pleased with the increases.

"The city was in sound financial condition going into this year and we are going to end the year even on a much sounder financial basis than we started," he said.