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City completes balanced 2019 budget

Stock budget, financial and number crunching image.

City Commissioners Tuesday approved a first reading of the 2019 general fund budget.

The fund has a balanced revenue and expense amount of $19,191,661 million.

The amount is 14 percent higher than it was in 2018, Linda Carlson, interim city administrator, told commissioners.

The number is lower than the roughly $19,198,000 figure presented in committee meetings.

"We lowered it and that is due to the fact that positions we had, that we always appropriate as full-time, with the full expense of health insurance, worker's comp... once that position is taken, we reduce that," Carlson said.

The general tax fund levy will remain $4.7 million, with no increase to city property taxes.

The oil impact revenue subsidy to the general fund will be $4.47 million in 2019, higher than $3.5 million in 2018.

"Through the commission, it was asked that we stay between $4.4 (million) and $4.7 (million)," Carlson said.

The budget allocates sales tax dollars to 2019 city projects, including $15,000 for a wage compensation study, $50,000 for an event center feasibility study, $250,000 for a proposed town square project, and $400,000 for Theodore Roosevelt Regional Airport's runway expansion project.

These funds are all allocated from the one percent sales tax, Carlson said.

Interest revenue earned by the city was allocated to city efforts, including $200,000 to the city's defined benefit liability, $75,000 for Fire Station 1 improvements, $25,000 to general fund forestry, $50,000 to subsidize capital leases, and $217,000 to fund the new state pension plan, the North Dakota Public Employees Retirement System.

Capital projects for 2019 will receive $6.75 million.

"Those are all our projects. Our annual street coverage, our trails, our urban forestry, and four capital projects we had proposed in our budget meetings," Carlson said.

A salary increase for commissioners was proposed, as well as a step increase for non-exempt (hourly) employees and a 2 percent increase for exempt (salaried) employees.

Two funds were added to the general fund balance: public works administration, at $272,079, and utility billing, at $228,776.

Proposed administrative fees from enterprise funds to the general fund will increase from 12 to 14 percent to 15 percent.

"These are funds that actually have a rate, where they subsidize their expenses through rates like utilities, solid waste," Carlson said.

A public hearing will be held at the city commissioners' next meeting on Sept. 25, followed by second reading and passage. It must be submitted to Stark County by Oct. 10.