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City of Dickinson budget eyes 8.19% increase as oil revenue drops

The Dickinson City Commission moved ahead with the proposed 2022 budget boosting spending on police and fire, with allocation increases for street maintenance as oil revenue subsidies drop by 14%.

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From left, Commissioner Jason Fridrich, Mayor Scott Decker and Commissioner Nikki Wolla at City Hall during a previous Dickinson City Commission meeting. On Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2021, the commission approved the first reading of the 2022 budget. (Jackie Jahfetson / The Dickinson Press)

The Dickinson City Commission moved forward with the first reading of the 2022 budget last week, which is set at approximately $22.45 million for revenue and expense — placing it 8.19% higher than last year’s budget.

From public city documents, the Dickinson Police Department allocates approximately $7.11 million of the general fund, followed by the Dickinson Fire Department at about $2.44 million and street maintenance at $2.35 million.

Deputy City Administrator Linda Carlson reviewed some of the highlights of the 2022 budget during a public hearing at the Dickinson City Commission meeting Sept. 21. The 2022 general fund is balanced at $22,451,331. The city’s total fund expenditures for the 2022 budget are 4.85% higher than in 2021, which includes all departments and all funds, Carlson added.

Lynn Helms, North Dakota director of Mineral Resources, acknowledged during his monthly oil production report this month that North Dakota lost its position as the second largest oil producer in the country and admitted that it’s not likely to regain it any time soon.

“We are headed for an era of a lot more natural gas production,” Helms said.

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For Dickinson, this means that the trend of decreasing Oil Impact Revenue subsidies to the general fund will continue its downward trajectory. The falling oil revenue resulted in $3,613,225 in revenue, as compared to $4,222,771 in 2021. The scaled 14.43% decrease from last year’s budget was considered by city officials as discussions were held on the budget.

From the 2022 budget review, the general fund tax levy is set at $4.7 million with no city property tax increase, Carlson noted that the city fax levy has not changed since 2017.

“In ‘22, administrative fees from the enterprise funds — which is your water, sewer, storm, treatment plant — supports the general fund stayed the same at 15%,” Carlson said.

Other budget highlights for 2022 include no proposed cost of living increase, proposing built in performance matrix step increase of 2% for full-time employees and increase for commissioners at $192,416 of the general fund.

The City of Dickinson’s general fund also comprises 10 proposed new positions — seven coming from the police department and three from the fire department — including one promotion position. City documents indicated an increase in wages of $510,340 annually for the 2022 budget cycle.

Other highlights include:

  • General fund cash reserve allocation will include: $475,374 of public safety equipment.
  • Capital projects for 2022 is proposed at $11.33 million out of Oil Impact Fund

  • Community Betterment Projects of $5 million are proposed out of the Development Impact Fund — $2 million for the Southwest Career Technical Education Academy, $1.5 million for the Sanford Sports Complex and $1.5 million for the second mausoleum

  • Proposed 1% sales tax allocation is $6.97 million including: $2 million for the Dickinson Town Square project, $2..5 million property tax relief, $750,000 Stark Development and $300,000 for the Dickinson Theodore Roosevelt Regional Airport .

  • Proposed loan out of the future fund investment of $2 million for the Dickinson Town Square project

  • Proposed 0.5% sales tax allocation is approximately $3.5 million including: $1.7 million

  • Property Tax Relief and Community Center Revenue Bond payment of $1.275 million

  • 2022 Interest Revenue earned will be allocated as $639,871 for General Capital Leases and Property Tax relief, $100,000 to the City Defined Benefit Liability, $300,000 public safety radios, $200,000 maintenance reserve and $50,000 for the downtown streetscape.

After the work session that was held to discuss the 2022 budget, Carlson noted that there were no changes to Ordinance 1725.
City Commissioner Suzi Sobolik motioned to approve the 2022 budget, followed by a second from Nikki Wolla. The motion unanimously passed in a roll-call vote 5-0.

Carlson added that this is the first reading and public hearing on the 2022 budget, which will go before the commission in a second reading during the upcoming Oct. 5 regularly scheduled meeting.

Jackie Jahfetson is a former reporter for The Dickinson Press.
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