Dickinson rejects annual appropriation and tax levy measure
EDITOR'S NOTE: A quote was incorrectly attributed to Commissioner John Odermann in the original version of this story. His quote has been corrected to reflect his election night statements in this updated version of the story.
DICKINSON — For the first time since 2018, the City of Dickinson sought to impose an increase in sales tax. Voting concluded on Tuesday night and saw the 2023 Annual Appropriation and Tax Levy fail by a large margin of 63.1% to 36.9%.
"I'm disappointed, but understand," John Odermann, City Councilman said. "It was a bit of a nebulous proposal in that there wasn't really a project that was assigned to it... without a big project, I think it's difficult for tax payers to say 'I want to give the government more of my money.' We all knew it was going to be a tough sale. With the economy right now and inflation how it is, it can be difficult for people..."
The measure sought to implement a 1% sales, use and gross receipts tax increase for the purpose of funding property tax reduction, community projects and city capital projects. Had the measure passed it would have become effective for fiscal year 2023.
North Dakota cities currently collect a sales tax, with the first 5% being provided to the state. Dickinson’s sale tax is 6.5% (1.5%), which is lower than most cities in the state.
Forty percent of funds levied by the increase were slated toward property tax reduction, while another 30% would have been used for capital and infrastructure improvement projects. The remaining 30% was earmarked for community betterment projects.
In a September interview with The Dickinson Press, Mayor Scott Decker said he expected the measure to provide 2.4 million in property tax relief, 1.8 million each for city capital and infrastructure improvement and another 1.8 million for community improvement projects — such as the Sanford Sports Complex and Dickinson Area Public Library.
With the fail of the 2023 Tax Levy, Dickinson’s sales tax will remain locked at from 6.5%.
"I'm disappointed but the city commission will drive on,"Scott Decker, mayor of Dickinson, said. "Some of the quality of life projects the citizens are asking for are still on our radar but it's just going to take longer to complete some of them. Hopefully we will be able to maintain our current property tax..."