Grand Forks City Council hears first part of proposed city budget for 2023 – Grand Forks Herald

GRAND FORKS – The increased focus on the City of Grand Forks’ worker attraction and retention efforts is reflected in the proposed update to the 2023 salary and benefits plan. the city are poised to rise 4.13% to a collective $1.75 million next year.

Mayor Brandon Bochenski said a focus on paying competitive salaries is a big factor in next year’s proposed city budget, which is being compiled by city staff.

The mayor said the institutional knowledge of former city employees is important and “every time you lose someone, there’s a cost to having to retrain” a new employee.

City workers have also seen their salaries rise this year after relatively small increases were granted during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Alongside the 2023 salary plan, council members on Monday reviewed the mayor’s budget outline for next year, including projections on sales and the collection of use taxes. The 2023 budget matches the 2021 actuals at $29.1 million, a 13.5% increase from the 2022 budget of $25.65 million. The breakdown of revenue streams includes $6 million for the general fund, $2.2 million for the economic development fund, $3.5 million for the streets/infrastructure fund, $6.4 million for street/water infrastructure, $10 million for the Alerus Center and $1 million for the use tax, which CFO Maureen Storstad says is dedicated to flood protection.

The proposed general fund budget of $45.8 million for 2023 represents a 6.19% increase from $43.1 million this year. The city’s general fund is primarily funded by property taxes.

The value of a “mill,” the property tax building block that accounts for 1/1,000th of land value, is expected to rise by next year to an estimated value of $254,645. The actual value of the mill this year is $243,634.

Council members also reviewed the report on the execution of the budget for the first quarter of this year. Sales tax collection for the first five months of 2022 currently stands at $11.6 million, slightly higher than the $11.2 million collected in the first five months of last year. .

State aid collections in the first quarter for 2022 amount to $875,451, more than the $778,280 collected during the first quarter of 2021.

First-quarter collections from highway users — otherwise known as gas tax — were down 18% this year to $631,603, down $178,665 from what was collected in the first quarter. during the first quarter of 2021. Storstad said the number reflects the impact of rising gas prices and staff will continue to monitor these numbers.

Board members will approve the draft 2023 budget on August 1 and final budget approval is scheduled for September 19.

In other council news Monday, council members:

  • Approved financial security to bring Fufeng Group to the city. The letter of credit will allow the city to raise up to $5 million from Chinese agribusiness if its maize mill project fails. The letter of credit is with MUFG Bank, the largest bank in Japan.
    At Monday’s meeting, City Attorney Dan Gaustad briefed council members on a review of the terms of the letter of credit. Gaustad said the changes are related to the automatic renewal of the letter of credit, which was originally to be renewed annually until the city notifies that the installation is substantially complete and the developer has paid the pre- assessment required under the development agreement.
    New amendments provided by the bank still cause the letter of credit to be automatically renewed, unless the bank gives notice 60 days before the renewal date that it will not extend the letter of credit. Gaustad said that with the changes made, the city has added a third way for the city to operate the letter of credit, which involves Fufeng having to find a letter of credit equal to what the city already has from the bank. MUFG if this 60- day notice is given.
    If Fufeng does not provide a replacement letter of credit within 45 days of receiving the notice, then the city could receive the $5 million. Council member Katie Dachtler was dissenting and Kyle Kvamme was absent.
  • Liquor licenses approved for Target and Libre Bar & Nightclub. Target, which has been approved for a Class Two liquor license, plans to open a bottle store called Target Wine & Spirits. The bottle store will have its own separate entrance at the 32nd Avenue South location. The owners of Libre Bar & Nightclub have Class 1 liquor license approval. The facility will be located at 3450 Gateway Drive, the former site of the Westward Ho building.
  • Approved Grand Cities Area Transit to purchase a transportation data system for $234,000. The TransTrack system will provide a data and reporting system to combine data from various software packages including the CAT fare collection system and operating systems to simplify reporting for the National Transit Database. It would also support transit asset management and provide dashboards of key metrics to staff and managers.

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