The Mandan City Commission introduced its draft 2014 budget of $26.8 million and set a final budget hearing for 6 p.m. Sept. 17. Some $3.4 million in property taxes will be levied under the proposal.
Twelve new employees are being requested in the budget, including nine for safety.
They include five new police officers (including one warrants officer), four paid firefighters, an assistant finance director, a shared administrator/community development worker and one city maintenance worker. If approved, the new positions and benefits will cost the city an additional $658,000.
Water and sewer utility bills would increase by $3.50 per month to pay for improvements.
The budget proposal would apply 50 percent of projected sales tax revenue for 2014 toward property tax buy-down, applying an additional $253,000, or $1,267,600 in total.
An owner of a $200,000 home will pay $48 less in taxes because of the use of sales tax revenue and a broader property tax base to share the costs.
The draft budget can be viewed online at www.cityofmandan.com.
Cass Clay building
Commissioners mulled the purchase of the former Cass Clay Creamery property on West Main Street, but no action was taken.
City Administrator Jim Neubauer said the property has always been owned by the BNSF Railroad. It was first leased to Cass Clay. Cass Clay was purchased by the Associated Milk Producers Inc.
AMPI now directly leases the 5 acres of Cass Clay land from the railroad and sub-leases it to Kemps, LLC.
City Administrator Jim Neubauer said AMPI wants to end its ties to Cass Clay property in Mandan, and the railroad is willing to sell. Kemps does not wish to own the Cass Clay Building because it has not decided what its future service will be in western North Dakota. Kemps uses the property to repackage products from Fargo. It has asked the city to buy the property and lease the property to Kemps.
Neubauer said the city is determining if it would be best to broker a deal to own the property to keep the Kemps workers in Mandan. He said it would be important to lock in enough land for both access and parking from the property so the city can attract other occupants if Kemps leaves.
He said he is still negotiating enough easements for parking and a future occupant.