A preliminary draft budget reviewed by the Jamestown City Council Thursday results in a projected balance for the city's general fund of $1 million at the end of 2021.
"It is a better outlook but the unknown remains the revenues," said Mayor Dwaine Heinrich.
A previous review of the preliminary budget on June 11 had left the city with a $420,000 shortfall.. At that time, the forecasts for revenue to the city from the state of North Dakota were down 33%. The new projection anticipates a 20% decline in revenue from the state for the last six months of 2020 and a 10% decline from that for 2021.
That puts the projected intergovernmental revenue for 2021 at $1.7 million. This is down from an actual $2 million received by the city in 2019.
Sarah Hellekson, city administrator, said the projections were based on forecasts provided by the North Dakota League of Cities.
"The state still hasn't given us revenue projections," she said. "Maybe in July."
The draft preliminary budget does not include any pay raises for staff and staff travel is restricted to only meetings or seminars necessary to maintain employee licenses or accreditation. The city will cover a cost increase of about $19,000 in health insurance premiums rather than increase the amount withheld from employee paychecks.
Most Jamestown residents will see a $1 per month increase to the Stormwater Utility fee that was approved in 2019 and is billed as part of the monthly utility bill if approved as discussed. The minimum rate will go from $3 per month to $4 per month with all properties paying a fee above the minimum staying the same.
Property tax in Jamestown would remain at the same level as the previous year.
Sanitary sewer rates in Jamestown will also increase by 5% under the preliminary budget.
Hellekson said a new draft of the preliminary budget would be prepared next week and could be reviewed in July. The final version of the preliminary budget must be submitted to Stutsman County the first week of August with the finalized budget due in October. Budgets can be decreased but not increased between the preliminary and final budget certification.
The final rounds of discussion and approval of the preliminary city budget will take place after new council members Brian Kamlitz and David Schloegel take office on June 23. Pam Phillips was defeated in her bid for reelection and Steve Brubakken had not sought a third term on the Jamestown City Council.