Longtime Minot city manager calling it a career

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Contrast that with the 2013 budget proposal that included 62 new city positions, of which 32 were funded.

“When you think back on it, we had very few times when we added more than 10 people in a year,” Waind said. “To suddenly say 62, it was mind-boggling for the council. But I had gone to my department heads and said, ‘Tell us what you need and why you think you need it. If the council feels we can’t go that far, fine, but I want them to know what the need is.’

“Getting the 32 positions did go a long ways towards addressing that,” he added. “It helped, and we were able to handle some of those pressures we were feeling.”

Minot also went from begging airlines to come to trying to squeeze as many into the terminal as possible. Waind said it’s likely more airlines and routes will come once a new, larger terminal is completed.

City building permit values grew from a total of $303 million during his first nine years as city manager to nearly $305 million in 2012 alone. The annual average of about $257 million over the past three years compares to an annual average of $33 million in those earlier years, he said.

“We used to talk about growth in terms of small percentages. If we saw some growth, it was a good thing,” Waind said. Population growth of 6 percent from 1990 to 2000 and 12 percent from 2000 to 2010 seemed like good growth.

“But now, everything we are seeing indicates that we’ve grown as much in the last three years as we grew in 50 years, when you consider we turned 30,000 in 1960 and we turned 40,000 in 2010. That amount of growth we have seen in the last three or four years,” Waind said.

Watching the city grow generates a more positive emotion than the eerie feeling that he experienced in 2011 in looking out of his office window at National Guard equipment building a flood-control dike as high as the roof. Waind remembers the daily meetings all that spring to strategize how to get through a threatening snow melt.

“We kept thinking we are close. We are almost through this thing. We are going to make it,” he recalled.

Then a major June rainstorm hit the upper basin. Waind said the first reports of what was coming didn’t come from officials but from Canadian farmers. When the official news came, the report grew from 11,000 cubic feet per second, to 15,000 cfs, then 18,000 cfs. Within 24 hours, the forecast was for 30,000 cfs, although the actual flow came in around 26,000 cfs, still far more water than Minot had ever seen in the Souris River.

In 46 of the previous 82 years of records, less water flowed in the whole year than flowed on June 26, 2011, Waind said. As much water passed in June 2011 as passed in all of 1976, tripling the annual flow of that previous record year.

Now the city is working on an $800 million flood protection plan.

“From my standpoint, the city getting that piece in place was huge. It was important for people to know what our plan was and how we were going to proceed. Now, of course, it’s trying to figure out how to pay for it,” Waind said.

“The council did put in place the half-cent sales tax that is to pay for the local share of the entire project,” he added. “We are not going to be able to move very fast with the local share limited to that. I think the need is going to grow for additional funding for the local share to keep the project moving at a pace that people will want to see.”

The good things developing in Minot are going to take commitment to see to fruition, he said.

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