- Associated Press - Monday, January 16, 2017

MINOT, N.D. (AP) - North Dakota’s fourth-largest city is looking to tighten its belt due to a 30 percent drop in state aid and a 20 percent decline in city sales tax collections.

Officials have identified $13 million in infrastructure improvements that could be delayed, including design of a new fire station, storm sewer work and traffic signal and street light upgrades, the Minot Daily News reported (https://bit.ly/2jgr3Gz ).

“We have already started to make some adjustments,” City Manager Tom Barry said.

The City Council also might re-examine the sales tax structure to possibly provide more money for flood protection work. The tax is estimated to bring in about $4.5 million for that purpose this year, and that might not be enough in coming years, according to Barry.

Minot also needs to deal with its debt, which has increased about 165 percent in the past four years, due mainly to growth. The city is on the edge of the western oil patch that boomed in recent years, and its population rose 21 percent between the 2010 census and July 2015, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

“Currently the city’s debt is about $104 million. About $60 million of that is tied directly to growth,” Barry said. “Debt is slated to grow to $132 million by the end of this fiscal year.”

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Information from: Minot Daily News, https://www.minotdailynews.com

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