- Associated Press - Saturday, March 4, 2017

MINOT, N.D. (AP) - Minot is dipping into its reserve funds at a problematic rate, the city manager says.

North Dakota’s fourth-largest city ended 2016 with $35.2 million in cash reserves, Tom Barry told the Minot Daily News (https://bit.ly/2kRKEks).

“There’s a lot of money being spent out of our reserves to balance the budget,” said Barry. “That’s a huge problem because that’s not sustainable,”

Barry is planning to develop a series of budget workshops for council members, council candidates and the public. He is expecting the workshops to take place in late April or early May.

The workshops will provide information to help with the development of the city’s 2018 budget. The city is expected to begin developing the budget in late April.

Mayor Chuck Barney said the council isn’t waiting for the 2018 budget to begin making spending adjustments.

“It’s not a gloom and doom situation, but we need to prepare as a city for what’s going to happen four years down the road, five years down the road, whenever it is, making sure we are being fiscally responsible,” he said.

While the 2016 spreadsheet showed $96.4 million was held in city coffers, $35.2 million was committed to projects, bond payments or was required to be held in reserve.

City ordinance requires Minot to keep in reserve one month’s working capital, or an amount equal to one month’s average expenditures, which is about $8.9 million.

According to Barry, the standard accounting recommendation is to have a 90-day reserve, which is $27 million for Minot. He said $35.2 million isn’t an abundant amount. He added that more than $19 million is sales tax funding restricted for economic development, improvements, and community facilities.


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

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