Mayor's Budget Message

Submitted for the consideration to the Grand Forks City Council and the citizens of Grand Forks

It is my pleasure to present for your consideration the Mayor's proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2012. This proposed budget is the result of a thorough and consistent budget process that has been used for many years.

The budget process is spearheaded by the Finance Department, under the direction of the budget review team of the City Administrator, Finance Director and Budget Officer. This process takes months of cost/revenue analysis, meeting with department heads to discuss the details of department needs and goals and review of these needs in regard to the city's overall aims. Upon conclusion of the departmental meetings, the budget review team prioritized requests based on the overall needs and resources of the city and made adjustments for funding of specific requests.

It was important for me that this budget reflected the commitment to the Grand Forks Promise of a community where every person, family, and business has the chance to grow. This budget provides the resources and direction that will help us deliver on the five metrics of the Grand Forks Promise:
  1. A Safe environment
  2. An Affordable and Competitive Place to Live and Do Business
  3. A Commitment to our Youth
  4. Opportunities to be Engaged
  5. Rich Cultural and Healthy Experiences

In addition, I asked that we treat this budget process as another step of our Internal Reinvigoration process to consider both short and long-term perspectives of how we function. As such, the underlying principles that guided the budget process were
  1. Maintain the same quality and level of services without raising mills for the continuation of these services in 2012.
  2. Evaluate and consider necessary investments for providing the same standard of services and meeting residents’ expectations in the future.
  3. Treat employees consistent with the City Council’s history of employee compensation.
  4. Evaluate the services we provide and seek efficiencies at all levels through process improvements, consolidation and integration of department functions and activities, and by optimizing utilization of technology.
  5. Examine every vacant position to see if there are opportunities to maximize the scope of existing positions and cut overall personnel costs.
  6. Close budgetary gaps with fiscally responsible measures and prudent resource allocation.
  7. Build a financially resilient government through long-term financial planning. Maintain and preserve reserves backed by sound fund balance policy.

The following information will provide an outline of the Fiscal year 2012 budget.
  • The City’s proposed budget for all funds is $128,116,585 compared to $117,364,488 for 2011, an increase of 9.16%. Majority of the increase due to capital expenditure.
  • Total operating budget is $103,115,513 compared to $101,737,357, exclusive of capital, an increase of 1.35%.
  • In 2012 one mill is $149,311 compared to $145,046 in 2011.
  • No mill increase for General Fund Operations – the primary operating fund of the City.
  • General Fund - decrease 1 full-time position through attrition, decrease in over-time.
  • Proposed 1 mill increase each year for four years, 2012-2015 to build reserve, dedicated for SE fire station to be operational in 2016 in order to provide same level of fire protection to the SE quadrant of the City. Fire Station construction in 2015, part of six-year CIP.
  • Proposed 1 mill increase each year for 2 years, 2012-2013 for Grand Forks Public Library to implement wage study over two year.
  • In accordance with the City Council and Mayor’s commitment to the city employees, the pay for performance plan has been funded to provide an overall average increase of 2.34%,
  • Provide funding for the recommended amounts to the employee pension plans.
  • Provide funding for 7% increase in Health Insurance premium.
  • Provide funding for capital replacement reserve - $266,105 (have not funded capital replacement reserve for the last two years).
  • Includes funding for two police officers after grant period expires in 2013 to meet retention requirement.
  • $100,000 as contract services between the police department and the Community Violence Intervention Center, an increase of $25,000 from 2011.
  • $150,000 for Air Base Retention, an increase of $50,000 from 2011.
  • $10,000 City’s contribution for Greater Grand Forks Young Professionals Director position.
  • Funding for UAS Development Center - $25,000.
  • There is $2.5M in bonding in five to seven year intervals allocated from the Economic Development Fund for the acquisition of land in the Industrial park to foster continued industrial growth.
  • Includes funding for JDA for loans - $400,000.
  • Funding for the Arts - $112,943 (a 2% increase)
  • Funding for Special Events – $112,943(a 2% increase)
  • Contribution to Humane Society ¼ mill from General Fund
  • The following utility rate increases are anticipated: 6% water, 7% wastewater, 5% sanitation, 15% storm water, 6% flood protection/greenway maintenance. No rate increase in mosquito control fund.

We have developed a proposed budget that will control costs to residents while maintaining the expected high quality of service that makes this community a great place to live, learn, work, play and stay.

Michael R. Brown

City of Grand Forks
255 N 4th Street * Grand Forks, ND 58203 * Phone (701) 746-INFO