There's two things I've always known would keep me out of public office. The first concerns a closet that even at first glance appears to be filled with skeletons. The second thing, is my inability to comprehend just what is a "mill levy".

Writing a story about the skeletons would be a breeze since the statute of limitations may have passed on many of them. Writing a story based on mill levies is gonna be difficult. Let's start with the basic definition

The mill levy is a property tax. It is applied to a property based on its assessed value. The rate of the tax is expressed in mills and is equal to one dollar per $1,000 dollars of assessed value. The mill levy is calculated by determining how much revenue each tax jurisdiction will need for the upcoming year to fund its budget for public services.

So that's pretty boring stuff.

Bismarck, how about your PROPERTY TAXES GOING UP 30% IN 2021!

Now it got exciting.

KFYR TV is all over this story.  It seems in a preliminary budget hearing, the city could have a loss of $1.3 million in state funding.  Bismarck expenses may outpace their revenue by a whopping $8 million.  I'm not going to do the "mill math" but commissioners think that's about a 19 mill increase in property taxes.  That then turns into about a 29-30% property tax increase to cover next years budget.

The phrase "kicking the can down the road" was used to describe expenditures that may have been piling up for the past few years. The roads and street departments need to replace older vehicles and apparently there's no fat to trim.  The report estimates a household valued at $200,000 would see about a $171 per year increase.

I don't know how far down the road that can has already been kicked as here's an AP story about a 22% increase last year for the 2020 budget versus the 2019 budget.

Bismarck property owners, seems the time may have come to pick up that can.


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