Bismarck-Mandan saw its development expand in 2021 in response to the metropolitan region’s population growth, but the region also faced the same economic hardships as the rest of the country amid the coronavirus pandemic.

A labor shortage has affected many employers. North Dakota had more than 18,000 job openings in July, which is the most since 2015. The state has gained more than 100 businesses in the past year, according to Job Service North Dakota, although some have closed or cut hours this year due to lack of staff.

Bismarck EDC House Speaker Brian Ritter said in early December that there were more than 3,300 job openings in the Bismarck area. He made the remark during an announcement for Bismarck State College’s polytechnic expansion, which college officials say will help meet manpower needs.

In addition to the labor shortage, the metropolitan area also saw 2021 population growth, an increase in property taxes, the abrupt closure of a local business and the opening of a popular restaurant.

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Growing cities

Bismarck’s population grew by over 10,000 from 2010 to 2020, reaching over 73,000, according to 2020 census data. Mandan’s population increased by about 6,000, for a total of about 24 000.

Commissions in both cities approved property tax increases this fall for fiscal year 2022. Bismarck came as part of a two-year plan to ensure that city services remain financially stable. The increase is approximately $ 4 million.

A $ 240,000 property will see approximately $ 126 in new taxes. Residents will also see an increase of about 2% in water charges and 5% in sewer charges. Public service increases take effect in January.

Bismarck resident Tim Fischer, right, spoke to city commissioners about the increase in his property taxes as the commission took public comments on the 2022 budget at a meeting in September.

Mike mccleary

Bismarck Mayor Steve Bakken said that with the return to normal after a year of COVID-19 restrictions and prevention measures, the introduction of the second year of the city’s budget plan to keep it going financially solvent was one of the most memorable things to happen this year. Looking to the future, the mayor said a waterfront development plan and the city’s Together 2045 plan to guide community growth are things he sees as priorities for the year to to come.

“We are growing incredibly fast,” he said. “The future is incredibly bright.”

Steve Bakken.jpg

Mayor Steve Bakken


The Mandan tax increase is approximately $ 483,000. The additional funds will be spent on six new employees, three full-time and three part-time, and increased operating and maintenance costs, among other expenses.

A property valued at $ 275,000 that has not changed valuation will see an increase of $ 25 in taxes. If that same property sees its value increase by 2.4% – which was the average Mandan home in 2021 – the tax increase will be around $ 44. A home using eight units of water per month will see an annual increase in utility costs of $ 6.

New buildings

A location was chosen this year for a new post office in Mandan. The new site is 3511 Memorial Highway SE, which is a vacant lot near RJR Maintenance and Management and Midway Lanes on the Strip. The existing post office is not large enough to support regular operations, according to the U.S. Postal Service. While there is no set timeline for the project, the agency hopes it will be completed by the end of next summer.

Local school districts have been working to expand their facilities to keep up with the growth.

Mandan voters overwhelmingly approved a $ 84 million bond for two schools – a new high school and an additional primary. Mandan public schools needed 60% of the vote for the link to pass; he received 78%. The district will also use $ 9.6 million in federal COVID-19 assistance to help offset the surety’s property tax increase. Property taxes will increase by approximately $ 100 for every $ 100,000 of value.

The new high school that will be built between Mandan Middle School and Starion Sports Complex is slated to open in 2024, and the elementary school, in the Lakewood area, is slated for 2023.

Bismarck School and Park Districts are teaming up to increase the number of ice caps in the community. The Bismarck Public School Board has approved a boys hockey team for Legacy High School for the current school year and a girls hockey team for the next, which will put some already limited time on the ice. .

The VFW Sports Center project will add the additional ice rink, a concession stand, changing rooms and parking, as well as improvements to one of the building’s two existing rinks. The work is expected to last 22 months.

BPS has committed $ 3.5 million in federal coronavirus relief funds for the new rink, which is just under half the cost. Bismarck Hockey Boosters pledged $ 1 million. The financial portion of the Bismarck Parks and Recreation District project as part of its financial plan project is considerably larger.

The plan is to use approximately $ 1.4 million in general fund reserves, $ 6.35 million in revenue bonds, and $ 2.75 million in grants, naming rights or other sources. The park district can cover bond payments under its current budget, according to executive director Kevin Klipfel. Some community organizations such as the Dakota Junior Golf Association and Ducks Unlimited have expressed interest in providing funds but have not made any formal commitments, he said.

The project is not expected to raise taxes at this time.

Business community

2021 was also marked by spectacular business openings and closings.

Local photography studio Glasser Images closed abruptly in October, leaving many clients unsure of who would photograph their weddings or when they would receive the final photos. Owner Jack Glasser wrote in an email to some customers that the pandemic had forced the decision, and he also said refunds would not be offered. Glasser Images has received loans of more than $ 500,000 from the Paycheck Protection Program, a federal effort to keep small businesses open and workers employed during the pandemic.

The North Dakota attorney general’s office is investigating the shutdown and ordered the company to preserve its websites. The company is working with an Atlanta-based vendor to make photos available to customers.

A Chick-fil-A opened on South Third Street in December, sparking lines that stretched all the way to the freeway. Bismarck police helped direct traffic from the drive-thru that spilled onto the street, with the charges being paid by the restaurant.

Scheduled opening (copy)

Traffic was lined up on Third Street in south Bismarck on December 2 for patrons heading to the Chick-fil-A restaurant which opened at 6:30 a.m. on its first day of operation. The planned opening has attracted shoppers from across the region, with Bismarck Police monitoring the flow of traffic entering and exiting the location outside the Kirkwood Mall. Chick-fil-A paid $ 43 an hour per officer for police assistance in directing traffic, according to the police department.

Tom stromme

The longtime Silver Dollar bar in Mandan closed on June 30 after the city commission failed to renew its liquor license over concerns over “non-cooperation” with police. Some residents criticized the decision.

Contact Sam Nelson at 701-250-8264 or [email protected]