Urgent. Critical. Desperate.
Those are all words used recently by officials with Minot's police and fire departments. The staffing levels within those departments, and others, continue to be a great concern given the ongoing rise in Minot's population.
Stressed. Financially strapped. Struggling.
Those are all terms that describe many flooded residents of Minot, who continue to recover in their personal and professional lives from the devastating effects of the 2011 Souris River flood.
Minot is a growing city in both population and physical size, a city in need of additional law enforcement personnel and fire department employees, not to mention employees in other departments. Like private businesses, the city is having a hard time retaining experienced employees.
Minot is also a city in the throes of flood recovery efforts. Many flooded residents remain in temporary housing units. Some have moved back in to their rebuilt or repaired homes. Others wait in limbo for a variety of reasons, from a lack of funding to proceed, to difficulties finding affordable contractors, to waiting for the long process of the city's flood recovery project to further unfold.
It's a bad combination to be sure. We don't doubt the city needs additional fire and police personnel, and the situation isn't helped when some residents express concern about a lack of police presence at times in Minot and then take issue with raising property taxes to help pay for more officers. In addition to the city's needs, the Minot Public School District will likely require at some point more funding to continue its flood-recovery process, and Ward County will ask voters in November to approve a half-cent sales tax to help fund an office building as well as renovation at the Ward County Courthouse and expansion at the Ward County?Jail.
We're not doubting some of these needs are urgent and critical. But we're also not sure the citizens of this city can bear the financial burden being asked of them.