City committed to holding the line
If West Fargo City Commissioners adopt the preliminary budget for 2011 as proposed at their final meeting two weeks ago (and in all likelihood they will) the result for the second year running will be a zero tax increase in the mill levy for city residents with the figure remaining at 91.47 mills.
Residents will, however, notice a very slight increase on their city utility bill, with a $1 hike in the works for sanitation services and $.50 per thousand gallon increase for water usage.
The last increase for water services was $.50 per thousand gallons in each of the years 2008 and 2009. The last sanitation department increase was in 2006 when the rate went from $8.60 to $10 a month.
The increases will generate an extra $350,000 in water and sewer budget revenues and $84,000 in sanitation department revenues that will be used to help balance both budgets as mandated by state law.
A small price to pay for the city services we receive, which even at the increased rates will still be among the lowest charged region wide for populations our size.
All in all, the budget collaboration each year is an eye-opening, learning experience, filled with detail, compromise and a genuine effort on everyone's part to end up with numbers that truly and realistically reflect the best interests of a city continually on the grow.
All of the budget talks, along with regular city commission meetings are open to the public.
If you ever want to take the time to learn just a little bit more about city government and the way it operates, take an hour or two out of your Monday nights when commission meetings are scheduled - the first, third and fifth Monday of every month - and stop by the commission chamber at City Hall. Attending a meeting will give you a better understanding of the details involved with city decision-making, and of the extra effort dedicated to the process by elected city officials and staff.