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West Fargo named second-best city in ND

In a recent blog on real estate website Movoto, West Fargo was named the second-best place to live in North Dakota, second only to Lisbon.

The site ranked 22 of the state’s largest cities in a number of categories, including crime rates, tax rates, unemployment, quality of life and average winter temperatures.

“Of course, I would rather be No. 1, but it is a good sign to know others are watching us,” West Fargo Mayor Rick Mattern said. “There isn’t much we can do about the weather, but there are things we can do about the other stuff and as a city, this says we are heading in the right direction.”

Though roughly 12 times the size of Lisbon, West Fargo manages to maintain a “small-town appeal,” according to Movoto. The city’s highest-rated categories were tax rates and quality-of-life rating, which incorporates the cost of living, median home price, median rent, median household income and student-to-teacher ratio.

“We have really tried to maintain a good quality of life here,” Mattern said. “We have tried hard with our explosive growth, and it has been an orderly growth. We have a very good school system and a very good park system, and I think that helps keep the young people here. We are showing them we aren’t just into building strip malls.”

One poorly rated aspect of the city, according to Movoto, is the commute times for the average West Fargo worker, as they are ranked 18th of the 22 cities. However, that is rectified by a 2.8 percent unemployment rate and a median household income of $61,043.

The city was also praised for its low crime rate and its amenities — specifically Bonanazaville and all of the history and special events held there.

“This city is really like a puzzle,” Mattern said. “When you put all of those pieces together, the overall picture shows you what we are striving for.”

West Fargo — the fifth-largest city in the state — outranked the four largest cities, including fourth-ranked Fargo.

While Mattern hopes to improve the city’s standing, he is content with the current status of West Fargo.

“Overall, you have to be pleased,” Mattern said. “So many of these cities have been showing up in national surveys lately, and to be placed ahead of them is great. This area will always be downgraded because of the temperature, but we can’t focus too much on that. We have to focus on the things we can improve.”

Horace rounded out the top 10 in the rankings, tied with Wahpeton. While they ranked very low in both commute and amenities, they hold the state’s best tax rate and were ranked second in quality of life.