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City Commission studies ordinance defining traffic fines

City Attorney Brian Neugebauer appeared before the West Fargo City Commission Monday night to address proposed amendments to Ordinance No. 826 relating to Penalty for Violation of Ordinance and Statutory Fees. Prior amendments to the ordinance adopted by the City, when West Fargo became a Home Rule City, gave the municipal judge authority to set fines for traffic violations above those set by state codes, as was believed to be legal under Home Rule.

On the heels of a case filed in U.S. District Court in Fargo, citing the City of Fargo for imposing traffic fines higher than allowed by North Dakota Century Code, West Fargo immediately reduced traffic fines to meet state requirements. The ordinance amendments will go to second reading at the next City Commission meeting.

In other action, the City Commission granted Police Chief Arland Rassmussen permission to award two Performance Recognition Awards to Chris Schultz and Misty Seigel. The two dispatchers were commended for going above and beyond the call of duty in their efforts to help the Department make a smooth transition to the new dispatch system.

"We couldn't have switched over to the new digital system without them. Their positions were being eliminated and they could have left, but they chose to stay. If they had left, it would have put us in a terrible bind. But they worked hard and stayed with us," Rasmussen said.

City Commissioner Mark Simmons, who had referred to the decision to join the Red River Regional Dispatch Center as a major undertaking during discussion at the March 3 Commission meeting, agreed with Rasmussen. "It was definitely crucial that we had those two employees," Simmons said.

Schultz started as a dispatcher in West Fargo in 2000, while Darnell was hired in 2005. The Commission voted 5-0 to give Schultz a $1,000 Performance Recognition Award, and Seigel a $500 award.

• The Commission also granted a request to put a temporary greenhouse in the northeast corner of the Sunmart parking lot;

• Held a public hearing for Reserve at Osgood 1st Addition rezoning from agricultural to single family dwellings. There were no public comments, and the Commission voted unanimously for the request to go to first reading with conditions.

The next City Commission meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, April 7. City Commission meetings are open to the public.