Weather Forecast


City favors first reading of ballot bound ban

West Fargo City Commissioners voted unanimously Monday night to approve first reading of a stricter smoking ban ordinance that will appear on the June 10 election ballot. The ordinance question will ask voters if smoking should be banned in bars, all parts of truck stops, and all public places rented to private parties, with a simple 'yes' or 'no' response.

As currently written, the ordinance is tied to Fargo implementing a similar stricter ban. It would go into effect on 8 a.m., July 1, 2008, or the time an ordinance with the same restrictions goes into effect in the City of Fargo, whichever date is later.

Since the West Fargo June election vote will be an advisory one, first reading on the ordinance wording had to take place before the election, with second reading to take place after the advisory vote, in order to allow time for the ban, if passed, to go into effect by the July 1 date.

Commissioners first voted on the issue at their March 3 meeting. It passed by a 3-1 vote, with Commissioner Brenda Warren opposing tying the outcome of the vote with Fargo passing a ban because she felt that told West Fargo residents their votes might not count.

Warren asked City Attorney Brian Neugebauer if the wording could be changed for the second reading if the ordinance passes in West Fargo and not Fargo.

He said the Commission would have that opportunity during second reading since it is an advisory vote.

In other action, the Commission:

• approved a five-year remodeling exemption for James Clark, 1602 Sheyenne St., whose home was reconstructed after a major fire about a year ago. The house was totally gutted, with the whole interior and roof replaced. The value of the home went from $122,100 to $166,400 with the exemption on the $44,300 gained by the reconstruction, amounting to a $900 a year tax savings per year for five years;

• favored a grant request for the year 2009 made by City Forester Yvette Gehrke to replace and plant trees on open spaces along the east side of First Street. Trees had reached power line height and were pruned this past winter for line clearance. Gehrke made the request to improve the aesthetic view of the street which is a main corridor in the City. Focus would be on improving the east side of the street from 1st Avenue South to 13th Avenue South, by replacing 24 trees and planting trees in the open areas. Total grant cost would be $44,820, with the North Dakota Forest Service providing $25,000 for the project. The City's portion of cash payment would be $11,740, and an in-kind for removal cost of $8,080;

-okayed second reading of Ordinance 826 relating to penalties for violation of ordinances and the amount of fees;

-reappointed Frank Lenzmeier to the West Fargo Planning and Zoning Commission, who has served on the board since August of 1998;

-awarded the bid for Street Improvement District No. 2199 in the Hayden Heights Addition to Border States Paving, Fargo, with a low bid of $155,789.45.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the West Fargo City Commission will take place Monday, April 21, at 5:30 p.m. in the Commission Chambers at West Fargo City Hall. All meetings are open to the public.