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Schulz wraps up City Commission service

Serving since 2002, Bryan Schulz wrapped up his service on the West Fargo City Commission Monday night, closing out an eight-year run.

Fellow board members - Mayor Rich Mattern and City Commissioners Mike Thorstad, Mark Simmons and Lou Bennett presented Schulz with a special plaque thanking him for his years of dedication. "We will miss you and your expertise and we want to wish you well in everything you do," Mattern told Schulz during the presentation which opened the commission meeting.

Schulz' wife, Lisa, and their two daughters, Karli and Katie, were on hand for the occasion.

During his tenure as commissioner, Schulz had overseen the sanitation and building permits, police and fire, and streets portfolios, most recently holding the police and fire portfolio for a second time. He also served as vice president of the board for two years.

Schulz made the decision earlier this year not to seek a third term, in order to devote more time to his position as general manager of the Red River Valley Fair and to be able to spend more time with his family and his young daughter's activities.

Schulz offered thanks to his family for supporting him during his two terms in office as well as a special thank you to "the great city staff. I'm definitely going to miss this seat but I know it will be in great hands. Good luck to everyone in the future."

In other action, the commission, by a 4-1 vote, approved a Pilot in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) on 50 percent of the building housing the West Fargo Technology Center located in the Pioneer Center at 1405 Prairie Parkway, that is expected to open around July 1.

One-half of the 26,000 square foot building (the top floor), will be focused on primary sector technology-based businesses; while the remainder of space is intended to house both retail and office space.

The West Fargo Economic Development Advisory Committee, which reviewed the request earlier, recommended that the PILOT be granted on 50 percent of the building and a reduction in rent be given to those businesses that lease space in the building that are primary sector technology-based companies. This would be verified by copies of the leases provided to the city. Documentation showing job creation would also have to be filed. The PILOT will be based on a graduated rate and reviewed annually to assure that the space is occupied by those businesses. A six-month grace period is also provided for vacated space to be reoccupied.

George Gaukler, managing partner for the project, said he has three technology companies ready to move in.

Commissioner Thorstad voted against the motion, while Mattern, Simmons, Bennett and Schulz voted in favor of the PILOT.

Thorstad said he doesn't feel that a space that has office and retail included as a part of the mix is a technology center. "I just don't agree with taking a little piece of any facility and saying this is going to be a primary sector business and it qualifies for a tax exemption."

In other action, the commission:

-approved an inter-local agreement between West Fargo, Fargo and Cass County, in order for them to determine how to best spend $12,609 in grant monies made available to the West Fargo Police Department by a Department of Justice program that will be shared with the other two jurisdictions; -approved first reading of Ordinance No. 862 relating to alcoholic beverages, resulting in no substantial changes, instead cleaning up language, eliminating obsolete sections and adding a few extra definitions;

-approved a resolution of insufficient protest so action can move forward on improvements in Water and Sewer Improvement District No. 1219, involving 4th St. E. from 36th Avenue to 32nd Avenue;

-placed on first reading rezoning of Maple Ridge 1st Addition from agricultural to single family dwellings, limited multiple dwellings and multiple dwellings; and second reading and final plat approval for the rezoning of Shadow Wood 4th Addition from special single family dwellings to planned unit development.

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