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Moorhead council approves fee increases for 2018

MOORHEAD - Moorhead residents will see increases in a wide range of fees in the coming year, including for parks and recreation; building permits, wastewater treatment, and wireless telecommunication facilities.

The fee hikes, unanimously approved by the City Council Monday, Nov. 13, are designed to meet rising costs, prepare for equipment upgrades, and to conform with those charged by other metro area cities, said Finance Director Wanda Wagner.

Most of the fee increases are modest and go into effect Jan. 1.

A building permit for a project worth up to $1,000 rises from $35.70 to $37. A permit for a $25,000 project goes from $244 to $248. And a permit for a $50,000 project rises from $417 to $421. In each case, the fee for each additional $1,000 in the value of the projects is unchanged.

Wagner said building fees had increased substantially not long ago. She said it was decided that rather than continue with less-frequent large fee hikes, more frequent, but smaller increases would be better.

Wastewater fees are rising 4 percent to handle the cost of rehabbing pumps and lift stations, and for work needed to meet potential limits on phosphorus, which Wagner said could be expensive depending on what state regulators require. Homeowners will see their basic per month charge rise from $17.80 to $18.51, plus 9 cents for every 748 gallons of water per month.

Many of the fee hikes for parks and recreation programs activities rise $1 to $3, though a few are higher. Those fee hikes are meant to bring them closer to Fargo rates, Wagner said.

Youth flag football goes from $40 to $42. An eight-punch water exercise card goes from $27 to $28. Tennis lessons for all levels go up $2 each.

But cross-country ski rental for a family rises from $25 to $35. Snowshoe rental jumps from $5 to $10. And the snowshoe family rate goes from $12 to $20.

Household golfing passes for one or both of the city's courses go up $25 apiece. Some greens fees also rose $1 each.

However, the council unanimously approved an amendment to allow the Parks and Recreation Department to discount greens fees in the fall, depending on weather conditions

City Manager Christina Volkers said a resolution may be brought to the council at its next meeting allowing such flexibility for charges in other areas, too.

Some fees have been added for wireless telecommunications facilities in city right-of-way areas. They include $250 for a permit, annual rent of $150 and annual maintenance of $25. There are also fees per radio node of $73 for up to 100 watts and $182 for nodes greater than 100 watts.

The new fee schedule can be seen by going to the city's website, www.ci.moorhead.mn.us/ and clicking on the government drop down menu. Then go to laws and click the ordinances link. Under the pending ordinances headline, there is a link to ordinance 2017-13, which contains the fee schedule.

Helmut Schmidt

Helmut Schmidt was born in Germany, but grew up in the Twin Cities area, graduating from Park High School of Cottage Grove. After serving a tour in the U.S. Army, he attended the University of St. Thomas in St Paul, Minn., graduating in 1984 with a degree in journalism. He then worked at the Albert Lea (Minn.) Tribune and served as managing editor there for three years. He joined The Forum in October 1989, working as a copy editor until 2000. Since then, he has worked as a reporter on several beats, including education, Fargo city government, business and military affairs. He is currently The Forum's K-12 education reporter.

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