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City adopts 2012 preliminary budget

West Fargo City Commissioners approved the city's 2012 preliminary budget Monday night, with expenditures totaling $32,191,924, and set a public hearing date of Monday, Sept. 19, at 6 p.m., to accept the final package.

If approved, the figures will bring the city mill levy to 91.25, a 0.22 decrease over last year's mill levy. What this will mean for taxpayers is zero increase in property taxes.

The 2011 value of one mill was $74,012. The projected value of a mill for 2012 is $77,156, a mill value increase of $3,144 per mill over last year, based on an upsurge in property valuation.

Throughout 2012 budget talks, it was the intent of West Fargo City Commissioners to hold the mill levy steady and not increase taxes for the citizens of West Fargo.

The preliminary budget also includes: a one percent cost of living salary increase and a step for eligible employees as rated by evaluations; and a NDPERS two percent increase from 9.26 percent to 11.26 percent in retirement benefits and a projected 7.5% increase in health insurance rates.

New staff members are also a part of the proposal with the Police Department adding a Sergeant position, with the dollars budgeted moving a current officer to that position, and hiring a new patrol officer. The police department will also purchase three new vehicles - two Ford utility vehicles for patrol and a Ford Expedition for investigations.

The Public Works Department will see the hiring of an additional Equipment Operator for the Street Department; and equipment requests will include: Street Department, replacing a 1992 pay loader and 1981 snow blower; Sanitation Department: replacing a 1999 packer garbage truck; and the Sewer and Water Department: replacing a 2005 ¾ ton pickup, five ½ ton pickups (2004/2005), a dump/plow/sander, a 1997 chipper; adding a new ½ ton pickup to fleet, a mower/plow blade/sprayer/sander, and leasing four motor graders.

Proposed expenditures in each department are $8,763,736 in the general fund, $2,043,200 in the sanitation fund, $4,606,840 in the sewer and water funds, $732,023 for the library, $139,246 for the airport, $13,593,065 in debt services, $500,000 in capital improvements, and $2,429,814 in special revenue funds.