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Garbage rates to see increase

West Fargo residents will be seeing an increase in garbage collection rates effective Dec. 1, 2012.

Commissioners approved unanimously Monday night first reading of a resolution to increase single family residential fees from $11 to $13 per month; multiple family and mobile home park unit property also from $11 to $13 for each housekeeping unit; commercial establishments, factories, public entertainment places and other businesses from $2.65 to $3.15 per cubic yard collected each month, with a minimum monthly charge going from $11.60 to $13.60; as well as a rental charge increase for dumpster useage for the latter going from $4.50 to $5.30 per cubic yard per month.

City ordinance states that utility funds have to generate enough revenues to offset the expenses. With an ever-growing community, the city intends to hire three new sanitation employees in the 2013 budget year. The increase will raise an additional $200,000 in revenues that will be used to cover the salaries of the three new employees, therefore bringing the budget figures in line.

City Administrator Jim Brownlee said it has been several years since the city has raised garbage rates, noting that West Fargo is one of the few communities that places no limits on the amount of garbage set out.

The increase will be noted on the billing residents and businesses receive on Jan. 1.

The commission also approved the final budget for 2013 that has expenditures at $34,877,636, and set levies for the year.

The total amount levied on all taxable property based off a population of 25,830 is $7,252,698 with respective funds set at: general $5,179,255; fire $682,500; airport $101,656; share of specials $286,089; library $690,274; and building $312,924.

These figures represent a .02 percent reduction in the mill rate from last year. Brownlee explained that even though the city is spending more money the increase in taxable value due to the growth of the city leaves the tax rate the same.

The final budget had to be adopted by Oct. 1 and now has to be filed with Cass County before Oct. 10, where staff will certify taxes on tax bills that will go out in December.

In other action, the commission:

-following a public hearing at which no one attended to voice protest, approved the assessment lists for District Nos. 1225, 1229, 1231, 1233, 1234, 1236, 2211, 2212, 2214, 2217, 2218, 4044, 4046 and 4047;

-awarded the contract for Sidewalk Improvement District No. 6050 for 2012 sidewalks to Adelman Concrete and Excavating Inc., West Fargo, with their low bid of $180,762.45. The engineer's estimate was $168,000. This work will primarily be completed in the Eagle Run commercial subdivision on 32nd Avenue as well as other repair spots in the community;

-awarded the contract for Street Improvement District No. 2216, for Veterans Boulevard from 32nd Avenue to 40th Avenue to Dakota Underground Company, Fargo, with a low bid of $5,467,357.10. This project is a 50/50 cost share with Fargo contingent upon the Fargo City Commission also approving the contract. The engineer's estimate for the work was $5,997,000. Work is expected to begin in two to three weeks on installing the utilities on the boulevards and the reconstruction starting next year;

-awarded the contract for Sewer, Water, Storm and Street Improvement District No. 1244 for Westview 1st Addition, to Kindred Plumbing and Heating with a low bid of $967,727.75, contingent upon remaining paperwork being reviewed and acceptable. The engineer's estimate was $1,071,500.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the West Fargo City Commission will take place Monday, Oct. 15 at 5:30 p.m. in the commission chamber at West Fargo City Hall. All meetings are open to the public.