School district to hold bond meetings

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Residents who spoke at the West Fargo School District mill levy public hearing questioned the district's need for an upcoming bond referendum.

Voters will be asked to approve a $106.9 million bond referendum on Sept. 25 that will help pay for a third high school and middle school as well as safety upgrades, art and gifted classrooms in elementary schools that do not have them and $3 million for artificial turf fields at every high school.

"A big thing we have to look at is if they are needs or are they wants," said West Fargo residente Steve Marquart. "The turf, I think is a want."

Because the school district will be paying off its debt by the time it would begin paying on a new bond, if the bond passes, it would increase the school district's mill levy by a net 3.51 mills. The increase would only increase tax bills on a $100,000 home by $15.80 per year.
However, property values across the metro have been increasing, so if a property owner receives a higher valuation, their tax bill could increase.

West Fargo Peter Hettwer asked the school board Monday to find ways to slow its growth rather than asking voters to pass a bond. Hettwer said his taxes have gone up due to increasing valuations.

"Our property value in the last three years went up 33 percent," Hettwer said.

The school district is hosting presentations on the bond at 7 p.m. Sept. 12 at Sheyenne High School and again at 7 p.m. on Sept. 18 at West Fargo High School.