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Commission favors property tax exemption

West Fargo City Commissioners granted a five-year tax exemption to Scott Steffes of Steffes Auctioneers on Monday night, for the Fargo Tractor building he purchased and renovated at 2000 E. Main Ave., West Fargo.

City Assessor Wanda Wilcox told the commission that Steffes had done an excellent job with the project that included a total renovation of the front half of the building taking the office space from 1,500 square feet to 4,000 square feet, along with installation of a 25 foot glass front and an area for implementation of an auction bay.

The exemption was on the new value only for a five year period starting in 2011. The valuation prior to remodeling was $292,000, while the increase after the renovation was to $634,000, making it eligible for the exemption on the increase of $342,000. This wills save Steffes $6300 a year in property taxes for each of the five years.

Commissioner Lou Bennett touted the project, saying "we need more like that."

Commissioners also agreed to fund the local match of $11,070 for a new replacement bus vehicle for the 14 passenger bus used for the West Fargo Senior Ride Service. Total cost of the vehicle is $55,532.

The request was made by Valley Senior Services Executive Director Brian Arett. The vehicle will be purchased through the city of Fargo which allows for the utilization of FTA funds to pay for 80 percent of the cost.

City Administrator Jim Brownlee told the board that the city participated in a similar request in 2004, with the 80-20 split. He said the amount would come from the general fund reserve contingency.

In other action, the commission:

-approved change orders for construction projects 1213 and 1214, and also approved a new method of reviewing and addressing change orders that involves the commissioners holding the sewer and water and street department portfolios;

-gave final plat approval to a replat of Eagle Run 19th Addition, property located on the south side of 32nd Avenue West, west of 9th Street West. The request was a replat of a portion of Eagle run 13th Addition and a portion of Eagle run 15th Addition, providing the public right-of-way for 33rd Avenue West to access Aurora Elementary School. Currently, an access easement on Park District property provides access to the school and to the private property to the north. The access easement is viewed as inadequate, so public right-of-way is being proposed along with street improvement;

-approved a conditional use permit for CMT Transportation at 975 Armour St. NW, to provide for a motor freight/trucking facility, warehouse and outside storage, and parking of equipment. The company is mainly a dispatching business that will rarely have trucks on site.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the West Fargo City Commission will take place at 5:30 p.m., Monday, Jan. 31, in the commission chambers at West Fargo City Hall. All meetings are open to the public.