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City approves continuance of property tax exemptions

Following a review of PILOT (pilot in lieu of taxes) and new business or industry exemptions, five West Fargo businesses have met conditions and projections regarding employment guidelines as established by law that will allow them to continue at a 100 percent property tax exemption for the year 2011.

West Fargo City Commissioners went on record Monday night unanimously supporting the action for Integrity Windows, Infinity Windows, Caterpillar Remanufacturing Drivetrain (Gremada), Midcontinent Communications, and Sheyenne Crossings (Eventide).

Integrity is in year six of a 20-year graduated exemption providing 113 jobs overall, with $9,241,000 the exemption amount; Infinity, year five of ten, with 100 overall jobs, and a $8,300,000 exemption amount; Caterpillar, year three of ten, with 355 overall jobs, and a $1,820,000 exemption amount; Mid Continent, year three of five with 32 overall jobs, and a $1,225,000 exemption amount; and Sheyenne Crossings, year four of five with 39.57 job s overall, and a $9,000,000 exemption amount.

The board also gave their approval to first reading of changes to Ordinance No. 876 relating to the moving of buildings within the city limits of West Fargo, for which written application for a permit is required and needs to be approved by the city administrator after receiving input from city staff.

The adjustments, being made upon the recommendation of the auditor and police departments, include: giving the auditor's office at least ten business days notice prior to a scheduled move, and asking that the fee for moving a building be determined on a case-by-case basis due by the committee coordinating the reviews, with the fee due upon issuance of the permit.

Staff noted that approximately three houses are moved each year, the two constructed by West Fargo High School students and staff, and "another odd one here and there."

It was also noted that the number of anticipated hours expended by city staff, in particular the police department, for manpower and blocking off roads, needs to be taken into account when determining the fee assessed.

Brownlee said those applying "get a list of the hourly rate, so they know what the fee will be for that." It was also noted that if a building being moved is over 120 feet, a building permit is also required in order for the move to occur.

In other action, the commission:

-approved a liquor license request from Curt Burdick, who will take over operation of the Speedway Restaurant at 680 W. Main Ave., West Fargo, effective March 1. The business, which most recently operated as Legend's and will be returning to the Speedway brand, already had a liquor license, so the approval involved not adding a new one to the city's listings, instead only a different one at the same location.

-heard an update from City Administrator Jim Brownlee on House and Senate bills being acted upon during the 2011 Legislative session that city officials have been tracking an providing input to.

-approved the engineers report and the resolution of necessity for activity to proceed with Storm Sewer and Water District No. 4044, 4046 and 4047, involving the installation of storm water improvements during the summer months in these areas south of the city.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the West Fargo City Commission will take place Monday, March 7, at 5:30 p.m., in the commission chambers at West Fargo City Hall, 800 4th Ave. E. All meetings are open to the public.