The City of West Fargo is holding a public hearing on the 2020 City of West Fargo budget at 6 p.m., Monday, Sept. 16, during a West Fargo City Commission meeting. During this meeting, the community can give input on the proposed 2020 City of West Fargo budget.

The West Fargo School Board held its budget hearing Monday, Sept. 9. No residents attended. The West Fargo Park Board will hold its budget hearing at 6 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 11, at the Rustad Rec Center, 601 26th Ave. E.

The West Fargo City Commission approved its preliminary 2020 budget Monday, Aug. 5, which would raise its mill levy by 4.73 mills, to allow the fire department and library operating budgets to grow. City Administrator Tina Fisk said the mill levy increase would raise property taxes about $21.29 per $100,000 home. The preliminary expenditure budget will increase from 8.6 percent from 2019, or about $722,000.

Fourteen percent of the city’s budget is comprised of property tax revenues. During the Aug. 5, West Fargo City Commission meeting, the West Fargo Board of City Commissioners approved a preliminary property tax revenue fund of $13,531,887. This is a $1,396,000 increase over the 2019 budget. This increase is needed to provide proper funding for the West Fargo Fire Department’s transition to an official department of the City of West Fargo, restore funding for the West Fargo Public Library, cover the special assessments due for city-owned property and increase staffing and service levels for a 6.5 population increase and increase in commercial building permits.

School district and park district taxes are likely to increase as well in 2020.

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The school district’s preliminary budget raises property taxes about $20 for a $100,000 home. The school district’s total overall levy in 2020 would be 137.79 mills, an increase over last year's 133.31 mills. That increase would equate to an increase of $20.60 for a $100,000 home.

The park district’s mill levy will stay flat at 26.99 mills, but taxes may still go up about $15 per $200,000 because the mill valuation increased 5 percent.

City Spokeswoman Melissa Richard said the City of West Fargo’s revenues to cover the expenses to provide services are collected from multiple sources, including property taxes, sales taxes, special assessments, state and federal funding, public utilities and licenses and permits. For the 2020 fiscal year, the City of West Fargo’s proposed budget outlines $91,074,211 in expenses and $91,251,792 in revenues, creating an estimated surplus of $177,281.

Cass County Consolidated Tax Estimate statements were distributed in early September. The statement estimates 2020 total property taxes based on project mill rate levies from the city, Cass County, state medical, County Soil Conservation, park district, schools and the Southeast Water Resource District.

For details on how to read and understand your tax statement, visit the Cass County Treasurer’s website.

Members of the public can attend and provide comment on the city's budget at the hearing, but it is not intended for residents to appeal or review the city assessor’s determination of true and full value for a property.

If a property owner believes the true and full value of their property is incorrect, they should contact the city assessor’s office for a review, Richard said.

The full, detailed 2020 preliminary budget can be found at https://www.westfargond.gov/2020Budget.