Now that the city of West Fargo, West Fargo Park District and West Fargo Schools have set their individual preliminary budgets, residents will have a chance to give their thoughts on each entity’s budget.
The city will hold a public hearing on the budget at 6 p.m. Monday, Sept. 16, at City Hall, said Finance Director Jim Larson. The city’s final budget is due Oct. 10.
The park district will hold a public hearing at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 11, and will approve its budget the same day.
“Our regular board meeting begins at 5:30 [p.m.],” said Justin Germundson, finance director. “At 6 [p.m.] we will interrupt and have our public hearing to set the final budget. After that, we go back to our regular board meeting.”
A budget hearing will be held for the school district at 6:30 p.m., Monday, Sept. 9. By that time, taxpayers will have received a letter from Cass County that will break down all potential changes from the city, county, school districts and park district.
Each agency's change will likely cause taxes to rise by each agency by about $7 to $20 per $100,000 home.
The school district’s total overall levy in 2020 will be 137.79 mills, an increase over last year's 133.31 mills. That increase would equate to an increase of $20.6 cents for a $100,000 home, said Business Manager Mark Lemer. The reason for the increase is due largely in part to individual levy changes such as the sinking interest levy, or the fund used to pay off debt.
The city’s preliminary budget increased the mill levy by 4.73 mills, which will 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. The increases are due largely in part to adding staff to the fire department and returning operational money to the city’s lone library.
The park district is not raising its mill levy in 2020; it will stay flat at 26.99 mills. However, due to an increase in mill valuation, taxes will likely increase $15 per $200,000.
Budget public hearings:
City of West Fargo: 6 p.m. Monday, Sept. 16, at City Hall
West Fargo School District: 6:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 11, at the Leidal Education Center
West Fargo Park District: 6 p.m., Monday, Sept. 9, at the Rustad Recreation Center