Despite the worldwide pandemic, and some early-year revenue losses, the West Fargo Park District will not have to raise its mill levy to keep its current level of services.

West Fargo taxpayers will see an increase of $2 per $100,000 in home value in 2021, but the park district's current budget will remain at 27.06 mills, said park district Finance Director Justin Germundson.

Germundson said the mill levy went down in 2019 to 27.06 mills from 27.99 mills in 2018 and it will hold steady in 2020.

The park district set its preliminary budget last week, setting a public hearing on the budget for Sept. 9.

"We've never gone to the public for an increase for making so many things and making so many improvements. I think our fiscal responsibility to the public is really a priority." said Executive Director Barb Erbstoesser. "In a growing community we have a lot more needs than other communities. "

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Along with its budget, the West Fargo Park Board also approved the creation of a West Fargo Parks Foundation. The new foundation will operate as a nonprofit with a five-member board of directors, which includes two park board members and three members of the community.

Building a foundation was important to board member Chris Heise, who has served on other foundations. He said having a foundation provides a nonprofit organization for the community to donate funds or dedicate land to with positive tax implications. The foundation can also work to raise donations for future projects supported by the community, which the park district cannot do.

The district is currently working to finish up drainage improvements and an additional softball field at Meadowridge Park.

Erbstoesser said the soccer goals that historically had been in place at the park can be replaced for soccer play at other times throughout the year.

"The soccer goals are not gone forever, necessarily," she said. "There will be certain times of the year when there will be baseball and there will be times of the year we may need the space for soccer."