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The West Fargo City Commission approved the preliminary 2022 budget during the Aug. 2, 2021, meeting. The approval of the preliminary budget freezes expenses that are funded through property taxes. The proposed budget will raise property taxes by $20.25 for every $100,000 of a residential property’s value. For a home with a 2020 average median sales price of $253,988, this would equate to an increase of $51.43. In total, this increase will add $1,623,728 to the City’s general fund to support services like fire, police, library, snow removal, municipal court and engineering.
For the 2022 fiscal year, the City of West Fargo has identified $102,867,377 in total expenses. This is a 4.5% increase from 2021, which is lower than the current 5.4% inflation rate. Fifteen percent of these expenses will be covered by property taxes, while the other 85% comes from sales tax, public utilities, service charges, franchise fees, special assessments and other miscellaneous taxes and revenues. The budget also plans to use $1 million in reserve funds. As part of the approval, the City Commission directed staff to review expenses again to determine if additional reductions could be made by staggering employee hires, and decreasing travel and education budgets.
The increase in funding needs in 2022 represents a significant investment in public safety. It includes hiring 3 full-time Firefighters to address the constant increase in calls for service, which rose 300% from 2017 to 2020. It also includes a Crime Analyst for the police. This position will evaluate crime data to help the department focus its efforts on high-crime areas, high-risk offenders and repeat victims. This will play a significant role in the police department’s crime prevention efforts and get useful and timely information out to the community. This also includes funding to support the increase in infrastructure that needs to be maintained and municipal services for the residential and commercial units that are added each year.
The detailed 2022 preliminary budget is available on the Finance Department website.
Residents will receive notice of their estimated 2022 property taxes via a Cass County Consolidated Tax Estimate statement at the end of August. This statement estimates 2022 property taxes based on preliminary budgets from the City of West Fargo, Cass County, State Medical, County Soil Conservation, West Fargo Park District, West Fargo Public Schools and the Southeast Water Resource District. For details on how to read and understand your tax statement, please visit the Cass County Treasurer’s website.
The statement will also provide notice of a public hearing for property owner’s to provide a comment on the City of West Fargo’s budget on Monday, Sept. 20, 2021. This meeting is not for residents to appeal the valuation of their 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.