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Dave Olson, Published December 14 2010

Moorhead passes 2011 budget, levy

The Moorhead City Council on Monday approved a budget and tax levy for 2011 that will not raise taxes on a typical Moorhead home.

The city portion of property taxes on a home valued at about $140,000 may actually drop a dollar or two, city officials said.

The budget for 2011 was set at about $62.3 million, or about 3 percent, over the previous budget.

The tax levy approved Monday will raise about $7.6 million in revenue, or about 2 percent more than the previous levy.

Homeowners will not see a corresponding increase in the city portion of their property taxes because of growth in the city’s tax base, city officials said.

Prior to approving a final budget, the council heard from Brian Gramer, a resident of Moorhead and a member of the board of directors of the Rourke Art Gallery Museum, which leases a city-owned building.

The council voted earlier this year to drop the museum from the list of outside agencies the city of Moorhead gives money to.

The city gave the museum $9,220 in 2010.

Without specifically asking that the appropriation be preserved, Gramer said the museum is one of the “fringe benefits” that sets Moorhead apart and gives it a competitive edge when it comes to attracting growth.

When Gramer asked who among the many people attending Monday’s council meeting supported the museum, many raised their hands.

However, when the council approved its final budget, funding for the Rourke was not included.

Interchange ramps

In other action Monday, the council passed a resolution intended to show that the city is in agreement with business leaders and others who have expressed strong feelings that old Interstate 94 interchange ramps at 34th Street south and Main Avenue be kept open.

The ramps are scheduled to close later this week when a new interchange opens.

The closing of the old ramps is required by the Federal Highway Administration, which has a policy against allowing more than one interstate interchange to operate in the same area.

Moorhead City Engineer Bob Zimmerman said city officials believe keeping the old ramps open will not cause problems.

He added that Moorhead is working with the Metropolitan Council of Governments on a study local officials hope will convince federal officials that keeping the old ramps will actually be beneficial.

The council’s action Monday authorized staff to explore the cost of hiring consultants to help the city with its efforts to retain the ramps.

Budget highlights

Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555