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Wendy Reuer, Published June 05 2012

Three city levy increases to be on Tuesday ballot

FARGO – In Mapleton, Davenport and Mayville, residents will consider levy increases on Tuesday for a variety of projects.

In Mayville, a town of about 1,800 residents, public library offers a number of programs for adults and children and houses more than 13,000 books in one of the city’s oldest buildings.

But basic operating costs have risen and the older building needs some restoration, said City Auditor Gail Olstad.

“Just basic costs have gone up to where running the library is pretty tough,” Olstad said. “They really run on a tight budget, very minimal.”

Librarian Margaret Rice has even taken a pay cut to help keep the budget on track, Olstad said.

On Tuesday, residents will be asked to increase the library levy by five mills or about $12,000.

“By ordinance you’re only allowed to levy so many mills, and we’ve reached that limit, in fact we’re over that limit. So any increases in the library levy would always have to go out to a vote,” Olstad said.

Olstad said the increase in individual property bills will be “pennies,” while the additional $12,000 will help the library stay in the black.

In Mapleton, City Auditor Mary Hinschberger said voters are being asked to approve an increase in the emergency fire levy by five mills.

A simple majority who vote “yes” will raise the levy.

“We’re looking to pay the note off on our fire truck,” said Fire Chief Jon Warner. “We’ve got expired equipment that we’re trying to replace.”

Warner said the all-volunteer department has not asked for an increase in many years.

In Davenport, the park board will be taking over the city’s baseball fields, dugouts and playground equipment. The fields were previously cared for by the Kindred School District.

To do that, Auditor Beverly Dawson said the city is asking voters to raise the mill levy form four mills to 20 mills.

Dawson said the mill increase will not significantly increase property taxes for individuals.

“It will only be a couple of dollars,” Dawson said.

It is the first increase the city’s park board has requested in at least 16 years, Dawson said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Wendy Reuer at (701) 241-5530