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Dave Olson, Published September 17 2012

Fargo 2013 budget holds steady on fees, tax rates

FARGO – The Fargo City Commission on Monday approved a final 2013 budget that includes no changes to the mill levy or utility fees.

That means unless a given property’s assessed value increases, it would experience no tax increase next year.

Still, the city expects that net tax revenues will increase next year by about $700,000, due to things like new properties joining the tax rolls, appreciation in taxable values and the expiration of tax exemptions for some properties.

Under the budget approved Monday, general fund expenditures will be about $81 million next year, compared to about $75 million in 2012.

Kent Costin, Fargo’s director of finance, said areas where the city will be spending more include:

• A 2 percent cost-of-living pay bump for employees.

• The hiring of six full-time positions spread across a number of departments, including a crime analyst position at the Police Department

• Additional funding of pensions.

In other business Monday, the commission approved the purchase of a crime scene investigation truck for about $144,000.

A spokesman for the Police Department said the vehicle will serve as a stand-alone crime scene vehicle and also provide police with a command and control center for things like murder investigations and other situations that require investigators to remain at a location for an extended period of time.

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