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Erik Burgess, Published December 17 2012

Moorhead 2013 budget includes tax bump, fees cut

MOORHEAD – The city’s budget for next year has been passed by the City Council, and it includes a tax bump and cuts to city fees.

With the passage of the $65 million dollar budget, the council here voted to raise taxes on the median-valued home by 5 percent, or $11, but fees citywide will be cut by $17.

The budget was passed 7-1, with Councilman Luther Stueland voting against. The 2013 budget is up from the $63 million 2012 budget.

The city’s forestry fee will see a $3 decrease, mosquito control will be cut $9 and the fire service fee will be cut $6 per median-valued home.

In Moorhead, that is a $140,000 home.

Council members decided in earlier meetings that some fees could afford to take small cuts and be made up for with available reserve dollars. For mosquito control, $130,945 was pulled from reserves, and $90,000 for forestry.

“I think that was a very strong commitment we made as a council at that time, and I think we’ve met that commitment here as we come to the final stages with the budget in front of us,” Councilman Mark Hintermeyer said.

In budget discussions Monday night, Stueland noted that taxes are still going up next year and decreasing fees is only a “recognition that we were overcharging previously.”

He said the city has seen a 60 percent increase in the levy over the past six years, while the county has reduced theirs by 10 percent in the same time span.

The council also passed on Monday its 2013 Economic Development Authority budget of $245,000 and levy of the same amount.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Erik Burgess at (701) 241-5518