Fargo to raise utility franchise fees and property taxes in effort to raise consistent income

Courtesy: City of Fargo
Courtesy: City of Fargo

(Fargo, ND) -- In a contested vote, City Commissioners are voting in favor of increasing the mills and utility fees on city residents. 

Fargo Mayor Tim Mahoney spearheaded the Commission's Special Meeting on Monday. Mayor Mahoney proposed a budget that would increase Utility Franchise Fees and raise the total number of mills by two, to a total of 55. The mayor says a large portion of the raised funds will go towards investments in public safety.

"As the city grows, we need to pay for safety, "said Mahoney in the presentation to the Commission, "Our community wants excellent services, and to provide those excellent services, we are going to have to bring in extra revenue to pay for those services."

Mahoney says the goal is to bring in six additional police officers to the department, pending on the acceptance of a federal grant that the city is expecting to learn more about within two months. Additionally, the Fire Department is expected to see additional assistance through the funds provided by the mills, via the form of "investing in department safety and emotional well being", according to a summary by Mahoney.

Fargo Commissioner Denise Kolpack voiced her support on her social media page Monday night, saying it was a tough decision to vote for the increased budget.

"The franchise tax solution, which will add $5 million to the general fund annually, will increase as Fargo grows," wrote Commissioner Kolpack, "The 2 mill addition will be dedicated to public safety and has been considered now for months. More Police (including addressing our racing/speeding issues), staffing and salary adjustments for our Fire Department, addressing mental health and addiction services, and getting to some root causes."

The Commissioners, in a 4-1 vote, are moving forward with the proposal. Commissioner Dave Peipkorn was the lone dissenting vote.