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West Fargo holds first reading of sales tax ordinance that will take effect in spring

Sales tax passed the ballot by only about 100 votes

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WEST FARGO — After it was narrowly approved by voters earlier this month, the West Fargo half-cent sales tax will likely go into effect around April.

The West Fargo City Commission took the next step in implementing the sales tax that will be used for public safety or police and fire services at its last meeting. The measure will next be presented to the North Dakota State Tax Commissioner for certification.

West Fargo City Attorney John Shockley said he expects it to begin collected around April 1, with the city receiving its first payments in May.

Due to charter language, the measure was proposed in two questions, and both needed to be approved in order to pass. The measure passed Nov. 8 by less than 70 votes on the first question, with 50.3% of voters approving the idea and 49.7% opposed or 5,648 votes in approval and 5,581 votes against.

The second question received 50.6% approval with 49.4% opposed, or 5,660 votes in favor and 5,525 votes against.

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The results were canvassed by the Cass County Auditor the following week.

The measure will increase the city portion of sales tax from 2% to 2.5%, creating an 8% sales tax rate including state and county taxes. In Fargo, the rate of sales tax including state and county taxes amounts to 7.5%. Moorhead's sales tax is 7.38%, although Moorhead also passed a half-cent sales tax increase after the Nov. 8 vote.

West Fargo has a half-cent sales tax to pay for economic development projects and a one-cent tax for infrastructure projects that voters approved in 2014.

The West Fargo City Commission voted in August to place the half-cent sales tax on the Nov. 8 ballot with the expectation that it will generate about $2.4 million in 2023.

At that time, city officials said the police department budget should increase by $2.9 million to $12.6 million by 2026 to add personnel and equipment. Officials would also increase the fire department budget about $3.45 million to $6.8 million by 2026 to add more personnel and equipment.

READ MORE FROM WEST FARGO EDITOR WENDY REUER

Readers can reach West Fargo editor Wendy Reuer at wreuer@forumcomm.com or 701-241-5530 . Follow her on Twitter @ForumWendy .

Related Topics: WEST FARGO
As the West Fargo editor, Wendy Reuer covers all things West Fargo for The Forum and oversees the production of the weekly Pioneer.
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