Police and Fire Sales Tax
The City of West Fargo is proposing increasing sales tax by one-half of a percent (0.5%) to diversify funding for police and fire department's operations, equipment and buildings. This funding could not be used for anything else.
During the educational Public Safety Sales Tax Town Hall meeting, attendees learned about the ongoing needs of the police and fire departments and the logistics of casting a vote for or against both City Measure #1 and City Measure #2.
Sales Tax Purpose:
The West Fargo Police and Fire Departments' budgets are two of the largest budgets in the City of West Fargo that are funded with property taxes. The City is proposing to increase sales tax by one-half of a percent (0.5%) to diversify these public safety departments' funding.
The purpose of the proposed sales tax increase is to:
- Share costs with visitors who utilize public safety services but don't pay property taxes.
- Provide an additional revenue stream for public safety departments, currently dependent on property taxes for funding.
- Keep the capital infrastructure sales tax fund more targeted:
Public Safety Funding Need:
The West Fargo Police and Fire Departments are seeing a rise in financial need that outpaces the current property tax levels due to:
- Increasing number of calls for service
- West Fargo’s increasing population
- Growing school district
- Expanding visitor appeal
The issues that these departments need to address are:
- Patrol Staffing - increase minimum levels of staffing to ensure adequate responses to priority calls for service
- Fire Response - In 2021, there were 239 times with no fire companies available for emergency response due to ongoing calls for service
- Add resources like patrol staff, firefighters, and mobile equipment to better respond to major incidents at high capacity locations and events
- Emergency Response - Response times for fire and medical calls are slower than national standards due to lack of crews.
This will appear on West Fargo voters' ballots as City Measures No. 1 & No. 2. A yes vote on both questions means you are in favor of increasing the sales and use tax by one-half of a percent (0.5%) to be used exclusively for police and fire operations, equipment and buildings. A no vote on either question, or both questions, means you are not in favor of increasing the sales and use tax.