Fargo Public Schools will hold a Special Election on Tuesday, March 11 to approve the District’s general mill levy authority for the next ten years, as required by state law. Visit www.fargo.k12.nd.us/specialelection for more information.
Why is FPS holding this election?
The purpose of the March 11 election is to approve the Fargo Public School District’s general mill levy authority for the next ten years. As approved by voters, Fargo Public Schools has general levying authority above the state-mandated cap. The 2009 ND State Legislature placed a requirement on all districts with general levying authority above the state-mandated cap to secure approval to continue to do so every ten years. This election is to set the mill levy authority for Fargo Public Schools from 2015-2025.
Why is this being held as a special election?
The question on the ballot is complex. A special election for the purpose of approving the mill levy level for Fargo Public Schools will allow for voters to be informed on just one topic.
What will I see on the ballot?
The ballot language will be the following:
An amendment to section 57-15-14, passed by the 2009 North Dakota Legislative Assembly requires school districts to get approval from their voters by December 31, 2015 to continue any prior voter authorized general fund tax levies which are greater than the current statutory general fund levy limitation. The current Fargo Public School District’s general fund levy authority is 170.46 mills. The current statutory general fund levy limitation is seventy mills on the dollar of the taxable valuation of the school district.
Shall Fargo Public School District No. 1 have a general fund mill levy authority of up to one hundred fifty mills effective December 31, 2015 for the following ten years?
Are you asking to raise my taxes?
No. The question on the ballot is about taxing “authority,” not about a specific tax level. Fargo Public Schools’ current general fund mill levy is 139 mills, and our current taxing authority is 170.46 mills. The question on the ballot is to authorize authority up to 150 mills, which would allow for taxation above the current 139 mills, if operational expenditures call for it and it is certified by the county auditor.
If I vote yes, will my taxes be raised?
Property taxes will not increase directly as a result of a yes vote in this election. The question of “Will my taxes increase?” has many factors. The Fargo School Board may choose in future years to increase mills levied up to the authority granted by a vote of the taxpayers; however, this election, and action of the Board do not account for actions of other elected bodies who possess taxing authority, or valuation increases to property, which would mean a property owner could pay more tax even though there was no increase in mills or taxation levels. The value of a mill has averaged a 2.2% annual increase over time.
My usual voting location is not on the list of polling sites. Where do I vote on March 11?
The election on March 11 is a city-wide election, which allows citizens to cast their vote at any of the polling sites. On the day of election, you can vote at any of the following: Lincoln Elementary, Clara Barton Elementary, Kennedy Elementary, South High School, Madison Elementary, McKinley Elementary, Roosevelt Elementary, Atonement Lutheran Church, or the Fargodome. For location addresses and directions, visit www.fargo.k12.nd.us/specialelection.
How were the polling locations chosen?
Fargo Public Schools reviewed all options when choosing locations to use as polling places. Schools were selected to be included as polling places to ensure neighborhood access to voters to cast their ballots in the election. Each school was selected based on its location and its ability to have a secure area to host the polling place. All voters will be accessing the area through one secure location.
I’ll be out of town on March 11. Can I vote early?
Yes! There are two options available for voting before March 11 – absentee voting or early voting. Absentee ballots are now available; they may be requested in person at the Cass County Courthouse or through their website. Ballots must be postmarked or returned on or before March 10. Early voting will take place on March 5, 6 and 7 from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. daily at the Doublewood Inn, 3333 13th Avenue South, Fargo.
I live in Fargo, but I’ve been told I can’t vote in this election. Why is that?
The election is only for taxpayers that reside within the Fargo Public School District #1 boundary. The Fargo Public Schools has a smaller footprint than the entire city limits of Fargo. A portion of Fargo lies within the West Fargo Public School District.
Visit www.fargo.k12.nd.us/specialelection for more information.