Mayor's Musings: Proceed with caution during summer road construction
There is going to be a great deal of road construction in West Fargo this summer, so be careful while driving through these areas.
Most of you know by now that work has started on Main Avenue. It is a huge project that will be finished sometime next fall. Signs will be put up directing you to the business you need to get to, however, give yourself a little extra time to get there.
As the project progresses, how to get to a business or navigating Main Avenue will change. You can keep up with all the changes by going to www.nddotfargo.com. The website has information on the current status of the project.
Good communications among citizens, businesses, contractors, the highway department and city is important. The more we can mitigate the short-term affects, the better.
Other projects, such as changes on Veterans Boulevard, also are getting started. Couple road construction with new homes being built, an elementary school, Costco and other projects, and it is shaping up to be a very busy construction season. You are going to see many trucks on the road, so again, be careful. I tend to call all the construction "orderly chaos."
It all means that West Fargo will continue to be a city on the grow. Just how much have we grown? An indicator is the true and full value of the city by looking at commercial and residential lots and buildings.
In 1991, the true and full value of West Fargo was $245,772,800. Ten years later (2001), the value jumped to $542,572,900. That is a substantial increase in a 10-year period. West Fargo City Assessor Wanda Wilcox said the true and full valuation of West Fargo in 2012 is $1,779,273,800. That's a big number, but it is a good indicator of how much the city has grown.
I should mention that there have been some changes in reporting requirements, but the numbers still are good indicators.
Speaking of numbers, I wanted to give you an update on this year's snow removal costs compared with last year. Public Works Director Barry Johnson said we spent approximately $320,000 last year on snow removal costs. This year, it was approximately $30,000. What a difference a year makes. Keep in mind that we don't know what Mother Nature will throw at us next fall and winter before the end of the year.
There also were cost savings in other areas of the city, such as energy savings. I have to admit that when I open my Xcel Energy bill I get each month, I don't cringe as much as I did last winter. Not only is energy usage down because of the mild winter, the price I pay for natural gas is substantially lower than last year.
Up to the middle of March, I've been told that Xcel Energy has recorded an approximate 16 percent decline in energy use compared with last year. Have to love that! I'm sure that Cass County Electric is somewhere in that range, too.
A little more money in our pockets is good news!