In Monday's meeting, the West Fargo City Commission reviewed their options as they relate to the Fargo Moorhead Diversion Project, which were laid out by City Administrator Jim Brownlee.
The commissioners decided to continue monitoring the process, and did not vote on the topic.
"I think we need to just continue monitoring the situation, and I think we will have a good handle on what's going on," West Fargo Mayor Rich Mattern said. "This is a slow process. We'll make a decision down the road, but I think to take action now would be getting a little ahead of ourselves."
In his presentation to the board of commissioners, Brownlee listed the positive results the diversion could potentially bring, including:
- Improved flood protection for the city as a whole, but especially south of the interstate.
- Improved flood protection north of the tie back levee.
- The likelihood of development west of the current diversion channel and north of the tie back levee.
- Better protected jobs of residents that work in Fargo or Moorhead.
- Better protected medical facilities.
- Less necessity to spend money of temporary preventative measures during flood season.
Potentially negative results, as presented by Brownlee, included:
- Residents would pay county and City of Fargo sales tax for flood protection.
-- Residents would be assessed for the maintenance of the Diversion Project, as well as some of the construction costs.
-- Fewer bridges over the new diversion channel means less access to the city from the west.
-- The Project would hinder any development west of the channel.
-- The large amount of state funding for the project could potentially mean less funding for other projects in the area.
According to Brownlee, the "biggest possible negative effect" of the diversion project on West Fargo would be if large assessments were levied against West Fargo residents. For this reason, the city should be actively involved and monitor the actions of the Cass County Water Board.
"Any action at the moment would be premature on our part," Commissioner Duane Hansen said. "We should take it step by step and make a decision when we get there."
Brownlee also stated that "Plan A" is for the sales taxes of the the City of Fargo and Cass County to pay for construction assessments of the project. However, voters would have to increase the current sales taxes in future elections.
Also, should the commissioners take an oppositional stance against the diversion project, the city would most likely not retain a member on the Diversion Authority Board.
In other actions, the commissioners:
-- Unanimously approved to award a contract YHR Partners, Ltd. for their architectural services regarding the construction of the new police department building.
"During the interviewing process, YHR did an excellent job with their proposal," Mattern said. "They seemed to have an answer for everything. It was very impressive."
The Commissioners voted for the city to begin its search for architects the Dec. 3 meeting. After hearing from several firms, the decision was made to go ahead with YHR Partners.
--Unanimously approved Ordinance No. 945, which relates to door-to-door sales and solicitation. This ordinance would make it so door-to-door salesmen and solicitors would be required to have a permit, in order to insure the safety and privacy of West Fargo residents. It was made clear that non-profit organizations (girl scouts, high school fundraisers, etc.) and door-to-door businesses whose presence is requested (Schwann's, etc.) would be exempt from the permit process. Also, all salesmen, with or without the necessary permit, would still be required to honor "No Trespassing" and "No Soliciting" signs posted outside of West Fargo homes.
-- Authorized Mark Vaux to write a letter of support on behalf of the commission of the Dakota Commons senior housing project by Southhill Properties, LLC.