Letter: Here we go again, another bond
Here it comes again, a vote to increase funding for more schools and additions in
West Fargo. We just recently approved $98 million and now they ask for an
additional $106 million or more. Let me state that I am not against schools and
needed room for the growing populace in West Fargo. I have voted for each and
every one. I am a retired teacher/administrator and have worked on building and
student overflow in the past. The problem I have with this is the going back to the
well for more tax dollars often and not being transparent with the dollars.
The biggest problem is with the way the last group of organizers laid out their
plan for the $98 million West Fargo project. The plan was large but something
needed to be done for the influx of students. I believe most felt that it was
needed and voted it in. The buildings themselves should have been enough at the
time. But no, two other projects were "piggy backed" on that measure driving up
the costs. There was the aqua center and ice sheets for hockey. Yes, the swim
people and hockey people were delighted. But were these needs or wants?
There should have been two separate votes. One for room space and one for
aqua and ice. I am sure there were people that voted for it with that piggy back
because they knew the room space was need but really did not want their taxes
to go up by paying for both. They had no choice. I asked one of the more
prominent members of the committee why they attached the ice and aqua center
without a separated vote? I was told "They would not have passed without it".
What does that mean? This small group was going to get their way even if the
public tax payer did not want it? Yes! I will attest that some of the ice and aqua
money came from outside sources, but the tax payer picked up the balance. This
time it is turf grass and whatever. At a cost of millions.
I attended a meeting several years ago in which the aqua center was being
proposed. Among other questions I asked was why the park board did not want
this project. Too expensive. I asked why Fargo and Moorhead did not build when
they had the proposal before them? I called Fargo parks and a Moorhead council
member. They told me, too expensive. The issue became silent for several years
until it raised its ugly head and was attached to the school building project and
you paid for it.
At the polls this time I will not vote for it and urge you to do the same. Will this
stop the building needs for our students? I hope not. Just send it back to trim off
the fat even if they say that has already been done. Make them show where the
dollars will be spent. Perhaps some room sharing with Fargo if available. They are
not that far away so transportation should not be a great problem.
Schools take approximately 65 percent of our total taxes. How do you want them spent?
Look closely at this next one in November. Listen to hear how transparent they
make it. Look for the add-ons before casting your vote.