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Letter: Water district assessment methodology needs update

Am I the only one?...

To my fellow landowners within the Sheyenne-Maple Flood Control District No. 1. You may have received the assessment notice in the mail from the Cass County Southeast Cass Water Resource District (dated June 18, 2018). The letter starts off well enough with a little background into the 'Sheyenne Diversion," past maintenance assessments and recognition of current developments.

Then we merge into the lane of "notice of hearing regarding reassessment of benefits" and an upcoming hearing at 9 a.m. on July 24, at the Cass County Highway Dept. Again, OK, if some of us can get time off from work to attend.

The letter states the Southeast Cass will explain its Sheyenne Diversion maintenance levy methodology, and any maintenance levy increases due to increased property values. Further, not all properties' maintenance levies will change as a result of the reassessment, and Southeast Cass does not plan to alter its maintenance levy assessment methodology.

Well, thanks Southeast Cass for the open forum and willingness to accept comments or objections regarding the reassessment, but you do not plan to alter your methodology, which you'll explain as noted earlier. Sounds like pretty much a one-way conversation. And how about that colorful Sheyenne-Maple Flood Control District #1 Assessment map? Don't try and find this on the Cass County Water District website so you can zoom in to read any details — no sir. But I did contact the office via phone and the assistant was most helpful. She did mention that the map was only a draft, and when I gave her my home address she was able to confirm I was in the 100 percent pre-project 100-year floodplain. I asked where the 25 percent property limit began, and she said my next-door neighbors' address to the east. So, a one-inch separation between our properties goes from a 100 percent assessment to a 25 percent. Here's something novel: how about an assessment based on the value of the infrastructure and not on individuals' property value.

Bottom line is we're being invited to a hearing, regarding a reassessment, from a group that does not plan to alter its assessment methodology, using an assessment map that does not explain how the lines nor percentages were modeled or calculated.

I hope the last line of the invitation has sincere merit; "Following the hearing, the District will consider any input provided and will ultimately modify, correct, or confirm the maintenance levies."

Guess we'll have to wait and see.

David Zupi

West Fargo