The Cass County Joint Water Resource District (“CCJWRD”) is currently conducting assessment district proceedings regarding CCJWRD’s creation of FM FLOOD RISK MANAGEMENT DISTRICT NO. 1, an assessment district under North Dakota law established to finance a portion of North Dakota’s local share of the costs of the FM Area Diversion Project, a project CCJWRD refers to as the FM FLOOD RISK MANAGEMENTDISTRICT NO. 1 PROJECT (the “Project”).
- February 2018 Technical Memorandum
- September 2017 Benefit Region Map
- September 2017 Assessment District Comment Response Update and Final Recommendations
Sales Tax to pay for the Project
As you know, voters in Fargo and Cass County previously voted in favor of separate sales taxes to fund the Project. However, the pace of sales tax collection will not match the pace of the costs of the project development and construction. With that in mind, the local project sponsors will have to borrow funds to keep pace with Project development, and repay the debt with sales tax proceeds. With that in mind, the local project sponsors determined creation of the FM FLOOD RISK MANAGEMENT DISTRICT NO. 1 assessment district will provide an effective financing tool for the Project, with more favorable borrowing terms (lower interest rates and lower coverage requirements) than alternative financing options. The local project sponsors anticipate sales tax proceeds will provide adequate revenue to repay the financing debt and annual payments on the assessment district.
In other words, CCJWRD does not intend to levy actual assessments against the properties within the FM FLOOD RISK MANAGEMENT DISTRICT NO. 1 assessment district as long as sales tax revenues are sufficient.
Assessment Hearing – When and Where
The Cass County Joint Water Resource District will conduct the Assessment Hearing regarding FM FLOOD RISK MANAGEMENT DISTRICT NO. 1 on Tuesday, June 6, 2017, at 5:30 p.m., at the FargoDome, 1800 North University Drive, Fargo, North Dakota. At the Assessment Hearing, landowners within the FMFLOOD RISK MANAGEMENT DISTRICT NO. 1 assessment district may present their comments or objections regarding the proposed assessment list and regarding individual assessments. Following the Assessment Hearing, CCJWRD will review and consider all comments submitted and may alter the assessment list if modifications are warranted. Note the aggregate of all assessments must equal the total amount of the local share of Project costs. CCJWRD will ultimately approve a final assessment list.
Who does this affect?
CCJWRD is a member of the Diversion Authority, and CCJWRD commenced the assessment district proceedings in 2015, including an assessment vote and a hearing to explain the Project and the potential creation of the assessment district. Owners of property that will benefit from the Project, as well as owners of property that will be impacted by the Project, had the opportunity to vote to determine if CCJWRD should create the assessment district. The vote was successful, and CCJWRD entered an Order to legally and officially establish the FM FLOOD RISK MANAGEMENT DISTRICT NO. 1assessment district. To complete the assessment district process, CCJWRD will conduct an Assessment Hearing to discuss the benefits of the Project and potential assessments to those properties within the FM FLOOD RISK MANAGEMENT DISTRICT NO. 1 assessment district that will benefit from the Project.
To view a copy of the entire assessment list, visit www.fmdiversion.gov/assessment. Copies of the assessment list are also available for review at CCJWRD’s office at 1201 Main Avenue West, West Fargo; at the Cass County Auditor’s office at 211 9th Street South, Fargo; and at the Richland County Auditor’s Office at 418 2nd Avenue North, Wahpeton.
What Will the Assessment Hearing Tell Me?
The Assessment Hearing will provide property owners within the FM FLOOD RISK MANAGEMENT DISTRICT NO. 1 assessment district an opportunity to inquire about the benefits of the Project to their properties and potential assessment liabilities. The assessment district vote also included votes for owners of property the Project will impact; note those impact votes afforded landowners the opportunity to support or object to the Project, and the assessment district will not include any assessments against those impacted properties.
In addition to the costs of constructing the Project, by virtue of the creation of the FM FLOOD RISK MANAGEMENT DISTRICT NO. 1 assessment district, CCJWRD may levy an annual maintenance levy against the benefitted properties for purposes of funding maintenance and operation of the Project. Recognize North Dakota law limits CCJWRD’s annual maintenance levy capabilities; CCJWRD will explain its annual maintenance levy methodology at the Assessment Hearing. In addition to the levy limits, North Dakota law prohibits CCJWRD from levying maintenance levies continuously without utilizing the maintenance dollars generated for purposes of operating and maintaining the Project; in fact, North Dakota law limits the maximum amount of maintenance dollars CCJWRD may retain in the Project maintenance fund to the equivalent of six years of levies. In other words, CCJWRD cannot simply continue to levy maintenance levies to stockpile funds; CCJWRD must either utilize those funds for operation and maintenance or cease collecting maintenance dollars. Finally, as an additional safeguard for landowners within FM FLOOD RISK MANAGEMENT DISTRICT NO. 1, by law CCJWRD can only utilize maintenance dollars levied for purposes of operating and maintaining the Project; CCJWRD cannot utilize any of those dollars for any other projects or any other purposes.
Description of the Project
The Project will reduce flood risk through construction of a 36-mile, 20,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) diversion channel that will start approximately three miles south of the confluence of the Red River and the Wild Rice River and extend west and north around the metropolitan area before re-entering the Red River east of Argusville. The Project will provide flood risk reduction from the Red River and its North Dakota tributaries, including the Wild Rice, Sheyenne, Maple, Rush, and Lower Rush Rivers. The Project will include an embankment and tie-back levees that will temporarily stage flood waters upstream of the metropolitan area to ensure no downstream impacts. The Project features will include gated control structures on the Red River, Wild Rice River, and the inlet to the Diversion Channel. The Project will also include aqueduct structures on the Sheyenne and Maple Rivers as they cross the Diversion Channel. In addition to the Diversion Channel and associated structures, the Diversion Project will include levees along the Red River through Fargo. The In-Town Levees will enable flood waters to safely pass through the Red River, as well as the Diversion Channel, which will help reduce Project impacts and will provide more robust flood risk reduction.
Construction of the Project
Construction will involve excavation of approximately 50 million cubic yards of earth to form the Diversion Channel. Construction will also involve six interstate highway bridges, twelve county and township road bridges, four railroad bridges, three gated control structures, two aqueduct structures, a rock-ramp outlet structure, and other structures. Development and construction of the Project will also include purchasing of the requisite permanent and temporary right of way to construct, own, operate, and maintain the Project; relocating utilities; and other items as necessary to construct, own, operate, and maintain the Project.
If you have additional questions that cannot be answered by the information here, please call the CCJWRD office at (701) 298-2381.
Previous Assessment Packets and Information
- DPAC Technical Memo
- All three versions of the Cover Letter:
- Sample Ballot
- Ballot Information and Instructions
- Notice of Hearing
- Benefit Region Map
- Resolution Determining Benefitted Property
- PDF of Presentation at March 10, 2015 Informational Meeting: Fargo, ND
- PDF of Presentation at March 17, 2015 Informational Meeting: Harwood, ND
- PDF of Presentation at March 24, 2015 Informational Meeting: West Fargo, ND
- PDF of Presentation at March 31, 2015 Informational Meeting: Fargo, ND