Metro Flood Diversion Authority Meeting Minutes – January 28, 2021

Metro Flood Diversion Authority Meeting Minutes

January 28, 2021

Metro Flood Diversion Authority Meeting Minutes        

A virtual meeting of the Metro Flood Diversion Authority was held on January 28, 2021, at 3:30 PM with the following members present: Dr. Tim Mahoney, Mayor, City of Fargo; Bernie Dardis, Mayor, City of West Fargo; Chad Peterson, Cass County Commissioner; Chuck Hendrickson, Moorhead City Council Member; Dave Piepkorn, Fargo City Commissioner; Dave Ebinger, Clay County Commissioner; John Strand, Fargo City Commissioner; Kevin Campbell, Clay County Commissioner; Mary Scherling, Cass County Commissioner; Rick Steen, Cass County Commissioner; Rodger Olson, Cass County Joint Water Resource District and Shelly Carlson, Moorhead City Council Member.

Member absent: Johnathan Judd, Mayor, City of Moorhead.

  1. CALL TO ORDER

Vice Chairman Peterson called the meeting to order at 3:30. Roll call was taken and a quorum was present.

Mr. Paulsen asked Mr. Shockley to provide an update on the recent appointment of Mayor Judd to judgeship and how this will affect his role with the MFDA. Mr. Shockley indicated that the Vice Chairman will chair the meetings until the City of Moorhead appoints a new mayor.

  1. APPROVAL OF MINUTES

MOTION PASSED

Mr. Steen moved and Mayor Dardis seconded to approve the minutes from the December 2020 meeting as presented. Motion carried.

  1. APPROVAL ORDER OF AGENDA

Mr. Paulsen asked that items 5b and 10a be removed from the agenda as they were tabled at the Finance Committee meeting.

MOTION PASSED

Mr. Steen moved to approve the order of the agenda as amended and Mr. Campbell seconded the motion to remove items 5b and 10a. Motion carried.

CONSENT AGENDA APPROVAL

MOTION PASSED

Mr. Strand moved to approve the consent agenda as presented and Mrs. Scherling seconded the motion. On a roll call vote, the motion carried.

REGULAR AGENDA

  1. EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR REPORT

Mr. Paulsen reported that he was in Bismarck in December to testify in support of the $850 million from the State of North Dakota for the Project. He felt that it went well and was well received.

Mr. Paulsen also reported that the final RFP went out on January 15, 2021.  Additionally, approval was received from the EPA for the WIFIA loan and the USACE work plan was also released and $115 million was approved for the Project.

Mr. Piepkorn inquired as to when the funds would be available and Mr. Paulsen indicated that the actual date is March 26, at which time, it will be released.

  1. GENERAL COUNSEL UPDATE

            WIFIA Term Sheet

Mr. Shockley indicated that the OMB and EPA signed off on the WIFIA loan on January 15, 2021, and we are currently awaiting closing. It is anticipated that the final interest rate will be one basis point above the US Treasury rate which would equate to approximately 1.6-1.9% over the term of the loan. The loan is anticipated to be paid in full by 2062.

MOTION PASSED

Dr. Mahoney moved to approve the WIFIA term sheet as presented by Mr. Shockley and Mr. Steen seconded the motion. On a roll call vote, the motion carried.

  1. USACE PROJECT UPDATE

Ms. Williams provided the following project update:

1 Diversion Inlet Structure Construction

Structure includes 3-50 ft. wide Tainter gates. Winter shutdown began on 18 December; work could resume mid-February. Construction is 46% complete with a required completion date of 7 June 2023. Anticipated remaining schedule:

2020: Foundations/site work, control structure, dam walls.

2021: Concrete piers/abutments, control building.

2022: Install bridge deck, gates, and operating machinery.

2023: Paint gates, seed.

2024: Turf established. 

2 Wild Rice River Structure Construction

Structure includes 2-40 ft. wide Tainter gates. Winter shutdown began on 18 December. Construction is 14% complete with a required completion date of 22 October 2023. Anticipated schedule:

2020: Foundations/site work, control structure, approach walls, dam embankment.

2021: Dam walls, control building, dam embankment.

2022: Control building, dam embankment.

2023: Complete excavation, dam embankment, gate installation, seed.

2024: Turf established.

3 Red River Structure Design

Structure includes 3-50 ft. wide Tainter gates. The design of this critical-path feature remains on schedule. The 95% review is scheduled to begin late-April 2021. Final plans and specs are scheduled to be completed in late-August 2021.

4 Southern Embankment – Reach SE-1 (Western Tieback) Design

This reach was advertised for bids on 15 January; bids are currently due 17 February. Construction contract award is scheduled for 2nd quarter FY21.

5 Southern Embankment – Reach SE-1B Design. Detailed design began November 2020.

6 Southern Embankment – Reach SE-2A and 2B Design

The 65% design review by the DA is scheduled to begin early-February 2021. Final plans and specifications are scheduled for November 2021. Reach SE-2B design is scheduled to start in February 2021.

7 I-29 Raise Design

Being designed by Houston Moore Group (HMG) and constructed by the Corps. The Prequalification of Sources is complete and advertise for bids is currently on hold.

8 Drain 27 Wetland Mitigation Project Design

The 65% design review is complete and the 95% is scheduled to begin early-March 2021. Award of a construction contract is scheduled for September 2021.

9 Drayton Dam Mitigation Project

The design has re-commenced with the goal of having final plans and specs in August 2021. This mitigation project includes replacing the existing dam to incorporate fish passage. An Environmental Assessment was completed in 2013.

  1. PUBLIC OUTREACH UPDATE

Mr. Olson indicated that the Public Outreach meeting meet yesterday, and Ms. Darling gave an overview of the Communication Approach going forward. Following are the purpose, communication principles and stages: 

Purpose

As the Metro Flood Diversion Authority (MFDA) moves from preparation to construction, communication will drive each of the upcoming stages:

– SUCCESS: securing the crucial funding commitment from the ND Legislature, along with continued funding appropriations from the federal government and the State of Minnesota in order to keep all components of the project to stay on track

– BUILD: supporting the crucial interactions to enable the safe and rapid construction of MFDA – listening to and addressing the expectations of community and various stakeholders to enable performance within the project itself

– DELIVER: seamless transition from construction to long-term operation and maintenance of the project

Communication Principles

– INTERACTIVE: transparent base communications on what we learn from our conversations with leaders and the community while staying true to our commitment to safe and rapid delivery

– STRATEGIC: focus efforts on an efficient portfolio of channels and interventions that reinforce positive views of MFDA with key constituencies, as opposed to “communication for communication’s sake”

– PROACTIVE: be aware, responsive, and accurate in the communications we generate and in our engagement with community, political and media stakeholders

Stage 1: Success  

Securing the funding package from the ND Legislature to deliver the lifesaving and economy-saving benefits of flood prevention to the region.

Stage 2: Build

Immediately following the conclusion of the legislative session, the communication focus will turn towards a very different range of activities – those required to enable and then support the safe construction of MFDA and to keep its stakeholder universes informed.

Strategically, the landscape changes considerably.  North Dakota taxpayers will need to feel reassured about their tax spend.  The MFDA construction effort will need to be connected with its internal audiences (contractors and staff in particular) and with its broader community of suppliers, neighbors, and civic and business leaders.  Clay County and, to an extent, the Minnesota legislative and media world, needs to be connected to the conversation.

There also needs to be concern about the realities – and the optics – when the progress of the project may appear upsetting to some.  Those that are unavoidable like evictions require context and a coherent, consistent approach.  Those that are avoidable – like workplace safety incidents – require an unwavering commitment to avoid them.

Stage 3: Deliver

Moving from construction to operation and maintenance requires yet another different approach – a sustainable approach for supporting a very focused multi-municipal entity over the course of its working life.

The number of people involved will be far smaller, the mechanics of its operation will be known and established, and its communication efforts will focus mainly on operations, according to its stakeholders the appropriate level of information for effective oversight and maintaining the confidence of the public in its function and safety.

The main focus of this stage will be to develop a long-term charter for a communication role or function, whether it is standalone or as part of another entity, and in ensuring that this role is adequately and sustainably staffed and serviced.

Ms. Darling also indicated that there will be upcoming educational sessions/updates of the P3 and the Project in general.

MOTION PASSED

Mr. Campbell moved to approve the Communication Approach as presented and Mr. Ebinger seconded the motion. On a roll call vote, the motion carried.

  1. LAND MANAGEMENT UPDATE

Mrs. Scherling provided an update on the Land Management meeting and stated that things are tracking on time and on budget.

496 parcels have been acquired and there are ten currently in LRED.

The appraisal is underway on Drain 27 and the excess lands policy is anticipated to go before the Board in February.

Mr. Campbell commented that three more acquisitions have been approved on the Minnesota side and that discussions continue on the easements.

Mr. Olson commented that the CCJWRD continues to close on properties and that there are approximately 700 flowage easements that need to be acquired. A letter will be mailed to those that will be affected and negotiations will continue.

  1. FINANCE UPDATE

Mayor Dardis provided an update from the Finance Committee meeting indicating that the $872,509.45 Aconex MSA contract was approved. The following contracting actions were also approved:

  • Contract Award for WP-50D.1 – Demo Package – Industrial Builders Inc. $186,437.50
  • Contract Award for WP-50D.2 – Demo Package – Industrial Builders Inc. $289,655.00
  • TO 1, Amendment 17 – 2021 Services for Project Management, Public Involvement Assistance, Project Controls, and On-call Services. This reflects 2021 rates and extends PoP to December 31, 2021- HMG $852,780
  • New Services Agreement – Government Relations – GA Group, PC $60,000
  • New Services Agreement – 2021 Audit Services – Eide Bailly $20,000

The Eide Bailly audit agreement was discussed and going forward, an RFP will be sent out prior to selecting an auditor.

Dr. Mahoney inquired if an RFP was done for the GA Group as their rate is double of what the city currently pays for the same services. Mayor Dardis and Mr. Paulsen both indicated that an RFP was not submitted but that they are retained on a fee for service basis and the contract can be terminated at any time.

MOTION PASSED

Mayor Dardis moved to approve the financial update as presented and discussed and Dr. Mahoney seconded the motion. On a roll call vote, the motion carried.

  1. OTHER BUSINESS

There was no additional business to discuss. Mr. Steen moved to adjourn the meeting and Mr. Campbell seconded the motion. The meeting adjourned at 4:22 PM.