Four informational meetings are being held throughout March which detail a proposed assessment district created to finance a portion of North Dakota’s local share of the FM Area Diversion Project.
Property owners of approximately 49,000 parcels within North Dakota who will benefit from the Diversion Project have received a ballot and packet of information in the mail regarding FM Flood Risk Management District No. 1, the proposed assessment district.
Property owners of parcels in North Dakota impacted by the Project will also receive a vote. Impacted properties consist of either land that will be acquired, land that will have an easement attached, or upstream land that will have additional water stored on it.
In addition, Cass County and the 20 townships and cities within the Diversion’s benefitted boundaries in North Dakota will receive a vote based on their benefit.
The Cass County Joint Water Resource District (CCJWRD) is the legal entity administering the assessment district.
Under the current plan, property owners would not likely have to pay annual assessments; the two voter-approved sales taxes would do that. The assessment district is being considered as a financing tool because it will save taxpayers’ money through lower interest rates and lower coverage requirements that enable full utilization of the sales tax revenues.
In light of the benefit or impact from the Project, each landowner who receives a ballot and packet is entitled to a vote regarding the creation of FM Flood Risk Management District No. 1. The weight of the vote for those benefiting is based on the assessment amount listed on the ballot. The amount of assessment is based on each parcel’s value according to County tax records, acreage, and flood risk reduction. The weight of the vote for those properties impacted by the Project is equal to the full assessor’s value of the parcel according to the County tax records.
Public meetings were held on Tuesday, March 10; Tuesday, March 17; and Tuesday, March 24; in Fargo, Harwood, and West Fargo, ND, respectively.
One remaining informational meeting, which is also a statuary project hearing, will be held in a meeting room at the Fargodome in Fargo on Tuesday, March 31, 2015, at 5:30 pm.
For more information about the assessment district, including downloadable PDF copies of the contents of the mailed packets, an assessment district map, and several related articles which help explain the voting process, go to www.FMDiversion.com/assessment.
Videos of each of the public informational meetings are also being published at www.FMDiversion.com/assessment and are being shown on public access television.
The construction of the Diversion Project is urgent because flooding in the Red River Valley has become increasingly severe and frequent. The cost of ignoring the flooding problem would be devastating to the approximately 200,000 people in the Fargo-Moorhead metropolitan area.