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Published June 18, 2009, 02:40 PM

Fargo mayors, past and present, to support flood sales tax at Friday event

FARGO - Fargo Mayor Dennis Walaker and three former mayors are holding a press conference Friday to encourage voters to support a half-cent sales tax in a June 30 special election to help pay for permanent flood protection for the city.

By: Helmut Schmidt, INFORUM

FARGO - Fargo Mayor Dennis Walaker and three former mayors are holding a press conference Friday to encourage voters to support a half-cent sales tax in a June 30 special election to help pay for permanent flood protection for the city.

The mayors will speak at 9 a.m. at the Fargo Park District Depot, 701 Main Ave.

At least 60 percent of voters must approve the addition of the half-cent tax to Fargo’s current 6½-cent sales tax. City officials say the tax would raise about $200 million over its 20-year life. The tax, if approved, would go into effect Jan. 1.

The Home Builders Association of Fargo-Moorhead and several other businesses and groups are paying for ads on radio and television, Krista Mund of the HBA said Thursday. She did not know the ad budget for the campaign.

No specific flood control plan has been chosen, but the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is studying two options, a $909 million diversion, and a $625 system of levees, floodwalls and other measures that would incorporate Fargo’s proposed $161 million Southside Flood Control Project.

Walaker said no city or state funds are being used on the get-out-the-vote drive.

“We want to get this thing moving. There is some question about doing this before we get a plan, but the measure is strictly set aside for flood control,” Walaker said.

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