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Published October 28, 2010, 12:00 AM

Cass sales tax essential factor in comprehensive flood control

The 2009 and 2010 spring floods came to our doorsteps and we prevailed in keeping the water out.

By: Dennis Walaker and Tim Mahoney, Fargo

The 2009 and 2010 spring floods came to our doorsteps and we prevailed in keeping the water out. No one knows what next spring’s snowmelt will bring. There are some of us on the Fargo City Commission who recognize the need to fund a long-term solution now. Part of the funding solution is in place with Fargo’s half-cent sales tax approved by the voters in 2009. The second piece to this funding puzzle will be up for vote Tuesday with a proposed half-cent sales tax for Cass County. We encourage you to vote for that sales tax.

Why a sales tax, and why now? A countywide sales tax will raise more tax revenue than Fargo’s sales tax (about $11 million a year) to be dedicated to flood protection; there are flood protection plans already in place to protect property both inside Fargo and in the county for which these funds can be used; and, there will be adequate revenues from this tax to also match the city funds in constructing a diversion – the long-term solution to major springtime flooding.

This long-term diversion plan is in the process of being authorized and designed with the most optimistic predictions for completion to be in the year 2021 – 10 years from now.

We are suggesting that a positive sales tax vote on Tuesday will allow the city and county staff and elected officials to move forward with intermediate projects that will become part of the long-term diversion plan. For example, drain extensions and improvements in south Fargo, ring dike construction of rural subdivisions, road elevations in Fargo’s extraterritorial zones (within two miles of the city boundaries), which can protect rural and urban homes, as well as in the Harwood area, where springtime flooding is a problem.

Your “yes” vote on Tuesday is requested and appreciated.

Walaker is mayor of Fargo. Mahoney is a Fargo city commissioner.