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Letter: Don't let special assessments tax force get your hopes up

Have you ever wondered if the special assessment process in Fargo is legal, not to mention if specials are fair or not?

It's nice to see the Fargo City Commission initiate a new study group to review possible changes to our special improvement process in Fargo, but we've heard that before. Hopefully Rep. Al Carlson, R-Fargo, won't be part of it like his secret special assessment group that was discovered back in the early 2000s by the press. I'm thinking at least one current city commissioner was on that secret commission. Those meetings were never open to the public and many special assessment policy decisions were made that control your current tax bills.

One idea to review is that the North Dakota's Century Code does not allow the city to charge any more than the actual specially assessed project costs to build, plus special admin expenses. So, where is the detailed listings of the revenue and expenses for all those specials?

One issue of that is, if the city refinances a bond used to pay for your special improvement, the city should lower the interest rate they charge you on that special project. I'd be willing to bet that never happens. Then again, not many homeowners read their special assessment bills for detail.

Don't get your hopes up and expect much of anything to change at these renewed specials meetings other than something trivial.

Engebretson lives in Fargo.