Letter: Fargo residents need to speak up about unfair taxes and wasteful spending

How is it that common sense has become so uncommon? This is my opportunity to vent a little. Our $1.8 billion diversion project has become $2.2 billion and will likely morph into a $3 billion project.Some of our city and county fathers do not see...

How is it that common sense has become so uncommon? This is my opportunity to vent a little. Our $1.8 billion diversion project has become $2.2 billion and will likely morph into a $3 billion project.

Some of our city and county fathers do not seem to see the impact of these numbers. A 5 percent opportunity cost (interest) on $3 billion dollars is $150 million dollars per year, every year. It cost the city a mere fraction of that to fight the floods of 1997 and 2009 in each of those years.

In the meantime, we have wisely invested in floodwalls, permanent dikes, and other protective measures. If these were in place in the aforementioned years, the effort to fight those floods would have been significantly less.

This dam/diversion is pushed to provide land for the developers of south Fargo. The roads/infrastructure to build the Davies High School and later develop the lots around it were paid for by property taxes and special assessments to existing south Fargo residents.

Since properties immediately around the school were yet to be annexed into Fargo, those properties did not participate in these costs. Clearly, it was a sweet deal for the developers. Meanwhile, existing homes that were formerly in the country were hit with special assessments that exceeded the value of their homes. Where is our conscious? But the impacts do not stop there. Please be aware that this is a diversion. It is not only a diversion of the direction of high waters, but also a diversion of the costs and impacts of the same. As the developers benefit from this project, others are expected to buck up and accept the waters that, for generations, never affected them or their ancestors.


Tell me why it is ok for stewards of our land (farmers that feed the world) to give up productive land to hold floodwaters for the marginal benefit of others. Tell me why we want to burden the next two generations, our children and grandchildren, with taxes to pay for this boondoggle. Tell me how this is a project that makes any sense at all. And then we do a home buyout in excess of $800,000 and give it back to the homeowner. Again I ask where is the common sense? When two of our city leaders with a high level of intelligence and integrity have the gall to question the direction we are going, they are met with criticism and a petition is now being circulated to recall one of them for doing his job. I hope to one day have the opportunity to meet Tony Gehrig and David Piepkorn. Until then, please accept my appreciation for your work. I am sure that I speak for many. Changing course, we have voted to increase taxes for the benefit of our schools. Now I know that the lobbyist from Bismarck who called me would argue that we are not raising taxes, but in the end we pay more. Seems like a tax increase to me.

I did not respond to the Fargo employee request to unconstitutionally search my house. As a result, my house value unilaterally increased by 10 percent. Seems like another tax increase to me.

Now I know that an educated society is a benefit to all of us and I am all about investing in the next generation, but a Fargo city employee on the north side had no property tax value increase while all the community around him experienced this same 10 percent property value increase. Seems unfair to me.

Like I said, I am doing some venting. But this is not about me. This is about using a little common sense to come together around some important local issues. We need to support leaders like Piepkorn and Gehrig. They have a thankless task yet are willing to serve for our benefit. As has been said, "All it takes for evil to prevail is for the righteous to remain silent." So, you who know what is right, speak up!

Rauser lives in Fargo.

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