Grand Forks City Councilman Bret Weber was a strong advocate for raising the mil levy one half of one mil in order to fully fund the City’s FY 2018 Personnel Budget, a motion which failed on a 6-0 vote; we’ll talk about his rationale for the increase and why he think it failed in such an overwhelming way.
Speaking of mil increases, we’ll also discuss options the Council will have if the proposed Sales Tax measure fails at the ballot box in November, here are three:
(1) Do nothing additional with infrastructure; additional funding for the new water treatment plant collected from water rate increases
(2) Put “band aids” on infrastructure and levy those mils via the property tax; additional funding for the new water treatment plant collected from water rate increases
(3) Fully fund infrastructure mil requirements via the property tax; additional funding for the new water treatment plant collected from water rate increases
Dana Sande, President of the Grand Forks City Council, is concerned about the situation the City of Grand Forks finds itself in financially as a result of a decrease in State funding of infrastructure combined with a declining City Sales Tax. The Bottom Line – there are dark clouds on the horizon for every local government in the state.
In a pointed interview as the vote on Arbor Park gets under way, Sande expressed frustration over what he believes are falsehoods about the “standard Renaissance Zone incentives” that apply to the Ritterman project that could be built in Arbor Park if approved and emphasized the importance of this vote for much needed tax revenue and as a message to developers that Grand Forks is business friendly.
North Dakota State Senator Curt Kreun, (R) Grand Forks, joins the program to discuss the recovery of Grand Forks & East Grand Forks 20 years after the Flood of 1997 and the recently concluded Legislative session.
Kreun discusses (1) the net effect of the reduction of State Income Tax rates on revenue, (2) ND University System funding and fiscal oversight, (3) State Infrastructure Funding and (4) ending the Biennium style of State governance.
The City Administrator of the City of Grand Forks joined us on Monday to discuss all things Grand Forks. The topics included: (1) Speed Limits, (2) rumors of an Air Force inspired round of BRAC, (3) City infrastructure, (4) the City’s role in fighting addiction and then most interesting… (5) the future.
Spring means it’s road construction season again. John Bernstrom from the City of Grand Forks, Office of Public Information joins us to lay out the major construction projects they City will execute this spring and summer and how they will impact drivers.
Todd Feland presented a Staff Report to the Committee of the Whole on the Grand Forks Library nine days ago and today we got a chance to catch with him and talk about the details of the report.
Our discussion addressed: (1) the short-term maintenance plan presented by the Library Board, (2) resistance that has been built up within the City to the Library, (3) higher infrastructure priorities that the City must address before it addresses the future of the Library and (4) financial options available to the City relative to the “Permanent Flood Protection” mils that will come off in 2020 and 2021.
Feland was firm about the need for the City to resolve water and road infrastructure issues that are “multi-generational” issues before the Library is addressed. Always a candid and interesting interview.
Al Grasser, the Engineer for the City of Grand Forks joined MacTalk today for a discussion on Infrastructure Priorities, here are some of the highlights:
Transition Infrastructure Priorities: If Grand Forks City Engineer had to prioritize transportation projects the I-29 Interchange at 47th Avenue South would be at the top of the list, followed by the underpass at 42nd Street.
The interchange at 47th Avenue South: Grasser explained the linkage to 32nd Avenue South, without the interchange, 32nd has to be made substantially wider to accommodate traffic that would otherwise be diverted by such an interchange.
The underpass at 42nd Avenue South: Grasser cited the population growth via apartments on 42nd between Demers Avenue and Gateway Drive and longer trains that are up to one quarter of a mile longer than trains of the past, which take more time to clear the intersection.
How will City Street repairs be funded: A 50/50 Split of City Funds and Special Assessments would fund the repair of local streets which he knows won’t be popular.
An interesting interview that has big implications for the City’s upcoming sales tax vote.
When asked to assign the City Infrastructure a grade Ward 7 Council Member Ken Vein gave it a “C” grade relative to the condition of its infrastructure.
Ward 7 Council Member Ken Vein join MacTalk today to discuss infrastructure needs in Grand Forks from streets, the underpasses to off ramps, stating bluntly that the City needs to focus on infrastructure.
When asked if he had a prioritized list of infrastructure projects Vein responded “streets,” along with infrastructure related to “growth” coming second. “It’s probably cheaper for us put in a 47th to relieve the congestion on 32nd and leave it as the existing four lanes than it is. It’s probably a better alternative do 47th and plan for the additional growth on the south end.” Additionally, he discussed replacing University Avenue which has been repeatedly milled and overlayed.
If no additional sales tax is levied, the funds to do infrastructure will come from utility bills via the City Council hiking rates and special assessment for roads or you simply don’t do them.