VALIDATING THE NEED FOR ANOTHER TAX: Terry Bjerke

Terry Bjerke

My former Grand Forks City Council colleague Terry Bjerke joined the program to talk the prospects of a new sales tax discussion in Grand Forks. Terry is no stranger to the the details of this discussion and walks us through what he believes to be the basics of the any substantive discussion on additional revenue for the City:

  1. ASSUMPTION:  Declining City Sales Tax Revenue & declining State Infrastructure Funding will both return to “historically normal” levels within five years
  2. REVIEW & DEFINE RESERVES HELD IN THE FOLLOWING ACCOUNTS:   Loan & Stabilization, Economic Development, JDA, Cash Carryover
  3. DEFINE INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS TO BE FUNDED:  a finite prioritized list of those projects to be funded by additional taxes levied on the citizens of Grand Forks

With these fiscal pieces in place, Terry believes an empirically based debate can be held on the size and length of additional taxes that the City may need to levy on the citizens of Grand Forks.

STATE INFRASTRUCTURE FUNDING – ARBOR PARK: Dana Sande

Dana Sande
President
GF City Council

Tuesday, June 12 2017, Hour 2

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.

A frank and interesting interview.

 

THOUGHTS ON 20 YEARS AFTER THE FLOOD OF 1997 & THE 2017 LEGISLATIVE SESSION: Curt Kreun

Curt Kreun
ND State Senator (R)
District 43

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.

Always an interesting interview.

ALL THINGS GRAND FORKS: Todd Feland

Todd Feland
City Administrator
City of Grand Forks

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.

A very interesting discussion.

AL GRASSER TALKS INFRASTRUCTURE PRIORITIES: 47th Avenue South Interchange first, then the 42nd Street Underpass

Al Grasser
Engineer
City of Grand Forks

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.

 

 

GRAND FORKS INFRASTRUCTURE : Ken Vein

Ken Vein
GF City Council
Ward 7

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.