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FM Diversion and Dam Increases national debt

Cass Official Cuts and Runs

Keith Berndt, avoids public questions claiming it was not the format of the public meeting.

Keith Berndt, Cass County Administrator avoids
tax assessment question claiming debate questions are
not the format of the public “tax assessment” meeting.

The recent “tax assessment” rolled out by the Cass County Joint Water Board on behalf of the Fargo Diversion Authority is a prime example of government swindle, overreach and abuse of process.

Having attended 2 of the 3 meetings, reports from the Harwood, ND meeting were of property owners getting up and leaving as a result of the unwarranted restrictions being placed upon them and lack of any substantive answers.

The format was the same at all tax assessment meetings. Although touted as “informational meetings”, they were in fact a collusionary recitation of what will be forced upon property owners under the guise of a democratic voting process intentionally rigged in favor of the governmental entities by the architects of the tax assessment. A brazen discouragement of open discussion preventing other Cass county property owners to realize there are others with the same concerns and disputes.

When faced with tough questions, like clockwork, the circular reasoning was rolled out to justify why the tax assessment should be justified…, with no real intention of addressing the questions presented.

When one of my written questions was read, I nearly had to grab my waders, because the BS was getting pretty deep.

However, the cowardice displayed by Cass County Administrator Keith Berndt is indicative of how little regard these officials have for constituents.

Listen to Keith Berndt dodge the issue(s) in the following exchange with the transcript below:

March 24th, 2015 Tax Assessment Meeting West Fargo
Rodger Olson
Keith Berndt
Cass County Administrator
Yeah, I, I just will, uhh, build on what Roger said I think uhh…, we’re gonna continue to work our level best to…, to get federal funding…, lack of federal funding doesn’t reduce the risk of flooding for this region, one way or the other the project have, has to get built and if we have to cross that bridge at some point in the future where there isn’t federal funding I think the most logical thing would be…, the voters would have to be asked do you want to extend the existing sales tax so they go beyond 20 years to help pay for this project or do we want to fund it with other means such as special assessments…, and those are really the…the two options that the governments would have to pay that federal share.
Marcus Larson
Cass Property Owner
Can I ask a question on that? You said that if it sunsets and you have to figure out whether to expand the tax assessment or continue it on, well the question right now is that…, the county it sounded like has already voted their share in favor of their 242 million votes for Cass county but the ballots probably have not have all come in yet from the county or from the people that are holding properties…, so the question is how are we in a democratic process when they’ve (Cass county) already voted “assuming” it’s going to be a majority “yes”, but they didn’t wait for that “yes” to come in.
Keith Berndt
Cass County Administrator
I, I, I don’t believe that assumption was made at all, I believe you’re voting on your shares, the county commission took a vote on that property that the county government owns as well as that indirect benefit…, so their vote…, really wasn’t…, y’ y’know you’re you’re voting on your property the county commission is voting the counties property as well for all those county citizens that don’t own property that still elect their county officials.
Marcus Larson
Cass Property Owner
…but then again, that comes back to what Rocky had said…, this comes back to the full faith and credit of the county and if that money is…, that has to be distributed someplace if we fall short of the sales tax…, so that comes back somebody somehow.
Keith Berndt
Cass County Administrator
y’know I, I don’t think we came here tonight to get into a debate, we had our format with written questions so if you have a written question send it in.
Marcus Larson
Cass Property Owner
NO! NO! NO! We came here to ask questions of our officials and we have a right to redress people that are not giving us straight answers.
Rocky Schneider
…are…, I, I, I actually have a question from somebody that if they’d like to (crowd applause for Larson) if they’d like to (applause continues) read the question…


First off Keith…, “lack of federal funding doesn’t reduce the risk of flooding for this region” is just blustering nonsense.  The city and county shouldn’t be  pushing development into the natural flood plain areas, as that type of fostered encroachment only serves to increase the risk of flooding and flood insurance requirements in the region!

Isn’t it curious that promises from 5-6 years ago, wherein, sales tax would pay for the diversion have conveniently been twisted into the very tax assessment that was adamantly denied.  And now…, here we are with a statement, from the Cass county administrator,  that the diversion has to be built one way or another and the financing will have to be figured out later…!?  That is fiscally irresponsible thinking, on so many levels, encumbering future generations with debt load that is not necessary to protect the city that exists.

The “encumbrance” is the key in all this. It is being sold as one-third assessment, because the sales tax is alleged to reduce the tax assessment over time. However, what these unscrupulous officials are not telling property owners is that the other two-thirds will still be taxed to them directly or indirectly. So a $5,000 tax assessment is really a $15,000 tax assessment because the city and county will bill their voting share indirectly. Even worse, is when the $800 million in federal money does not come through, the tax assessment liability will more than double the assessment, turning a $5,000 encumbrance into over $30,000 and if the sales tax falls short of covering costs. They (the bad guys) have forcibly placed a tax assessment encumbrance, for a project never ratified by the voters, squarely upon the shoulders of taxpayers without due process.

Votes that the governmental entities are casting should be representing the will of the people based upon the votes of residential and commercial property owners. As for Keith Berndt false suggestion that I am voting on my property and the county is voting on theirs…, is an baldfaced lie. My property and nearly all others located in my community have all been denied a vote ballot, and when asked why, they claim we are a mitigation project… Yet, properties bought out by the County or Fargo Diversion Authority are afforded a vote in the same project area. So why the double standard? Is this just another way for county officials and others nebulous to the diversion project to exert their two faced agenda?

Whether Keith chooses to agree or not, the commission casting their votes in favor of the tax assessment, against the will of the public, denies the very process and representation Berndt claims they are upholding.  Which by design, has the commission conspiring against voters, while simultaneously forcing property owners to become co-signors to loan bonds.

The county doesn’t actually own the property…, the tax payers do.  The county is just a steward of properties and infrastructure entrusted to them by the taxpayer. Even more curious is that the “county” property being voted upon by governmental entities is “exempt” under North Dakota Century Code 57-02-08.03:

Property exempt from taxation
3. All property belonging to any political subdivision and the leasehold interest in property
leased by a political subdivision from another political subdivision.

So lets recap this…, the “county” properties are exempt from property taxation and get to vote against people that DO pay property taxes and also those property owners that have been denied a ballot vote.

Sound arbitrary and capricious…? You betcha! It is the baser philosophy of Fargo/Cass government imbeciles run amok.

Isn’t it convenient that county and city officials turn into cowards when they are faced with questions about their actions and methods, yet expect blind obedience to one of the most corrupt tax schemes that Imperial Fargo/Cass has come up with to date?

If you would like your concerns heard about this unjust tax assessment scheme, comment below, on facebook or attend the tax assessment hearing:

Tuesday, March 31, 2015 (Statuary Project Hearing)
Fargo, ND
5:30 pm-7:30 pm

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