Republished with permission from:Richland-Wilkin Joint Powers Authority
Original Publication Date: August 15th, 2013
Wahpeton Daily News
Republished with permission from:
Editorial Team, Richland Wilkin Joint Powers Authority
For 42 of the 190 households who call Hickson/Oxbow/Bakke home, it’s a sweet deal. These 42 are the only ones who get a buyout. Their vote, along with 19 or so Oxbow Country Club supporters, determined that no one else got a choice.
The other residents from Bakke and Hickson were asked to vote whether they would agree to a ring dike. After they overwhelmingly voted no, Fargo leaders decided to ignore their votes. Now the only votes that count are the 61 from Oxbow. There are 190 residences that will be encircled.
What a sweet deal for the 42. They get a buyout for their homes. You can bet it will be a generous buyout and the perks don’t stop there. Many of them will pocket hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars and will continue to live in their homes dirt cheap until such time as the ring dike construction requires that their homes get moved. One year – four years? They can then leave Oxbow if they so choose. Or, they can buy their own house back from the taxpayer at auction for a small percentage of what they sold it to the taxpayer for. They can then move it to a new lot that will be located on land financed for Oxbow by the taxpayer, on a private country club built and paid for by the taxpayer. The 42 have the freedom to choose and can even make money by staying. What a sweet deal.
What about the 129 households who are not in favor of the ring dike?
What will the hydraulic pressure created by water 10 feet deep do to their foundations, basements, and septic systems?
How securely will they sleep with the knowledge that they are surrounded by miles of deep water 34 degrees cold?
There will be only one road out. What will all of this do to the value of their homes?
Their options are limited to selling at a loss (if they can find a buyer) or to ride it out and hope for the best. They didn’t get a vote or a choice. The only votes that counted were those of the minority from Oxbow who supported Fargo’s plan to dam the rivers and flood 80 square miles of upstream communities. After promising Bakke and Hickson that they could decide for themselves if they wanted to be included behind the ring dike, the Cass County commission did a cowardly 180 and kicked the issue to the diversion authority board. The Minnesota representatives on this board then got to help decide the fate of North Dakota residents in southern Cass County.
Does anyone else see a problem with this picture?
Shouldn’t we expect more from our local leaders than this kind of shabby treatment?