Richland-Wilkin Joint Powers Authority
Original Publication Date: September 12th, 2013
Wahpeton Daily News
Republished with permission from:
Editorial Team, Richland Wilkin Joint Powers Authority
We would consider it rude if anyone sat down at the morning coffee shop table and declared “my land is worth more than yours.” As good Scandinavians, we would probably take another sip of coffee and sit back and wait. But if the individual then pulled out a piece of paper from his accountant, listing how much more money his land is worth than the rest of ours, I’m pretty sure the table would quickly empty.
On August 12, 2013, the MnDak Upstream Coalition, in conjunction with the Richland-Wilkin JPA, held a joint meeting in Christine with the FM Diversion Authority (DA) to address questions concerning the FM Diversion. The DA was asked the value of the undeveloped land inside the diversion. Essentially, “how is the benefit from the project calculated for those 14,000 acres?” The DA and its Project Manager were unable to answer the question. If they knew about the “Flood proofing cost saving benefits” section from the project’s Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS), they were not willing to share the answer with us.
Darrell Vanyo on property value – “Well…ummm…”
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It is hard to believe they were not familiar with their own documents as the issue is critical to the project getting federal approval to go forward. Showing the increased “value” of the undeveloped land in dollars is necessary to establish a favorable Benefit/Cost Ratio. A favorable Benefit/Cost Ratio is essential in order for the project to qualify for federal dollars. A truthful answer to the question would require an admission that the project is all about economic development, and reducing the development costs of the low land in the 100 year flood plain. The exact figure is $35,000/ acre on residential and $62,500/acre on commercial development. (FEIS, page C43 and section 3.7.5 Appendix C, July 2011.)
Further, those same DA documents go on to provide: “As expected, the larger the diversion project, and the larger the area removed from the 100 year flood plain, the larger the expected annual flood proofing cost saving”. The more land taken out of the flood plain south of Fargo, the less money they have to spend developing it.
The catch is the upstream citizens are paying the price, having flood water forced on them so Fargo developers can profit by building where the water currently pools – the natural flood plain. Our land and homes are to be sacrificed for Fargo’s special interests.
We will not turn over our property rights.
We don’t want them at our coffee table.
This is not how North Dakotans treat their neighbors.