Additional Content 1234567891011 Last »
FM Diversion and Dam Increases national debt

DPAC: Diversion Project Assessment Committee

Fargo Cass Imperial Fairness

Fargo Cass Imperial Fairness

Drafting
Policy
Against
Citizens

Not implying fraud or corruption…, that is for you (the reader) to decide.

Here are the facts:

In July 2012, the Diversion Finance Committee was aware that the county and city sales taxes would not be sufficient to meet expenditures.   As of July 2012, the Fargo Diversion Authority had encumbered $15.8 million in debt and had paid only $5.53 million towards those expenditures.  Instead of addressing the quantified budget shortfall or using it as a jump-off point, the Fargo Diversion Authority chose to spend another $160.8 million in an effort to prejudice the project towards a “no turning back” point.

Need People In Key Roles

Of the four final candidates running in 2012 for the open Cass county commission seats, only Rocky Schneider and Mary Scherling received PAC (political action committee) donations ( in September and October 2012 ) from the ND Realtors PAC and ND Association of Builders to their 2012 campaign bids.

Rocky Schneider District 1
Cass County Commissioner Candidate Campaign Contributions 2012

Rocky Schneider District 1 Cass County Commissioner Candidate Campaign Contributions 2012

Rocky Schneider District 1 Campaign Contributions 2012 – Click Image to View Full Size (pdf)

Mary Scherling District 5
Cass County Commissioner Candidate Campaign Contributions 2012

Mary Scherling District 5 Cass County Commissioner Candidate Campaign Contributions 2012

Mary Scherling District 5 Campaign Contributions 2012 – Click Image to View Full Size (pdf)

Rocky Schneider has indicated that he served as Director of Public Affairs for the Homebuilders Association of Fargo from July 2005 – December 2012.   Schneider took a position with AE2S in December 2012 where he states he is employed as a Public Affairs Strategist.

Mary Scherling is a Real Estate Broker and also serves as Cass County Commissioner for Dist 5.

The OHB project is located in District 5 which has exceeded $60 million in encumbered cost and counting, yet, Mary Scherling has not held ONE townhall meeting to hear from local residents, either for or against the OHB project and how she should be fairly and equitably representing her constituents.

In later 2012,  a new committee was formed out of public view and on January 25, 2013 the first official meeting of DPAC (Diversion Project Assessment Committee)  was held at the Cass county highway department in West Fargo, ND.

The fmdiversion.com website lists member rosters and upcoming meeting for:

Flood Diversion Board of Authority
Land Management Committee
Public Outreach Committee
Finance Committee

…but not DPAC ?

The DPAC committee met in relative anonymity for nearly 2 years.   Neither the Cass County Reporter or Fargo Forum could provide a listing of meeting dates or times.    When questioned about meeting secrecy during the March 31, 2015 (Statuary Project Hearing), Rocky Schneider claimed all the meetings were open to the public and followed proper statute.

Rather paradoxical to DPAC minutes (pg 2) from the August 14, 2014 suggesting DPAC related public outreach meetings taking place from August to October 2014.

During the same meeting, Mark Broadshaug, Cass County Joint Water Resource (CCJWRD) chairman, claimed the DPAC meetings were listed on the CCJWRD page and were not diversion related, which is allegedly why they were not listed on the fmdiversion.com website.  Ironically, Special Assessment District informational meeting dates and times, meeting videos, sample ballots, presentations and other handout materials are worthy of being listed on the fmdiversion.com website…, but not the actual DPAC meetings themselves.

Little to no media coverage of DPAC meeting left property owners in the dark on decisions affecting them and potential tax liabilities being orchestrated against their properties.

On January 23, 2014 – Rocky Schneider recommended to that DPAC indirect benefits be assigned.  Mary Scherling moved that DPAC usurp two-thirds of property owners vote representation and transfer it to local governing entities.

AE2S received $468,110.58 (cited source) in payments
during the DPAC tax assessment process.

Did $15,500 in PAC donations influence loyalty and later actions of Rocky Schneider and Mary Scherling, who are involved in furthering the Fargo Dam and FM Diversion agenda?

It appears rather curios that PAC money was given to Cass county commission candidates that could potentially control 40 percent of the vacant seats if elected.

The aforementioned facts
make the following excerpts from
the April 27, 2015 HBA article…, ponderous…

Home Builders Association of F-M: April 27, 2015
HBA President Clay Dietrich, Dietrich Homes, Inc.: “It’s extremely important that there’s solidarity behind this whole process of financing and supporting the Diversion. There should have been more education of Fargo’s and Cass County’s property owners, but the right decision is to vote yes.”

 

Words of desperation to solicit support for an unjust process, wherein, property owners have been denied the benefit of a true and full representation of their vote.  Echoing a sentiment shared by Jeff Volk, Moore Engineering in 2009. (read pg 2 cited article)

As of April 30, 2015 the Houston-Moore Group netted payments in excess of
$27.2 million relating to the Fargo Dam and FM Diversion project.

 

Home Builders Association of F-M: April 27, 2015
Fargo needs permanent flood protection. Compared to flood insurance rates, this assessment district is the most affordable way for our community to finance the Diversion project. Currently, flood insurance premiums in certain areas of Fargo range from $2,000 to $5,000. (Base-flood elevations can vary with each house, so there is no average.)

 

HBA makes a False and Misleading statement:  Fargo has needed permanent INTERNAL flood protection since 1969, 1997 and 2009.  Development encroachment into the last natural flood plain south of the Fargo, ND has increased river crests, flood risk and the FEMA 100 year BFE (base flood elevation).

Irresponsible development practices in and around the natural floodways and adjacent flood plains is the causation of new flood insurance requirements and higher flood insurance premiums tied to properties with risk assessment that have changed as a result of water displacement influenced by flood plain encroachment and development.

READ FEMA WARNING ON DEVELOPMENT

Home Builders Association of F-M: April 27, 2015
Every property owner gets a vote.

 

HBA makes a False and Misleading statement:  Property owners that received ballots were allowed to cast 1/3 (one-third) of a vote, with the drafters (local governments) of the assessment district retaining 2/3 (two-thirds).  This imbalance in the process harms property owners by diluting the ballot process and allowed a handful of pro-project persons to usurp votes in favor of their agenda.

Home Builders Association of F-M: April 27, 2015
The HBA of F-M and FMAAR® support Fargo’s right to vote on this assessment district. As administrators of the sales tax revenues, Fargo’s leadership and opinion is needed.

 

HBA makes a False and Misleading statement:  It is not the duty of administrators of the sales tax revenues, “Fargo’s leadership” to determine the will or fate of voters, contrary to the ballots they cast.   Officials are elected to represent, not stuff the ballot box in favor of their agenda.

Home Builders Association of F-M: April 27, 2015
From a real estate standpoint, it’s a good thing that the city of Fargo and Cass County are picking up the majority of the liability so the real estate market and our local economy isn’t unduly harmed.

 

HBA makes a False and Misleading statement:  The above statement is self serving greed made by an “industry” that has historically given PAC (political action committee) donations, directly or indirectly, to election candidates involved with the Fargo Dam and FM Diversion project.

Fargo and Cass county ARE NOT picking up the majority of liability.   The usurped ballot portion of the tax assessment will be indirectly (hidden) billed to property owners via other taxes and mills if/when the sales tax fails to meet its objective or federal funding doesn’t materialize.

A $5,000 tax assessment represents an overall $15,000 liability locally and over $30,000 in tax liability if $800 million in federal funding doesn’t occur.

Burdening property owners with tax assessments harms the real estate market and local economy by transferring wealth (that could buy goods and services) to support economic development of the last natural flood plain south of Fargo, ND which will benefit the real estate and construction industries.

Both the real estate and construction industries can thrive without the Fargo Dam and FM Diversion.  The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers cited development in and around Moorhead, MN would generally be at higher elevation and would require less flood protection measures as opposed to development of a known natural flood plain at higher risk, which will augment future flood issues in the F-M area.

Home Builders Association of F-M: April 27, 2015
Those who have the most to gain from the diversion project will also have the highest assessments and a correlating number of votes. Although this system of assigning votes is difficult for many to understand because we usually deal with one person/one vote, it is fair because we are dealing with insurance and financial risk assessments that are set by dollar value at risk that would be protected by the Diversion. The votes are set accordingly.

 

HBA makes a False and Misleading statement:  Benefit regions were allegedly determined by the amount of benefit those properties would receive by the proposed project.

However, Regions 3 and 5 contain arguably the newest construction commercial and residential, yet, yet were assigned the lowest benefit for ballot representation.   Over 50 percent of Region 3 falls inside West Fargo, ND who overwhelming rejected the tax assessment.

Curiously, Region 3 and 5 contains some of the areas highest density of retail shopping space, ostensibly generating the greater amount of sales tax revenue, yet netted the least benefit when casting tax assessment ballots…?   Yet, the HBA would lead you to believe the tax assessment is justified to ensure:  “…our local economy isn’t unduly harmed…”

 

Home Builders Association of F-M: April 27, 2015
A favorable vote based on our desire as a community to be protected by the Diversion is very important to show Congress and our Congressional delegates that this community is in favor of the Diversion and is willing to back up our sales tax with assessment guarantees placed on our properties to ensure our part of the financial risk is secure. Because property assessments are the safest guarantee for the bonds sold to finance this project, it is the least expensive way to finance the project.

 

HBA makes a False and Misleading statement: A favorable vote for project proponents was orchestrated when two-thirds of the ballot vote was seized by local governments denying property owners the right to show Congress and Congressional delegates their true will. Even worse was the gerrymandering of benefit districts and valuations to ensure that the Cass County commission and Fargo City commission could determine the vote outcome, even if 100 percent of all other ballot voted NO.

The Cass County commission was unscrupulous casting 242 million votes in favor of the tax assessment before most property owners received their actual ballot packets. Even more underhanded was their unwillingness to fairly apportion “county votes” respective to the will of property owners.

Isn’t it curious that Fargo Diversion Authority members claim this is all “part of the process”…, yet the process appears to be manipulated in favor of those that stand to reap the greatest residual wealth as a result of the project…?

Here are DPAC meeting minutes for the curious:

2013-01-25 DPAC
2013-02-28 DPAC
2013-03-28 DPAC
2013-04-25 DPAC
2013-05-23 DPAC
2013-06-27 DPAC
2013-07-25 DPAC
2013-08-22 DPAC
2013-09-26 DPAC
2013-10-24 DPAC
2013-12-19 DPAC
2014-01-23 DPAC
2014-02-27 DPAC
2014-08-14 DPAC

Views: 72

One Response to “ DPAC: Diversion Project Assessment Committee ”

  1. you sound surprised?

Leave a Reply

You can use these XHTML tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <strong>