The honesty and integrity of the Fargo Diversion Authority came shining through once again!
On September 24th, 2014 Fargo Diversion Authority chairman Darrell Vanyo presented testimony to the North Dakota Legislative Budget Section, wherein Vanyo was playing fast and loose with the facts.
It is rather ironic that Fargo Diversion Authority routinely assails opponents with erroneous accusations of misrepresentation, yet they fail to comprehend that the bulk of any misinformation originates with the Fargo Diversion Authority.
While there are factual statements being made, they are far removed from the reality of what is occurring, or the history that followed those parsed facts.
In a nutshell, Darrell Vanyo failed to include in his testimony that the 2012 Fargo sales tax extension passed by only 63 votes (officially 60.28 percent), not nearly the 90 percent support that has crumbled since 2009. This indicates there is much less taxpayer support for the proposed Fargo Dam and FM Diversion today than claimed by project proponents. Despite questions of automatic recount that still linger for Fargo voters opposing the tax, the measure exceeded the 55 vote threshold by 8 votes and it was up to Fargo voters to demand that recount. Keep in mind, the recount will do nothing more than tally the votes cast and not support any theories that project supporters had access to real-time ballot counts and were calling supporters to head to the polls and pass the measure.
Vanyo also failed to mention that they’ve placed taxpayers at risk of property tax assessments by using the taxable valuation capacity of Cass county residents as collateral against two loans totaling $150 million without public meetings to question the action or legal vote to sanction the assessment with voter approval.
Regarding the 2010 Cass County vote, which was presented to taxpayers as a different project, Fargo, Cass County and the USACE had began preparing to move impacts upstream as early as June 2010. It would have been difficult to get the tax measure passed had the information been disclosed prior to the November 2010 election. When the vote marginally passed, the major impacts were moved upstream and taxpayers were denied their right to full disclosure prior to the vote.
However, the greatest misrepresentation in Vanyo’s testimony involves claims of federal funding. The key to the misrepresentation rests in the wording of the legislation passed during North Dakota’s 2013 session, wherein, state funding is not be released without federal funding. The Fargo Diversion Authority is attempting to convince the North Legislation to step outside the legislative intent and deem U.S. Army Corps of Engineers monies involved as federal funding. When the ND bill was passed, it requires not only congressional approval of the proposed project, but also congressional approved funding.
The U.S. congress did not specifically authorize the Fargo Dam and FM Diversion project. It was included into the controversial WRRDA bill along with many other projects awaiting federal funding. Getting authorization is one thing, getting funding is greater challenge.
As of September 24th, 2014 there has been “NO FEDERAL FUNDING” authorized or appropriated for the Fargo Dam and FM Diversion project as a result of the June 2014 passage of the WRRDA bill.
Here is an excerpt and commentary from Darrell Vanyo’s testimony and misrepresentation(s):