The Fargo Dam and FM Diversion project has been riddled with messy or confusing books from the beginning.
Additionally, the Fargo Dam and FM Diversion Authority does not have direct taxing authority and cannot create sales taxes or assessment districts.
Miring through the financials and understanding how the proposed project is encumbering taxpayers with a financial doomsday is only part of the problem.
Fargo, Cass County and the FMDA recite their narrative that if they don’t build their proposed project to a level much greater than any recorded flood event in history, that Fargo will fail. Yet, they conveniently downplay the actual financial encumbrance they are forcing upon taxpayers under false pretense.
The Oxbow County Club is a prime example. On November 9, 2011 Oxbow Mayor Jim Nyhof admitted to Oxbow city council members that the Oxbow Country Club was around $600 thousand dollars in debt (read more…).
The original proposed cost to buyout OHB (Oxbow, Hickson and Bakke) was around $74 million or ring dike the OHB area for $65 million.
How did an initial cost of $65 million balloon to over $110.7 million and continue to climb?
The Oxbow Country Club was built in the early 1970’s, which consisted of two distinct portions of the golf course otherwise know as the “lower course” and the “upper course”. The “lower course” consisted or rolling greens and elevation change along a Red River “oxbow”, whereas, the “upper course” was fairly flat with nominal elevation features.
So, how did 6 replacement golf course holes and 2 hole renovations of the “lower course” turn into an entire brand new “upper and lower” private and exclusive golf course on the taxpayer dime?
Better yet…! How much did taxpayers shell out for additional golf course renovations that provide ZERO flood protection benefit to Fargo or greater Cass county?
We turn to the FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request.
|Subject: FOIA: OCC – 180105
From: marcus.larson@ [REDACTED]
Date: Mon, January 8, 2018 2:11 pm
Priority: NormalCarol Harbeke Lewis
Cass County Water Resource Districts1201 Main Avenue West
West Fargo, ND 58078-1301
Thank you for the timely reply to my previous FOIA request.
This a request for clarification and additional information pertaining to Oxbow County Club hole renovations that have exceeded the original plan presented to the public and what is outlined in the Sept 2013 USACE EA Document. (see attached)
The Oxbow Country Club was built in the early 1970’s, which consisted of two distinct portions of the golf course otherwise know as the “lower course” and the “upper course”. (see attachments)
The “lower course”: holes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9 and 18.
The “upper course”: holes 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17.
When the OHB project was originally presented there were 6 golf course holes to be replaced and 2 golf course holes to be renovated. Those golf course holes being 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9 and 18.
The plan expanded slightly, as indicated on Page 10 of the Sept 2013 USACE EA Document:
“2.3 Oxbow Golf Course: The proposed Oxbow, Hickson, and Bakke ring levee would create a need to re-configure the golf course as well as relocate the clubhouse and other facilities provided by the Oxbow Country Club. Eight golf holes and the driving range would need to be relocated and three other golf holes require alterations to accommodate the proposed ring levee. Interior drainage would be designed to convey water to a proposed retention basin. Sanitary sewer, storm sewer, water lines, and parking lots needed to service the Oxbow Country Club, the golf course, and the other amenities offered by the country club would be tied into the new urban infrastructure along the proposed Sunset Drive alignment.” (read more…)
At present, all 18 holes have been or are in the process of being replaced and renovated which exceeds the original plan and features of the original golf course. The most recent golf course hole replacement replacements/renovations occurred on the upper area of the existing golf course that was largely untouched by the dike alignment.
Payments for these new features appear to be coming from the Cass County Joint Water Resource District, however, determining how the $10,128,642.86 was distributed is difficult in the excel file provided in your previous email.
SPECIFIC FOIA REQUESTS:
1) What are the total payments from the CCJWRD to the Oxbow Country Club for the “new replacement golf course holes” in the new portion of Oxbow, adjacent to the new Clubhouse?
2) What date was final payment made for the “new replacement holes” and construction of the Oxbow Country Club features existing south of Riverbend Road?
3) What are the total payments from the CCJWRD to the Oxbow Country Club for the additional renovation of fully functional “upper course” holes that existed north of Riverbend Road, beyond what is referred to in the EA Document?
4) What task orders and change orders relate to work related to the Oxbow Country Club?
5) What payments, if any, were directly or indirectly made relating to the Oxbow Country Club swimming pool?
6) “When” and “Who” made the decision to exceed the mitigation which relates to the additional renovation of fully functional “upper course” holes that existed north of Riverbend Road, beyond what is referred to in the EA Document?
7) “When” and “Who” made the decision to destroy 600-1000 trees to accommodate golf course renovations of the “upper course” beyond the scope of mitigation described in Section 2.3 of the EA Document?
8) What are the total payments and/or receipts paid directly or indirectly to the Oxbow Country Club including payments made for golf course acreage, replacement holes, renovations, golf course buyout and landscaping that does not include person dwellings or dike work.
Looking forward to your reply,
Check back to read reply to FOIA request.