I read stuff.
An article the other day contained the following statement: “If you build a giant trough, the pigs will come”. The ‘giant trough’ that immediately comes to mind is the financial one created to support the proposed Fargo-Moorhead dam and diversion. The hogs have been bellied up to this thing for years already and have devoured over $260 million (that’s $260,000,000). It’s been a veritable porcine feast!
Start with our national blue-ribbon Duroc (older breed of American domestic pig), the Corps of Engineers (USACE). If you trust the numbers as presented by the local cabal that makes up the diversion authority, the USACE has taken in somewhere around $6.9 million from you, the taxpayers. A pittance by local standards but they access the federal trough as well so, as a dual-trougher that feeds through the same two sides of its mouth from which it talks, the USACE is well fed.
Listen to this leaked recording between Diversion Authority, USACE and developers:
(the voices have been changed to protect the guilty)
Next, we have the engineering firms (Chester Whites). The FM dam and diversion project is a true bonanza for these porkers, with something like $49 million already devoured by them. The engineering firms are doing so well that they have been expanding their businesses, anticipating years of gourmet feasting well into the future.
Then there are the attorneys (Berkshires): no taxpayer-funded project of this size and scope would be complete without a passel of attorneys rooting around for truffles. With millions already spent on various firms, the diversion authority recently engaged the services of yet another law firm. Their fee rate: a cool $1,000 per hour. Yes, they are being paid well to service you, the taxpayer. This particular herd of Berkshires is supposed to make the P3 (private/public partnership) a reality. A quick FYI on P3: the up-front cost of P3 is $400 million as the federal share under P3 drops from $850 million to $450 million. So P3 has to generate savings of $400 million (yes, $400,000,000) before it can save you a dime.
And let’s not overlook the City of Oxbow and the Oxbow Country Club (the Pot-bellies) in this list. The diversion authority, on your behalf, has lavished extraordinary sums on these folks. According to a Kolpack article in the Fargo Forum from May 25, 2014, you are expected to spend $32.5 million (that’s $32,500,000) on the country club’s reconstruction: 18 new holes, new clubhouse, pool, concrete cart paths, bridges, ponds, etc. And, as it is a private course, you won’t get to golf there.
And, oh my, your generosity in building these folks their new homes! To make way for the levee that’s being built to protect the city from water to be held back by the proposed Red River dam, about 40 homes need to be relocated. But why move them when your delusional county and city governments are willing to build new homes instead? The cost to replace a bungalow with a taxable value of $223,500: over $1,100,000. The cost to replace a two-story with a taxable value of $330,300: over $1,300,000. Yes, this is piggery at its most excessive and it’s all been blessed by your government representatives. The Oxbow project was sold as a $65 million project and is on trajectory to cross the $100 million mark by the end of this year. Before all is said and done, it may well cost $130 million, twice the estimated cost.
The diversion authority doesn’t worry a whole lot about trivial matters like project affordability: after all, it’s just other people’s money. Meanwhile, the hogs are feasting and it’s your job to ‘slop’ them, to keep the trough full. Yes, you are the ‘other people’ whose money ($millions and $billions) they are counting on. So, pony up your sales taxes, your property taxes, your income taxes and those taxes to be named later. After all, if the simple Oxbow project can run so far over budget, why would the much larger and infinitely more complex diversion project do otherwise? P3 or no P3, Duroc or no Duroc, it’s going to be a taxing ride!
FILE UNDER: Satire, that is tragically true.