Is the OHB project “truly” a good use of public tax dollars?
Most residents located inside the OHB (Oxbow, Hickson, Bakke) ring-dike-levee designed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are not aware that a 2,300 ft section on the western edge is one foot lower than the rest of the project and is designed to be over-topped to prevent a breach.
Ironically, over-topping of any flood control structure negates any of the intended purpose of said structure and places property owners located behind that flood protection to inherent loss of life and physical value.
www.floodsmart.gov – cites: (view Fact Sheet pdf)
“When levees do fail, or are overtopped, they fail catastrophically
—the flood damage may be more significant than if the levee was not there.”
What are those physical values?
Let’s look at some of the OHB buyouts vs. total assessed value (TAV) being run under the guise of “housing of last resort”. (cited source: Eric Dodds, AE2S)
TAV (Total Assessed Value) vs. Buyout
| Property Address
|| Total for Buyout
|| 2014 TAV
||“Enrichment” Difference from
Total Replacement Cost
|349 Schnell Dr||508,727.00||146,300.00||362,427.00|
|336 Schnell Dr||496,000.00||158,500.00||337,500.00|
|334 Schnell Dr||600,244.00||151,200.00||449,044.00|
|328 Schnell Dr||617,565.00||137,000.00||480,565.00|
|357 Schnell Dr||603,714.00||305,700.00||298,014.00|
|752 Riverbend Rd||821,450.00||255,500.00||565,950.00|
|748 Riverbend Rd||671,172.00||298,400.00||372,772.00|
|350 Schnell Dr||741,410.00||218,100.00||523,310.00|
|361 Schnell Dr||685,100.00||305,700.00||379,400.00|
|353 Schnell Dr||769,742.00||196,500.00||573,242.00|
|749 Riverbend Rd||1,044,845.00||258,200.00||786,645.00|
|813 Riverbend Rd||1,293,290.00||314,500.00||978,790.00|
|5059 Makenzie Circle||2,698,226.00||553,300.00||2,144,926.00|
Albeit, the TAV vs. Buyout valuation appear disproportionate to buyouts elsewhere in the F-M metro area, however, the impacts of relocating water from the last natural flood plain for future Fargo development comes at a cost.
The portion of (not all) residents that flipped from opposition to proponents within the Oxbow, ND were essentially “water-boarded” into compliance, which to many appears to be them being “paid-off”.
However, in their defense…, the impacts of the overall project were shoved down the throats of every person living upstream of Fargo, ND without any voice, vote or competent semblance of representation on the Fargo Diversion Authority table or by Cass county officials.
The initially proposed $65 million OHB project price tag is long gone. Considering that barely 25 percent of the actual ring-dike-levee has been constructed…, the OHB project could potentially reach an end cost of $120-$150 million and there have not been any hard numbers on the maintenance costs associated to project and who will ultimately shoulder those costs.
Getting back to the 2,300 ft long section of the OHB intended to be over-topped is nearly three times greater than the capacity of the pump-station at full outflow or the drainage system capable of conveying that water to the outlet.
So is does seem rather curious that the stated purpose of the OHB project, buyouts, etc is to remove the state of “limbo” and return property values, when the top elevation of the entire OHB project area is feet lower than the height of the proposed dam and tie back levee’s of the overall project and contains a design feature an additional one foot lower, capable of filling the entire OHB area to the top of the levee within 4.5 hours.
So let’s recap:
- The primary objective was to preserve a community, that has pitted neighbors against each other.
- The second objective was to ring-dike-levee the OHB area to save money on buyouts, and spending is out of control.
- The OHB project has a design feature that would facilitate a “controlled over-topping”, which could flood the entire internal OHB area in 4.5 hours.
- Damaged property owners would need to litigate against Fargo for man-made flood impacts created by the Fargo Dam and FM Diversion.
- The “overflow section” raises serious questions about flood insurance and risk factors for nearly all residents not currently flood prone or required to to carry FEMA flood insurance.
The OHB project is saving a “community” and taxpayer dollars, …how?