Fargo officials clarify comments on proposal to raise special assessment rates

Courtesy: City of Fargo
Courtesy: City of Fargo

(Fargo, ND) -- The City of Fargo is clarifying comments made by a city commissioner after an appearance on AM1100 The Flag related to special assessment cost increases.

During a Fargo City Commission meeting last week, the engineering department spoke about sales tax costs not keeping up with revenues for the Capital Improvement Plan for 2024-2027. Fargo City Commissioner Dave Piepkorn stated special assessment rates would increase by 20% each year between 2024 and 2027 to make up for the difference, which the city disputes. 

"Under the current special assessment caps, property owners pay 16% of a project’s total cost and The City pays the remaining 84%. Under the proposed increase, residents would pay about 20% of a project's cost, with The City paying the remaining 80%," said Communications Director Gregg Schildberger.

Schildberger further clarified in a statement, saying construction costs are outpacing the assessment caps that have largely been unchanged since 2013. He says the city expects the increase to amount to an average increase of $11 per month, citing an example from a recent utility replacement project.

Additionally, a plan is being suggested by Commissioner Piepkorn about finding ways to remove special assessments. The City of Fargo is considering renewing a 1% sales tax to reduce the cost of special assessments. The 1% tax is currently dedicated to flood control, and is set to expire in 2028. Under the proposal by city officials, the public would be able to vote to extend the tax to pay for an estimated 64% of the special assessment costs citywide.

The city is set to further discuss options at the next commission meeting on Tuesday.