Hello Fargo, and welcome to the beginning of the school season and fall weather. I hope you set aside time to enjoy all of the events the City has to offer as well as taking time to be active outside. There are things happening in Fargo and I’d like to share with you the most recent updates.
Fire Inspector/Investigator Doug Nelson has received Certified Fire Marshal accreditation through the International Code Council. He joins Fire Marshal Ryan Erickson and Inspector/Investigator Dawn Stollenwerk as members of the Fargo Fire Department to reach this level of certification. With our staff continuously becoming more educated, our services to the community keep getting better.
Fargo Cass Public Health has received a $180,000 grant from the North Dakota Department of Human Services’ Behavioral Health Division to address opioid abuse and overdose deaths. The grant will support the Mayors’ Blue Ribbon Commission on Addiction’s coordinated response to the opioid crisis and will be used for a variety of interventions.
A team from the Health Resources and Services Administration recently completed a site visit of Fargo Cass Public Health’s Ryan White Program, which assists individuals from North Dakota living with HIV or AIDS. There were many positive comments from the HRSA staff including the number of services available and the quality of support clients receive from the Public Health staff.
Cruising on over on MATBUS transportation to the library this summer, more than 1,600 children and 406 adults participated in the library’s Summer Reading Program. The children completed more than 17,000 hours of reading. That’s a lot of books that were read!
Today, the Carlson Library hosted a Solar Eclipse Viewing Party. Kids of all ages were invited to celebrate with snacks, crafts and other activities and they all received glasses for safe eclipse viewing.
Planning and Development reported the City has issued building permits for $195 million in construction during the first seven months of this year, which is lower than the first of seven months of 2016 when $256 million in permits were approved. While less than last year, this is still much higher than an average year.
Single-family housing construction starts are lower, with 199 units this year compared to 258 units during the same period last year. Multi-family housing and residential remodeling are both about the same as last year.
I am excited about the new 2018 budget as we work to meet and address the needs of the City. With the budget, operating costs are down 5%, there is a mill levy reduction of 2 mil and there is no growth in the General Fund Budget. We are also continuing initiatives that are currently taking place, including:
- Police Department Lease of the Border States Electric Warehouse
- Permanent Flood Protections with the FM Diversion and In-Town Levees
- The Mayors’ Blue Ribbon Commission on Addiction
- Growth of Regionalized Utility Services and
- Completion and Fit-Up of the New City Hall
New initiatives in the 2018 Budget include:
- Reorganization of the Department of Planning and Development
- Reorganization of the Enterprise Utilities
- Demolition of the old City Hall and Redevelopment of the City Plaza
- Potential Repurposing of the Civic Center and
- Expanded Arts & Culture Opportunities
The team has done an excellent job in bringing our expenses down by becoming more efficient, incorporating technology and using equipment economically to provide better services for The City of Fargo.
Across the country, many mayors have taken a strong position in support of civil rights and the opposition to racism and discrimination of all kinds. As the Mayor of Fargo, I am asked to react to individual incidents of hate crime and violence. We need to consciously work together in order to thrive as a great community. I seek to foster a long-lasting resolution of respect and inclusiveness so we can continue to grow as a city and a greater metro community.
I have signed up to be a part of the Mayor’s Compact to Combat Hate, Extremism and Bigotry. The Anti-Defamation League and The United States Conference of Mayors are launching a new initiative to fight extremism and bigotry and to promote the fundamental principles of justice and quality that defines America.
A few key components include:
- Expressly Rejecting Extremism, White Supremacy and All Forms of Bigotry
- Denouncing All Acts of Hate Wherever they Occur
- Ensuring Public Safety While Protecting Free Speech and Other Basic Constitutional Rights.
- Celebrating Diversity, Promoting Inclusivity and Challenging Bias
To learn more, feel free to take a look at my statement We Are All Part of the Unique Fabric that Interweaves to Form the Eclectic Community that is Fargo at www.FargoND.gov/MayoralStatements.
I am extremely proud to promote Fargo as a place that is welcoming and embracing of all people. The Fargo I know is a city that celebrates and promotes diversity, all while preserving and respecting our citizen’s safety and dignity. We have learned from the past and are now looking towards a bright future.
Lastly, this week classes begin at the local colleges and The City of Fargo will be bustling with students from all over the country and world. I wish all students and professors well on their first day back at school with a reminder to attend your 8 a.m. classes. You might learn something!
Thanks is also due to everyone for their help in continuing to build a great community.
Mayor Tim Mahoney