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Fargo City Commission - February 10, 2020 Minutes

The Regular Meeting of the Board of City Commissioners of the City of Fargo, North Dakota, was held in the City Commission Chambers at City Hall at 5:00 o'clock p.m., Monday, February 10, 2020.
The Commissioners present or absent were as shown following:
Present: Gehrig, Grindberg, Piepkorn, Strand, Mahoney.
Absent: None.
Mayor Mahoney presiding.

Order of Agenda Approved:
Commissioner Grindberg moved the Order of the Agenda be approved moving Item No. “6” from the Consent Agenda to the Regular Agenda.

Second by Gehrig. All the Commissioners voted aye and the motion was declared carried.

Minutes Approved:
Commissioner Piepkorn moved that the Minutes of the Regular Meeting of the Board held on January 27, 2020 be approved as read.

Second by Grindberg. All the Commissioners voted aye and the motion was declared carried.

Consent Agenda Approved:
Commissioner Strand moved the Consent Agenda be approved as follows:

1. Lease Agreement with Interstate Parking.
2. Consent and Subordination to First Amendment to Declaration Establishing a Plan of Condominium Ownership for City Centre Lofts.
3. Applications for Games of Chance:
a. Lake Agassiz Girls Choir dba Fargo Moorhead Youth Choir for a raffle on 5/3/20 (amended).
b. FM Derby Girls for a raffle on 3/14/20.
c. NDSU Agronomy Club for a raffle on 4/21/20.
d. Red River Valley Figure Skating Club for a raffle on 3/15/20.
e. Landon Lizakowski Benefit for a raffle and raffle board on 2/23/20; Public Spirited Resolution.
f. Knights of Columbus 6570 for a calendar raffle from 4/1/20 to 4/30/20.
4. Agreement with Sydney Quinlan.
5. Purchase Agreement with Edward E. and Carol A. Schmidt in the amount of $285,000.00 for property located at 139 South Terrace North (Project No. FM-19-F).
6. Authorize the Engineering Department to complete the final design on the recommended alignments, as presented, and to complete the necessary full and partial property acquisitions presented for Project Nos. FM-19-A, FM-19-B, FM-19-C and FM-19-E (moved to the Regular Agenda).
7. Bid advertisement for Project No. SR-20-B.
8. Bid award to Pierce Lee Roofing in the amount of $265,860.00 for the Newman Outdoor Field Stadium Reroofing Project (AFB20009).
9. Receive the GFOA Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting award for the year ending 12/31/18.
10. Bid award to Galls, LLC for Fire Department uniforms (RFP20008).
11. Contract Agreement for Services with Brennan Forward.
12. Purchase of Service Agreement – Restricted Funding with the ND Department of Health for HIV.HCV Counseling, Testing and Referral (CFDA #93.940).
13. Notice of Grant Award – Restricted Funding from the ND Department of Health for increasing TB infection identification and treatment (CFDA #93.116).
14. Compensation adjustments for the Municipal Airport Authority’s Executive Director as presented.
15. Benefit Plan Agreement with Blue Cross Blue Shield of ND.
16. Sole Source Procurement with Ring Power Corporation for the purchase of a NIJ Level IV Armored Critical Incident Vehicle (SSP20040).
17. Bid awards for 2020 forestry services to Cougar Tree Care, Inc. for tree and stump removal (RFP18090), All-Terrain Grounds Maintenance for landscape bed maintenance (RFP17025), Paul Bunyan Nurseries for injection services (RFP19008) and Cougar Tree Care, Inc. for brush chipping services (RFP 19038).
18. Bid award to Ferguson Waterworks in the amount of $49,006.88 for Water Main Materials, Miscellaneous Materials, Fire Hydrants/Parts and Miscellaneous Street Materials (RFP20013).
19. Bid award to Custom Truck One Source in the amount of $73,043.50 for the purchase of one 2-ton chipper truck (RFP20023).
20. Bid award to Titan Machinery in the amount of $630,000.00 with a 5-year annual lease payment of $136,911.00 for one landfill compactor (RFP20018).
21. Bid award to Stone Group Architects with a cost not to exceed $51,600.00 for Architectural Consulting Services related to the design and construction of a landfill scale facility, equipment maintenance and storage facility (RFP20005).
22. Solid Waste Management Agreement for Private Haulers in the City of Fargo with Red River Removal and Delivery, LLC.
23. Bills in the amount of $7,857,865.77.

Second by Gehrig. On call of the roll Commissioners Strand, Gehrig, Grindberg, Piepkorn and Mahoney voted aye.
No Commissioner being absent and none voting nay, the motion was declared carried.

Memorandum of Offer to Landowner for the Purchase of a Permanent Easement from Perry Real Estate Fargo South, LLC (Improvement District No. BN-19-A1):
The Board received a communication from Land Acquisition Specialist Shawn Bullinger requesting authorization to proceed with a Memorandum of Offer to Landowner for a Permanent Easement from Perry Real Estate Fargo South, LLC in association with Improvement District No. BN-19-A1 as recommended by the City Engineering office. He said a final purchase price of $600.00 has been reached and authorization from the Board is requested to proceed with the purchase.
Commissioner Strand moved the Memorandum of Offer to Landowner for the Purchase of a Permanent Easement from Perry Real Estate Fargo South, LLC in association with Improvement District No. BN-19-A1 be approved.

Second by Gehrig. On call of the roll Commissioners Strand, Gehrig, Grindberg, Piepkorn and Mahoney voted aye.
No Commissioner being absent and none voting nay, the motion was declared carried.

Change Order No. 5 for a Time Extension for Improvement District No. BN-19-J1 Approved:
Commissioner Strand moved Change Order No. 5 for a time extension adjusting the final completion date to 4/15/20 for Improvement District No. BN-19-J1 be approved.

Second by Gehrig. On call of the roll Commissioners Strand, Gehrig, Grindberg, Piepkorn and Mahoney voted aye.
No Commissioner being absent and none voting nay, the motion was declared carried.

Contract Amendment No. 3 for Improvement District No. PN-19-A0 Approved:
Commissioner Strand moved Contract Amendment No. 3 with KLJ in the amount of $15,500.00 for Improvement District No. PN-19-A0 be approved.

Second by Gehrig. On call of the roll Commissioners Strand, Gehrig, Grindberg, Piepkorn and Mahoney voted aye.
No Commissioner being absent and none voting nay, the motion was declared carried.

Water Main Replacement, Sanitary Sewer Replacement, Street Reconstruction and Incidentals Improvement District No. BR-20-B (7th Avenue North from Broadway to Elm Street North):
Commissioner Strand moved the following action be taken in connection with Water Main Replacement, Sanitary Sewer Replacement, Street Reconstruction and Incidentals Improvement District No. BR-20-B:

Adopt Resolution Creating Improvement District No. BR-20-B:
WHEREAS, The Board of City Commissioners of the City of Fargo, North Dakota, deems it expedient that Improvement District No. BR-20-B in the City of Fargo, North Dakota, be created

On 7th Avenue North from Elm Street to Broadway.
On Oak Street from 7th Avenue North to the BNSF railroad tracks.

COMPRISING:
Lots 1 through 15, inclusive, Block 1.
Lots 1 through 9, inclusive, Block 2.
All in Yerxa and Franklin’s Addition.

Lots 1 through 5, inclusive, Block 1.
Lots 1 through 4 and 7, inclusive, Block 2.
Lots 1 through 12, inclusive, Block 3.
Lots 1 and 2, inclusive, Block 6.
All in De Witt’s Addition.

Lots 1 through 10, inclusive, Block 1.
Lots 1 through 14, inclusive, Block 2.
Lots 1 through 14, inclusive, Block 3.
Lots 1 through 10, inclusive, Block 4.
Lots 1 through 10, inclusive, Block 5.
Lots 1 through 14, inclusive, Block 6.
All in Truesdell’s Addition.

Part of Lot 2, inclusive, Block 1 in Mickelson Field Addition, which is a replat of Lots 1 through 14. Block 7 and Lots 1 through 10, Block 8, of Truesdell’s Addition and adjacent vacated land.

Part of Lot 2, inclusive, Block 1 in Mickelson Field Addition which is a replat of Lots 9 through 32. Block 3 and Lots 1 through 16, Block 4, of Oak Grove Addition and adjacent vacated land.
All in Mickelson Fields Addition.

Lots 1 through 6, inclusive, Block 15.
Lots 3 through 11, inclusive, Block 17.
All in Hector’s Addition.

Lots 1 and 2, inclusive, Block 1.
Lot 1, inclusive, Block 2.
Lot 2, inclusive, Block 3.
Lot 1, inclusive, Block 4.
Lots 1 and 2, inclusive, Block 5.
All in Meritcare Addition.

Lots 1 and 2, inclusive, Block 1.
All in Meritcare Second Addition.

Lots 1 through 24, inclusive, Block 1.
Lots 1 through 24, inclusive, Block 2.
Lots 1 through 24, inclusive, Block 3.
Lots 1 through 24 and adjacent vacated 8th Avenue North adjacent to said lots, Block 4.
All in Lindsay Addition.

Lots 1 through 4, a part of 5, 11, 12, and vacated 5th Street North, Block 21.
Lots 1 through 5, 10 through 12, and a strip of land 100’ wide adjacent to the north side of Block 22, less that part of Block 22 replatted as Great Northern Depot Addition and vacated alley adjacent to said lots, Block 22.
Lots 1 through 4, 11, and 12, inclusive, Block 23.
Lots 1 through 5, inclusive, Block 26.
All of Block 27.
Lots 5 through 7 and vacated Elm Street North adjacent to said lots, Block 28.
Lots 4 through 11, inclusive, Block 29.
Lots 4 through 11 and the north half of 21 through 25, inclusive, Block 30.
Lots 1 through 12, inclusive, Block 31.
Lots 5 and 8 through 10, inclusive, Block 32.
Lots 3 through 12, inclusive, Block 33.
Lots 1 through 12 and adjacent vacated 5th Street North and vacated alley adjacent to said lots, Block 34.
Lots 1 through 10 and vacated alley and west half of 5th Street North adjacent to said lots, Block 35.
Lots 1 through 10 and vacated alley and east half of 5th Street adjacent to said lots, Block 36.
Lots 1 through 10, inclusive, Block 37.
Lots 1 through 10, inclusive, Block 38.
Lots 1 through 10, inclusive, Block 39.
Lots 1 through 10, inclusive, Block 40.
Lots 1 and 4 through 10, inclusive, Block 41.
All in Keeney and Devitt’s Second Addition.

Lots 6 through 9, 13 through 18, and adjacent vacated alleys of Block 24.
All of Block 25 less the north 40’.
All of Block 26 less the north 40’ and adjacent vacated alley.
Lots 1 through 3 and 14 through 25 and vacated alley adjacent to said lots of Block 30.
Lots 1 through 4, 11, and 12 of Block 32.
All in Keeney’s Subdivision a replat of portions of Keeney & Devitt’s Second Addition.

Lot 1 and vacated alley, 5th Street North, and Elm Street North adjacent to said lot, Block 1.
All in Craigs Oak Grove Addition.

Lot 1, inclusive, Block 1.
All in Pladson’s Addition a replat of Lots 13 through 27 in Dickey’s Subdivision including adjacent vacated land.

Lots 1 through 4.
All in Bond’s Subdivision a replat of Lots 6 and 7 of Block 32 in Keeney and Devitt’s Second Addition.

Lot A and adjacent vacated 5th Street North adjacent to said lot.
All in Magills Subdivision a replat of Lots 1 and 2 of Block 33 of Keeney and Devitt’s Second Addition.

Lots 1 and 2, inclusive, Block 3.
Block 4.
The north 110’ of Block 5.
All in North Dakota R1 Urban Renewal Addition.

Leach and Wells Subdivision a replat of the north half of Block 23 in Keeney and Devitt’s Second Addition.
Lot A and B, inclusive, Block 1.
All in Great Northern Depot Addition.

Block A.
Block B.
Block C.
Block E.
Block F.
Block G.
Block H.
Lots 1 through 49, inclusive, Block 1.
Lots 1 through 37, inclusive, Block 2.
Lots 1 through 9, inclusive, Block 3.
Lot 16 through 45, inclusive, Block 4.
Lots 1 through 25, inclusive, Block 5.
Lots 1 through 8, 10 through 29 and 31 through 41, inclusive, Block 6.
Lots 1 through 35, inclusive, Block 7.
All in Oak Grove Addition.

All of the foregoing located in the City of Fargo, Cass County, North Dakota.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, That Water Main Replacement, Sanitary Sewer Replacement, Street Reconstruction and Incidentals Improvement District No. BR-20-B in the City of Fargo, North Dakota, be and the same is hereby created.

Request Report and Estimate of Cost from the City Engineer for Improvement District No. BR-20-B:
Direct City Engineer to report as to the general nature, purpose and feasibility relative to the construction of Improvement District No. BR-20-B in the City of Fargo, North Dakota; as well as an estimate of the approximate cost of said construction. (The Engineer's estimate of cost is $3,934,119.16.)

Order Plans and Specifications for Improvement District No. BR-20-B:
Direct City Engineer to prepare Plans and Specifications for the construction of Improvement District No. BR-20-B in the City of Fargo, North Dakota.

Adopt Resolution Approving Plans and Specifications and Engineer's Report for Improvement District No. BR-20-B:
WHEREAS, The Board of City Commissioners of the City of Fargo, North Dakota, has created Improvement District No. BR-20-B in the City of Fargo, North Dakota, as required by law; and
WHEREAS, Plans and Specifications and the Engineer's Report prepared by the City Engineer, have been considered.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, That the Plans and Specifications and Engineer's Report for the construction of Improvement District No. BR-20-B in the City of Fargo, North Dakota, be and the same are hereby approved and ordered filed in the Office of the City Auditor.

Adopt Resolution Declaring Water Main Replacement, Sanitary Sewer Replacement, Street Reconstruction and Incidentals Necessary:
BE IT RESOLVED BY THE BOARD OF CITY COMMISSIONERS OF THE CITY OF FARGO:
That it be and is hereby declared necessary to construct Water Main Replacement, Sanitary Sewer Replacement, Street Reconstruction and Incidentals Improvement District No. BR-20-B in the City of Fargo, North Dakota, according to the Engineer’s Report for this district and the Plans and Specifications approved by the Board of City Commissioners of the City of Fargo, North Dakota, filed in the Office of the City Auditor, and open for public inspection. A map of the district is attached hereto and incorporated as if fully set forth herein.
That the entire cost of said improvement be specially assessed against the benefited property in said improvement district in amounts proportionate to and not exceeding the benefits to be derived by them respectively from said improvement.
Protests against the proposed Water Main Replacement, Sanitary Sewer Replacement, Street Reconstruction and Incidentals must be in writing and must be filed with the City Auditor's Office within 30 days after the first publication of this Resolution.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That the City Auditor's Office is hereby instructed to publish this Resolution, as required by law.

Direct City Auditor's Office to Call for Bids for Improvement District No. BR-20-B:
Direct City Auditor's Office to publish a Notice, as required by law, calling for bids for the construction of Improvement District No. BR-20-B in the City of Fargo, North Dakota.

Second by Gehrig. On call of the roll Commissioners Strand, Gehrig, Grindberg, Piepkorn and Mahoney voted aye.
No Commissioner being absent and none voting nay, the motion was declared carried.

2020 State of the City’s Video:
A video from the 2020 State of the City’s presentation was shown.

Presentation on the Fargo Safe Routes to School Plan: Resolution of Adoption for the City of Fargo Safe Routes to School Plan Adopted:
Dan Farnsworth and Anna Pierce, Fargo-Moorhead Metropolitan Council of Governments (Metro COG), gave a presentation on the updated City of Fargo Safe Routes to School Plan. They said the last update to the Plan was adopted in 2009 and after nearly a decade, the Plan needed to be revamped due to extensive growth in the City and school district.

Mr. Farnsworth said the Plan includes new installations, improvements and preferred access routes to each school. Metro COG staff worked with the City and schools to gather input from staff, parents and students, he said, to identify bicyclist and pedestrian access challenges, as well as opportunities surrounding each of the 30 school locations within the City limits. The updated Plan provides information on project background, existing conditions, preferred circulation routes and identifies prioritized areas of improvement at each school, maps for each elementary and middle school within the City limits, he said, as well as five West Fargo public schools and six private schools. He said the Plan incorporates the “Six Es” of Safe Routes to School – Education, Encouragement, Engineering, Enforcement, Evaluation and Equity. Once the new Plan is adopted, he said, it will be publicly available for use by elected officials, school and City staff and parents. He said about 50 years ago, 48 percent of students biked and walked to school and that number has significantly dropped. More parents are driving their students to school, which increases the traffic around schools, he said, and there are many mental and physical benefits to students who bicycle or walk to school. The main focus for the City, he said, is the engineering side and how the City can make the infrastructure safer for students to bike and walk to school.

Ms. Pierce said four major goals were identified in the Plan including increasing the health and physical activity of students, provide education resources, increase safety, as well as the percentage of students who walk and bike to school. Maps were developed for each school along with a prioritized list of projects, policies and educational programs, she said, that can be implemented at the school district level and the City level for integrating safe routes to school in the decision-making processes for the selection of new school sites as well as school expansions. She said many people were involved in developing this Plan, including City staff, representatives from the Park District and Police Department, parents and teachers. She said parents identified three major challenges which are infrastructure related, specifically safety of crossings and intersections, the amount of traffic along routes and the speed of traffic. She said these are all issues that the City, through infrastructure improvement, can help change. Over the Spring of 2019, she said, Metro COG conducted a neighborhood assessment and did field investigations at each of the 31 schools during arrival and dismissal times. During these assessments, some positives and negatives were identified, she said, with positives including raised crosswalks, separated sidewalks and hybrid beacon signals or HAWKs, while the negatives included inconsistencies with crosswalk markings, unmarked crosswalks and inconsistent school speed zone signage. She said Clara Barton Elementary is surrounded by local roadways and has a lot denser development, with about 35 percent of students walking or biking to school. She said in comparison, at Centennial Elementary, there are arterial roadways that line the adjacent property of the school, a drain and the density of development is significantly less and only about 9 percent of students walk or bike to school. She said the development pattern of the school campus can increase or decrease the number of students who want to walk or bike to school.

Mr. Farnsworth said projects that would impact safety the most would be signing and striping including high-visibility crosswalks, stop bars, school speed zone and crossing signs, curb extensions, traffic calming devices and flashing school speed zone signs. He said there are many grants available to help fund these types of projects.

In response to a question from Commissioner Gehrig asking if the Plan is approved, is it a directive or is it mandating something or is it just a way to move forward, Mr. Farnsworth said nothing in the Plan is mandated, it is just a guideline and by approving the Resolution the City Commission is saying that it supports this Plan.

In response to a question from Mayor Mahoney asking if traffic engineering is factored in the Plan, Traffic Engineer Jeremy Gorden said a lot of what is in the Plan is traffic related; however, it does not mandate anything. He said Engineering has looked at each individual school and made recommendations and some of it is included for projects this year and in future years.

In response to a question from Commissioner Strand asking if bicyclist and pedestrian routes are factored into the decision on where a school is built and what type of engagement there is with the school, Mr. Farnsworth said Metro COG does recommended to the school district that they look at locations that are in a neighborhood area due to the fact that a denser neighborhood makes for a safer environment. He said the Plan has been presented to the West Fargo and Fargo school boards and they are they are all on board and very receptive.
Commissioner Strand moved the Resolution entitled “Resolution of Adoption for the City of Fargo Safe Routes to School Plan” and referred to as Attachment “A” be adopted and attached hereto.

Second by Piepkorn. On the vote being taken on the question of the adoption of the Resolution Commissioners Strand, Piepkorn, Gehrig, Grindberg and Mahoney voted aye.
No Commissioner being absent and none voting nay, the Resolution was adopted.

Hearing on Alley Vacation of the Alley between Lot 12, Block 26 and a Part of Lot 7 and All of Lots 8-12, Block 25, Roberts Second Addition Continued to 2/24/20:
A Hearing had been set for August 12, 2019 on an application for the Alley Vacation of the alley between Lot 12, Block 26 and a part of Lot 7 and all of Lots 8-12, Block 25, Roberts Second Addition (1001 NP Avenue North and 28 10th Street North).
At the August 12, 2019 Regular Meeting the Hearing was continued to August 26, 2019.
At the August 26, 2019 Regular Meeting the Hearing was continued to October 21, 2019.
At the October 21, 2019 Regular Meeting the Hearing was continued to November 18, 2019.
At the November 18, 2019 Regular Meeting the Hearing was continued to December 16, 2020.
At the December 16, 2019 Regular Meeting the Hearing was continued to January 27, 2020.
At the January 27, 2020 Regular Meeting the Hearing was continued to this day and hour; however, the applicant has requested the Hearing be continued to February 24, 2020.
Commissioner Grindberg moved the hearing be continued to 5:15 o’clock p.m. on Monday, February 24, 2020.

Second by Gehrig. On call of the roll Commissioners Grindberg, Gehrig, Piepkorn, Strand and Mahoney voted aye.
No Commissioner being absent and none voting nay, the motion was declared carried.

Application Filed by Fargo New Horizons LLLP for Payment in Lieu of Tax Exemption (PILOT) Approved:
A Hearing had been set for this day and hour on an application filed by New Horizons LLLP for payment in lieu of property tax exemption for a project located at 2525 Broadway North which the applicant will use in the operation of a 97 unit low income housing project in partnership with the Fargo Housing and Redevelopment Authority.
No written protests have been filed for the attention of the Board.
The Board determined that no person is present at this Hearing to protest or offer objection thereto.

Director of Strategic Planning and Research Jim Gilmour said New Horizons has been owned by the Fargo Housing Authority since it was constructed in 1973. It serves very low-income people and people with disabilities, he said, and it is unique in that many of the aspects of the building were designed for people with disabilities as they best knew how in 1973. As a Housing Authority property, he said, it is a property of the City and is exempt from property taxes. The Housing Authority has voluntarily made a payment of 5 percent of its rents to the City to help with City services such as snowplows, police and fire, he said, and there is a section in North Dakota Century Code, as well as in Fargo’s Ordinances, that provide for the Housing Authority to make the voluntary payments. The building needed a lot of renovation, he said, and funds from the Department of Housing and Urban Development to maintain and rehab public housing is limited; therefore, the Housing Authority was innovative and obtained a low-income housing tax credit grant from the Home Loan Bank. In obtaining those tax credits and in order to fully utilize those tax credits, he said, the Housing Authority brought in a partner who had tax liability and those tax credits were given to that partner and the partner gave the Housing Authority the funds to make the needed renovations. He said the rehab project started in the fall of 2017 and was completed in the fall of 2019. It was assumed that New Horizons would either be exempt as a public housing property due to the fact that the Housing Authority still owns the land, he said; however, through a complicated lease structure, New Horizons is leased to New Horizons LLC and the Housing Authority is the general partner and operates the building for the tenants. The tenants do not see any differences and still qualify for the low-income rents and the management of the building is the same, he said. In order to convert this to permanent financing and permanently get the tax credits, he said, the Housing Authority needs a property tax exemption to keep the property taxes at about $10,000.00 a year versus if this was at a market level, the taxes would be more than $100,000.00 a year and they would not be able to obtain the permanent financing needed to make the project work. He said the Tax Exempt Review Committee recommended approval of this PILOT as required by State law, and Cass County and Fargo Schools are both opting to participate for the full 15-year property tax exemption. At the end of 15 years, he said, the private partner will be taken out and the property will be transferred back to the Housing Authority as public housing and continue to be exempt from property taxes at that point. He said if the City does not participate, the City may lose funding from HUD and if the Housing Authority cannot convert to permanent financing, the private partners can take the building back and turn it into market rate housing.

In response to a question from Commissioner Gehrig asking if all of the units in the building are low-income housing, Mr. Gilmour said they are.
Commissioner Gehrig said this is the type of tax break that helps people in need.

In response to a question from Commissioner Strand asking about Low-Income Tax Credits and how they are distributed, Mr. Gilmour said there are limits based on population, not everyone gets the credits and it is an accomplishment to get one. He said this particular project received $865,000.00 in tax credits and what that means is each year for the next 10 years, whoever has the tax credits saves that much on taxes, which is about $8.5 million in tax credits. The Housing Authority is only eligible for those tax credits, he said, if the property stays low-income housing for 15 years. He said Fargo Housing is monitored by the North Dakota Housing Finance Agency and there are different types of low-income housing tax credits; sometimes they are done with the Housing Authority who has a partner, sometimes they are done with a nonprofit organization and sometimes they are done with a for-profit organization with a mission of trying to provide affordable housing. He said the tax credits are sold to someone who has tax liability and is willing to provide the money and often it is a bank that is also looking for some sort of community reinvestment incentive or credit.

Commissioner Piepkorn said he agrees with Commissioner Gehrig and said this is what tax exempt programs are for and he cannot think of a more worthwhile project. He said it is in a great location across the street from a grocery store and drug store and within walking distance to many services. He said if the City were to build more of these types of buildings, they would be full and they serve people with challenges, physical and mental, and veterans.

Commissioner Strand said HUD came to Fargo last summer and said this project is an example and it should be seen across the nation not only because it was rehabilitated, but the rehab made it much more compliant to the clients and it is a much better experience for the people living there. He said it has really served the City of Fargo well.

Commissioner Piepkorn moved that the application filed by Fargo New Horizons LLP for a 15-year payment in lieu of tax exemption pursuant to Chapter 40-57.1, NDCC be approved as follows:
Year 1 $5,105.00
Year 2 $5,280.00
Year 3 $5,457.00
Year 4 $5,637.00
Year 5 $5,818.00
Year 6 $6,001.00
Year 7 $6,187.00
Year 8 $6,374.00
Year 9 $6,563.00
Year 10 $6,755.00
Year 11 $6,948.00
Year 12 $7,143.00
Year 13 $7.340.00
Year 14 $7,539.00
Year 15 $7,760.00

Second by Grindberg. On call of the roll Commissioners Piepkorn, Strand, Gehrig, Grindberg and Mahoney voted aye.
No Commissioner being absent and none voting nay, the motion was declared carried.

Applications for Property Tax Exemptions for Improvements Made to Buildings Approved:
a. Janie Kuniek, 1809 30th Avenue South (3 year).
b. Gerard W. Kottenbrock and Cathy L. Manderscheid, 2105 32nd Avenue South (3 year).
c. Erik Stewart, 321 23rd Avenue North (5 year).
d. Andrew P. and Jenna L. Klein, 85 18th Avenue North (5 year).
e. Erik M. and Nicole Stewart, 1213 4th Street North (5 year).
f. Alice and Keith Carr, 1205 3rd Street North (5 year).
Commissioner Piepkorn moved the applications be approved.

Second by Gehrig. On call of the roll Commissioners Piepkorn, Gehrig, Grindberg, Strand and Mahoney voted aye.
No Commissioner being absent and none voting nay, the motion was declared carried.

Precinct Locations for the 2020 Elections Approved:
The Board received a communication from City Auditor Steve Sprague stating that as requested by the Board, the Auditor’s Office reached out to Fargo Public Schools and the Cass County Auditor for input on polling location selection. He said while the Fargo Public Schools did express interest in using schools as polling locations, where appropriate, the County Auditor said schools in Fargo generally do not meet the necessary requirements.

Cass County Auditor Mike Montplaisir said following the 2006 election, Fargo Public Schools asked that school buildings not be used for polling sites due to concerns about security. At that time, he said, the County made adjustments by combining precincts and polling sites, which has worked well and as a result, there are larger, better-staffed precincts. He said security issues including controlled access at the schools with locked doors makes it difficult to use schools as polling sites. When looking for a polling site, he said, there has to be adequate parking and adequate room for circulation of voters inside the polling site to allow them to cast their ballot in a quiet and private setting. He said there is electronic equipment and lighting that need power and using hallways in schools is not adequate space. There is also a concern about student safety with the traffic around elementary and middle schools, he said, and voters tend to vote at the same time students are arriving and leaving school. There are only two schools used in the County for polling locations, he said, one in West Fargo where there is a separate parking, separate entrance and a gymnasium, and the other is Northern Cass due to there not being any other alternative. When the County redistricts and remaps precincts and County Commission districts, he said, everything has to coincide with the state legislative districts. He said the County works closely with Fargo and West Fargo on finding precinct boundaries and also works with district party chairs when looking at boundaries and the County looks at several factors including if there is a polling place within that precinct. He said after 2006 when the School Board raised concerns about security, that was not the first time the County had heard about it. He said the County does change polling places from time to time and for example, this year El Zagal is being remodeled so District 44 polling was moved to Broadway Junction.

In response to a question from Commissioner Strand asking about misunderstandings about a letter from Lowell Wolff, Mr. Montplaisir said the letter the County received said the School District would like the County to look for other polling places.

In response to Commissioner Strand who said it was his understanding that the School Board later corrected its position with the County and made it clear that they wanted polls in schools, Mr. Montplaisir said that he did not get that message and the arrangement that the County has now works very well.

In response to a question from Commissioner Strand asking if there is a school in Fargo that would fit the County’s criteria, Mr. Montplaisir said Longfellow Elementary has a separate gymnasium and separate parking lot and the school could be used after the next census when the legislative boundaries are redistricted and whether precincts are redrawn which will be the time to look again at polling sites.

Commissioner Strand said he served two terms on the School Board and it was his sense that the schools absolutely, if possible, wanted elections held in schools. He said to have students see voting in their schools is a great civics lesson and message for students. He said he is not opposed to voting in churches; however, not everyone is a Christian and not everybody is comfortable going to churches.

Mr. Montplaisir said absentee voting is available before the election and early voting precincts including Saturday voting this year, therefore, there will be ample opportunities for people to vote. He said across the nation people are moving away from schools as voting places due to violence seen in some of the schools and there are some states where it is against the law to use schools as polling places due to security issues.
Commissioner Grindberg moved the precinct locations for the 2020 elections be approved, as presented.

Second by Gehrig. On call of the roll Commissioners Grindberg, Gehrig, Piepkorn and Mahoney voted aye.
Commissioner Strand voted nay.
The motion was declared carried.

Bid Award to Continental Utilities Solution, Inc. for Utility Billing Software Approved:
City Auditor Steve Sprague said the City’s existing utility billing software was created more than 35 years ago. He said there has been a directive to move to new technology and in an effort to facilitate this move, the Auditor’s Office and Utility Billing Department conducted a Request for Proposals for utility billing software to replace the existing system. He said 12 proposals were received and after cost considerations and online demonstrations, two companies were selected and asked to participate in onsite interviews. Included in the final decision, he said, were staff members from Water, Wastewater, Solid Waste, Information Services, Finance and Auditors as well as an outside consultant. He said Continental Utilities Solution, Inc. was selected as the software provider that best fits the needs of the City and the 2020 budget includes adequate funding to facilitate this agreement. Another aspect of this software, he said, is it will increase efficiency for the customer service representatives. For example, he said, the system will recognize the phone number when a customer calls and will pull up that customer’s account even before the call is answered so the information is available right away. He said the technology also features account management that will display all of the information on one screen, whereas now, if there is a question about usage, the customer service rep has to pull up another screen. He said there is also a customer chat feature, real-time reporting so payments show up immediately, customers can manage their own account to tell the City if they are moving and a dual notification feature where the City can let the tenant and the landlord know if a tenant is late on a payment. It also allows the user to set up a payment plan whereas now the arrangement is written on a card and filed in a recipe box. He said at the same time, the Auditor and Finance offices will be reviewing policies and procedures which have been driven by the limitations of the current software. He said the Finance and Auditor’s offices are recommending a 3 percent payment processing fee ($2.95 minimum) for customers who choose to use the online payment feature, which will result in a $225,000.00 savings to the City due to those fees are currently being paid by the City. Residents who do not want to use a credit card still have other options to pay their bill, he said, such as paying in person with cash or a check, there is still going to be a drop box and residents can pay via their bank’s website and set up auto pay.

In response to a question from Commissioner Strand, asking if the fee is $2.95 per month or per transaction, Mr. Sprague said he talked to other utilities and West Fargo charges 3 percent for any online transaction and their traditional ACH is free, which is what Fargo is also proposing. He said Moorhead Public Service also charges $2.95 per credit card transaction. Cass County Electric and Cass Rural Water Users are both member-owned, he said, and acknowledge that there is a fee; however, they have chosen to pick it up for their members. He said it is very similar to going to the movies; if a person wants to reserve a seat, it is $11.00 for the ticket and then $2.00 to choose a seat and another fee to have the ticket in an email or to pick them up at the theater. He said there are about 12,000 customers who use credit cards to pay their bills. There will be communication that these changes will be coming, he said, and the timing of the rollout is about 10 months.
Commissioner Piepkorn moved the Software License Agreement with Continental Utilities Solutions, Inc. be approved, as presented.

Second by Gehrig. On call of the roll Commissioners Piepkorn, Gehrig, Grindberg, Strand and Mahoney voted aye.
No Commissioner being absent and none voting nay, the motion was declared carried.

Receive and File the Performing Arts Taskforce Final Report: Appropriate Staff Directed to Prepare a Request for Proposal (RFP) for a Fundraising Consultant:
The Board received a communication from Assistant City Administrator Michael Redlinger stating that Rob Remark of JLG Architects has a final report of the Performing Arts Taskforce.

Mr. Remark said the current report includes updated information regarding the 2015 study with additional site considerations, a survey of new and existing stakeholders, a market analysis, estimated development costs, projected event demand, financial operations, cost estimates, financing approaches, fundraising and economic impacts, among others. He said that steps moving forward should include setting a program budget, establishing a funding strategy and revenue targets, engaging a professional fundraising consultant, convening a small committee to lead fundraising efforts, creating milestone goals and coordinating with the FARGODOME operating and capital programs, as well as identifying joint opportunities. He said the work of the 2019 Taskforce did not update or modify the proposed 2015 building program. For reference, he said the size of building suggested in 2015 with estimated development costs escalated to the middle of the 2022 construction year includes a 3 percent to 4 percent annual inflation in industry costs. Therefore, he said, in comparison, the new construction costs in 2015 were approximately $54 million and that same building in 2022 would cost approximately $75 million.

Mr. Redlinger said he wants to echo and amplify Mr. Remark’s comments about private fundraising and that there is a need to identify professional services in this area. This is a very specialized niche area of consultancy, he said, and this is a highly competitive market. There is a lot of on-the-ground analysis that would need to be done and survey work to try to assess opportunities, he said, and a logical next step would be if the City Commission, at a policy level, wants to proceed with this next level of feasibility analysis. He said there is more feasibility work to do for this project to get it off the ground. He said the project is not in pre-design and no one knows what the facility will actually look like; however, it would be good to know what the targets look like for revenues as well as fundraising goals.

Commissioner Piepkorn said going forward he thinks a next step is to decide whether a Request for Proposals for a professional fundraising consultant would be appropriate and to find out if the community and the region has the appetite to raise the money. He said costs for a Performing Arts Center are higher than he had hoped; however, on the flip side, he would much rather have accurate numbers and not have to come back and revise the project due to costs. He said he also wants to see a decision on the current Civic Center due to the fact that it cannot stay the same. He said either way, there is going to have to be a significant investment.

Commissioner Strand said the numbers at face value look daunting; however, with increasing costs he thinks the Board should move quickly to see if the community wants this. He said he thinks the community does want it; however, he wants to ask. He said he knows there are financing options that can allow this to go forward without a vote of the public; however, he would rather move forward with a mandate of the public.

In response to a question from Commissioner Gehrig asking about the financial operations report showing revenue and expenses and it looks like nothing changed from the 2015 report, Mr. Remark said that is something that was identified as one of the next steps and it is going to take another level of detail to really dig into the operations. He said that is something FARGODOME Manager Rob Sobolik has talked about specifically to say there are some opportunities; however, there are some realities as well.

Commissioner Gehrig said $54 million was the price for the building in 2015 and even at that price it was going to lose money, and now that number is 40 percent higher and will still not make money. He said that matters with the public and he wants the public to be aware that this is not going to make money. He said he agrees with Commissioner Strand in that this has to go to a vote, this is a huge sum of money and if people want to pay up to a certain dollar amount with the assumption that there is a private company or companies that will fund 50 percent, I would be on board with that.

Commissioner Grindberg said this is the cart before the horse. He said if the City is going to fund a $75 million to $80 million project it is going to require somebody to pay the bond and that is a vote of the people. He said the next step is to do a feasibility study and see what funds could be raised in this community. The first step is not going out for a vote and asking people their thoughts, he said, it is first figuring out what can be raised. Private fundraisers know how to do this and it is a sophisticated process, he said, and they can come back with a number based on this report and say “here is what the private sector will support” and that will change on what scale the City builds. He said it might take six months and it might cost $100,000.00; however, that consultant is going to say, “here is what we believe can be raised because people have told us that.” He said those conversations generally are done confidentially with Business Owner A and Business Owner B and that has to happen before anything else.

Commissioner Piepkorn said he wants to have a price or a number and that is the bottom line.

Mr. Redlinger said there needs to be some understanding of what the City commitment may look like or what the mechanism would be so that when that fundraising consultant goes out to those interviews, they would be doing that with an understanding of what the formula for the total equation could look like.

Commissioner Grindberg said he would be uncomfortable voting on setting a budget. Until the private sector speaks and the community weighs in, it is counterintuitive to him to start by setting a budget, he said. If this is done right, he said, it could be huge for the community. He said if NDSU can raise $160 million, with the right approach this could come back and the private sector could contribute $40 million, then the City could build more.

Mayor Mahoney said once it is decided, it may require a vote of the people such as a lodging tax or liquor and food tax, and it is good to see what the private appetite is.

Commissioner Gehrig said he is in favor of moving forward if the people of Fargo are promised that this will be a 50/50 private/public sector project. The people need reassurance that they will not be footing the majority of this project, he said.

Commissioner Piepkorn said this project has to break even or make money and it looks like there still needs to be some pencil sharpening. On the other hand, he said, he does not want the Board to think too small. He said this is a regional Performing Arts Center, not just Fargo, and people from the region and the entire State might contribute.
Commissioner Piepkorn moved to receive and file the Performing Arts Taskforce final report.

Second by Gehrig. On call of the roll Commissioners Piepkorn, Gehrig, Grindberg, Strand and Mahoney voted aye.
No Commissioner being absent and none voting nay, the motion was declared carried.

Commissioner Piepkorn moved appropriate staff be directed to prepare an RFP seeking proposals for a commission-based or fixed contract fundraising consultant.

Second by Strand. On call of the role Commissioners Piepkorn, Strand, Grindberg and Mahoney voted aye.
Commissioner Gehrig voted nay.
The motion was declared carried.

At 6:43 p.m. the Board took a five-minute recess.
After recess: All Commissioners present. Mayor Mahoney presiding.

Discussion on the Fine Structure:
Commissioner Gehrig said he had received many emails and phone calls about what the Board was going to decide with the snow Ordinance and fines.

Public Works Director Ben Dow said the discussions at the recent Brown Bag meeting were for feedback and nothing is set in stone. He said based on conversations he has had with Commissioners and the Mayor, he had put some thoughts together and if it is a $75.00 fine, he is comfortable with that and on board; however, something needs to get started and moving forward. He said that is the aspect of parking restrictions now, does it have teeth or what have we seen across the country, this is just a start. He said he is glad people have questions and it is good to get feedback. He said he and Assistant City Attorney Nancy Morris are going to start working on this soon and no action is required tonight, this is just additional discussion.

Appropriate Staff Directed to Study the Installation of Wind Turbines on Residential-Zoned Properties:
Commissioner Gehrig said he had been contacted by residents regarding green energy and they wanted to know what they can and cannot do. The first question he had was what barriers are in place for people to utilize green energy at their homes or businesses and apparently, he said, there are substantial barriers. For example, he said, there is a noise ordinance which would preclude any kind of use of a wind turbine due to the fact that they produce noise. He said there are height restrictions for homes and other buildings and in some cases, wind turbines would be too tall for the existing Ordinances. He does not think there are going to be wind turbines on every home, he said; however, if a business owner or the owner of an apartment complex can utilize green energy and do it in a free-market way without the government forcing it to happen, he thinks the City needs to get out of the way. He said he would like the Planning Department to look at certain codes in the LDC, which is under review, and would like to have a vote to say “yes” they will look at this topic specifically and see if it something that could be addressed in the City’s LDC.

Commissioner Piepkorn said he strongly opposes wind turbines and the last thing he wants to see in all of his neighbor's backyards are wind turbines. He said to some people they might be beautiful; however, to him it looks like clutter and if everyone is allowed to build a wind turbine in their backyard, that is ridiculous. He said if someone wants a wind turbine, there is all of rural North Dakota to use; however, to have those fill up the City skyline, that is eye pollution and wind turbines kill birds. He said this is unnecessary and is a waste of City staff time.

Commissioner Grindberg said he agrees with Commissioner Piepkorn and does not want to see towers going up all over neighborhoods; however, the public will weigh in on that topic. He said given the fact that the LDC is being reviewed, he is not opposed to looking into the details. He said for one thing, wind turbines are generally not economically viable and with big mega towers, there is a lot of government subsidies to make that happen. He said he is not opposed to having to reviewed; however, it is very unlikely that he would vote to put it into an Ordinance to allow it.

Commissioner Strand said now is a good time to put this on the table considering the current review of the LDC and to find out what people think or want.

Commissioner Gehrig said he has driven around town and noticed some solar panels and what brought this to his attention was someone who currently uses solar panels was interested in using both.

Commissioner Gehrig moved appropriate Planning staff be directed to study the installation of wind turbines on residential-zoned properties and to identify such amendments to Ordinances and Text Amendments to the Land Development Code as may be necessary and appropriate.
Second by Strand. On call of the roll Commissioners Gehrig, Strand, Grindberg and Mahoney voted aye.
Commissioner Piepkorn voted nay.
The motion was declared carried.

Appropriate Staff Directed to Complete the Final Design on Recommended Alignments and Complete the Necessary Property Acquisitions for Project Nos. FM-19-A, FM-19-B, FM-19-C and FM-19-E (Moved from the Consent Agenda):
Division Engineer Nathan Boerboom said additional in town projects are required due to changes in the Diversion Plan. He said the Diversion was originally designed to allow 35 feet of water through town during a 100-year event. With Plan B, he said, that is now 37 feet and with those changes, levees need to be constructed in five additional neighborhoods that were not originally planned, including Riverwood, Royal Oaks, Woodcrest and Elm Circle. He said design aspects are still in progress in the Oak Grove neighborhood, which will be discussed at a future meeting.

Mike Love, Houston Engineering, said in Riverwood the conceptual plan was to have 6 full property acquisitions, which are still needed with the alignment for consideration today but the number of easements needed went from one to three so the alignment consists of an earthen levee constructed to Stage 44, a new storm pump station to handle the internal drainage from snowmelt and rainfall events, replanting several trees and re-establishing a bike trail. In Royal Oaks, he said, the original plan was to have 12 full property acquisitions of which two were vacant lots, construction of a levee and relocation of a cul-de-sac and the recommended project alignment is very similar to the conceptual alignment, earthen levee constructed to Stage 44 and relocation of the cul-de-sac. The only thing that changed is there needs to be more slope unloading to get it to work, he said. In Woodcrest in 2014, he said, there were six properties that the City previously acquired, and this plan would require an additional four acquisitions, five easements and would consist of constructing an earthen levee and relocation of a storm pump station. What changed is the concept plan originally called for four additional property acquisitions but the engineers were able to adjust the alignment to push it from where the homes where to the rear yards of the homes, he said; therefore, that eliminated the need for three full property acquisitions. He said there is still one property acquisition needed in this location due to the fact that engineers could not get around the corner, a lift station is needed and the levee is extended further north to tie into the existing flood protection. He said there is an existing pump station and outflow that will be abandoned and a new storm sewer will be installed that collects all the drainage and brings it to one new pump station to handle all of it to eliminate additional closures. In Elm Circle, he said, the conceptual plan was for four property acquisitions and the construction of a levee. He said engineers were able to revise this alignment as well and push it to the rear yards to save three of the four homes. With one of the homes, there is a detached garage impacted and the City was able to previously acquire that and will remove the garage and the home will stay and could be resold, he said. An earthen levee will be constructed to Stage 44 and a driveway will be relocated, he said. The estimated cost for these four areas was almost $24 million when the Brown Bag meeting was held in late January, he said, and at that time, a revised estimate was done based on the recommended alignment that had a 30 percent contingency. He said Commissioner Grindberg requested that the engineers take a closer look at that and after further review, the level of detail in the estimate was sufficient to reduce the contingency to 20 percent, which resulted in a decrease of about $1 million.

Mr. Boerboom said the path forward from here, pending approval of these four alignments, is to move into the easement acquisition of the partial property acquisitions and construction of the levees as well as the full property acquisitions. If the Board approves these four alignments, he said, more detailed design will begin which will involve a lot of engagement with the neighbors to make sure that a project is built that they can live with, accept and incorporate into their backyards. He said then it will move into permitting, the submission of levee construction permits to the State Water Commission and the timeline will be based off of the final design completion. He said the bidding and actual construction of the project is unknown at this time due to the timing of the easement acquisitions and the full property acquisitions and he is hopeful that the majority of these can be done in 2020 allowing for at least a few of these projects to move into construction in 2021 .

Dan Buiede, attorney with the Buiede Law Firm, said he represents Rob and Leanne Jordahl who reside at 4301 Riverwood Drive. He said prior to this meeting, he has attended the neighborhood meetings on behalf of the Jordahl’s and he has had a number of communications with City staff. He said he wants to note the Jordahl’s objection and the Jordahl’s hope, if at all possible, that the project could be modified to remove their property from the project. He said he is not an engineer; however, it appears that a bit of creativity could eliminate the need to be on the Jordahl’s property. If not, he said, the Jordahl’s are willing to participate in a buyout program and it would be well within the parameters of the City's current buyout programs.

Mayor Mahoney said the engineers meet with homeowners and always try to work toward the best solution. He said the Engineering Department has done great work with all of the houses to try a customized plan for them and are more than happy to meet with the Jordahl’s to see if it comes to a resolution.

Mr. Boerboom said it is important to note that this alignment is by no means final. He said engineers will continue to work with the Jordahl’s as well as all the affected property owners to make sure accommodations can be made in any way possible.

Commissioner Piepkorn said the engineers and staff have done a great job working with the neighbors. It is a very difficult job, he said, and buyouts are very emotional and when you think of the number of houses that had to be purchased and moved, it is phenomenal. The City is very fortunate and even though there is a lot of water out there, everybody feels a lot more confident because of all the work the City’s engineering group has done, he said.

Mr. Boerboom said a lot of gratitude also needs to be given to the property owners who are being affected by this. He said many property owners throughout town have been affected and unfortunately more are being affected; however, the City is building good projects that will allow the City to hopefully reduce any emergency flood levee placement.

Commissioner Strand said something to clarify is when referring to Plan B, that was the result of the Governor’s Task Force where the Diversion went from 35 feet through town to 37 feet once the Diversion is in place. He said what everyone needs to remember is the Diversion is not yet built and the City is not protected to 41 feet. He said this is a process going towards getting that ultimate protection of the Diversion; however, that is several years away, and he is concerned that the public is getting mixed messages that 37 feet is all that is needed, which is not until the Diversion is built.

Mr. Boerboom said these projects are being developed in two parts. He said, for example, if the Riverwood project can be completed this summer and if there is a spring flood fight next year, that is one less area where the City would need to complete emergency measures. There is a flood that is larger out there than what protection can be built in town and that is why the Diversion is needed, he said. The in-town projects will complement or work in conjunction with the Diversion, he said, to provide the region with that 100-year certifiable protection.
Commissioner Grindberg moved appropriate staff be directed to complete the final design on the recommended alignments and complete the necessary property acquisitions for projects, as presented.

Second by Gehrig. On call of the roll Commissioners Grindberg, Gehrig, Piepkorn, Strand and Mahoney voted aye.
No Commissioner being absent and none voting nay, the motion was declared carried.

Commissioner Gehrig moved that the Board adjourn to 5:00 o’clock p.m., Monday, February 24, 2020.

Second by Grindberg. All the Commissioners voted aye and the motion was declared carried.
The time at adjournment was 7:17 o’clock p.m.