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Fargo City Commission - November 2, 2020 Minutes

The Regular Meeting of the Board of City Commissioners of the City of Fargo, North Dakota, was held in the City Commission Room at City Hall at 5:00 o'clock p.m., Monday, November 2, 2020.
The Commissioners present or absent were as shown following:
Present: Gehrig, Piepkorn, Preston, Strand, Mahoney.
Absent: None.
Mayor Mahoney presiding.

The Mayor read a message with the following information: Additional business and occupational licenses are now available on the City’s website and the online process allows business to view, renew or pay through their City of Fargo account; the Fargo Cass Public Health Department Harm Reduction team received the 2020 Zezula Award recognizing innovation in providing services during the pandemic; the City received a score of 3 of 3 on a recent Insurance Services Office evaluation putting Fargo in the top category for a reduction in home and flood insurance rates; Library activities include outdoor StoryWalk, virtual trivia events, virtual escape, Tea Time Book Club and Young Adult Virtual Book Club online; and two videos were shared that highlighted Cleanup Weeks and the rehab of the water tower near 9th Avenue and 45th Street South.

Order of Agenda Approved:
Commissioner Piepkorn moved the Order of the Agenda be approved, withdrawing Item No. “3a” from the Consent Agenda.
Second by Gehrig. All the Commissioners voted aye and the motion was declared carried.

Minutes Approved:
Commissioner Strand moved that the Minutes of the Regular Meeting of the Board held on October 19, 2020 be approved as read.
Second by Preston. All the Commissioners voted aye and the motion was declared carried.

Consent Agenda Approved:
Commissioner Gehrig moved the Consent Agenda be approved as follows:
1. 1st reading of an Ordinance Enacting Article 13-16 of Chapter 13 of the Fargo Municipal Code Relating to Animal Boarding Facilities.

2. 2nd reading and final adoption of an Ordinance Annexing a Certain Parcel of Land Lying in the North Half of the South Half of the Southeast Quarter of Section 11, Township 138 North, Range 49 West, in Cass County, North Dakota; 1st reading, 10/19/20.

3. Applications for Games of Chance:
a. United Way of Cass Clay for a raffle on 11/16/20 (withdrawn).
b. NDSU Sigma Alpha Professional Agriculture Sorority for a raffle on 12/7/20.

4. Agreement for Downtown Business Improvement District Services and Materials between City of Fargo and Downtown Community Partnership.

5. Leave of absence request for Dawit Ifo.

6. 2021 City Commission meeting schedule.

7. Sole Source Procurement and Piggyback Contract with AVI Systems, Inc. for audio visual installations in City Hall (PBC20112-1601).
8. Special Construction Proposal with CenturyLink in association with Project No. MP-20-A1.

9. Change Order No. 1 in the amount of $10,607.60 and time extension for Project No. SL-20-A1.

10. Change Order No. 4 in the amount of $9,220.00 for Project No. SL-19-A1.

11. Change Order No. 4 in the amount of $34,269.66 for Project No. TM-19-B1.

12. Negative Final Balancing Change Order No. 3 in the amount of -$52,497.90 for Project No. FM-14-13.

13. Right of Way Use Agreement with Great Plains 1001 Holdings, LLC and Bakken Contracting Co., LLC.

14. Encroachment Agreement with Fargo Glass and Paint Company.

15. Agreement for Temporary Ingress and Egress Road, Site Pad and Temporary Liquid Natural Gas Pumping Site Construction with Xcel Energy.

16. Encroachment Agreement at 14 Roberts Street with Lofts on Roberts, LLP.

17. ND Department of Commerce Emergency Resilience Grant in the amount of $46,339.21 for the FARGODOME.

18. State Water Commission request for cost reimbursement for the FM Metro Area Flood Risk Management Project for costs totaling $824,088.63.

19. Grant Agreement with Lutheran Social Services of ND for medical screening/TB follow-up visits.

20. Agreement for Services with Mark Topp.

21. Agreement for Services with Zach Bruns.

22. Agreement for Services with Annie Wood.

23. Agreement for Services with Gia Rassier.

24. Agreement for Services with AE2S Communications.

25. Notice of Grant Award from the ND Department of Health for the Ryan White Part B Program (CFDA #93.917).

26. Notice of Grant Award from the ND Department of Health for COVID-19 Funding for Local Public Health Units (CFDA #93.323).

27. Financial Award from the ND Department of Commerce/DCS for an Emergency Solutions Grants Program ND Homeless Grant for the Gladys Ray Shelter (CFDA #14-231).

28. Compensation adjustments for Fargo Cass Public Health nursing staff as presented.

29. Resolution Approving Plat of Delta Delta Delta Addition (Attachment “A”).

30. Contract Amendment with TDA Consulting, Inc. to extend the term of the agreement through 2/28/21.

31. Contractor Agreement between City of Fargo and MDM Construction, LLC for construction services for the Gladys Ray COVID-19 Quarantine and Isolation Center (RFP20062).

32. Housing assistance gap funding to be administered by SENDCAA and Presentation Partners in Housing.

33. Bid award to RDO Equipment in the amount of $149,000.00 for the purchase of one articulated wheel loader (RFP21003).

34. Bid award to RDO Equipment in the amount of $278,700.00 for the purchase of one motorgrader with wing (RFP21001).

35. Bid award to RDO Equipment in the amount of $228,700.00 for the purchase/lease of one motorgrader with wing (RFP21002).

36. Services Agreements Snow Removal Equipment Services with Glacier Snow Management, Turf Tamers LLC, Industrial Builders Inc. and Master Construction Company (RFP20148).

37. Bid award to Fleetmind Solutions in the amount of $90,296.75 for a five year route optimization software package (RFP20003).

38. Reimbursement Agreement with West Acres Enterprises, LLC for road repairs with Northern Improvement Company.

39. Award of the Fargo-Moorhead Transit Operational Services contract to First Transit for operation of transit services for the two-year period January 1, 2021 through December 31, 2022 with the option to extend for three, one-year periods.

40. Change Order No. 2 in the amount of $28,219.00 for the general contract and Change Order No. 1 in the amount of $888.07 for the electrical contract for the GTC Improvement Project.

41. Bid award to Key Contracting, Inc. in the amount of $260,000.00 for emergency sanitary sewer repairs.

42. Advertisement for bids for Project No. WA1910.

43. Bid award to CC Steel LLC for the general construction contract in the amount of $3,490,000.00 with a cost reduction of $63,000.00 for Bid Alternate 1B; and to Fusion Automation, Inc. for electrical construction contract in the amount of $530,804.21 for Project No. WA1863.

44. Task Order No. 36 with AE2S in the amount of $728,900.00 for Project No. WA1863.

45. Bills in the amount of $15,844,049.04.

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

Contract for Sanitary Sewer, Water Main, Storm Sewer, Paving and Incidentals Improvement District No. BN-20-L1 Approved:
Commissioner Gehrig moved the Contract between the City of Fargo and Dakota Underground Company for Sanitary Sewer, Water Main, Storm Sewer, Paving and Incidentals Improvement District No. BN-20-L1 in the City of Fargo, North Dakota, be approved.

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

Contract Bond for Sanitary Sewer, Water Main, Storm Sewer, Paving and Incidentals Improvement District No. BN-20-L1 Approved:
Commissioner Gehrig moved the following described Contract Bond be approved as to sufficiency:
United Fire and Casualty Company, in the amount of $6,095,877.39, for Sanitary Sewer, Water Main, Storm Sewer, Paving and Incidentals Improvement District No. BN-20-L1 in the City of Fargo, North Dakota.

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

Final Balancing Change Order No. 4 for Improvement District No. BR-18-F1 Approved:
Commissioner Gehrig moved Final Balancing Change Order No. 4 for an increase of $14,735.05 for Improvement District No. BR-18-F1 be approved.

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

Change Order No. 1 and Time Extension for Improvement District No. BR-20-B1 Approved:
Commissioner Gehrig moved Change Order No. 1 in the amount of -$10,632.50 and a time extension to January 15, 2021 for substantial completion and May 7, 2021 for final completion for Improvement District No. BR-20-B1 be approved.

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

Fargo-Moorhead Area Flood Diversion Project Update:
FM Diversion Authority Executive Director Joel Paulsen said on Monday, October 26, 2020 terms of a settlement agreement were reached by all parties involved in litigation for the Diversion Authority. He said that means the litigation will go away and the terms of the settlement agreement offer are that the project meets all local Ordinances. Permits for the project will move forward and meet local, State and Federal Ordinances, he said, providing certainty in construction. The plan is to procure a P3 (Public Private Partnership) developer early in 2021, he said, and construction in the channel is expected to start in the fall of 2021. He said the schedule is intact and the plan is for permanent flood protection by the spring of 2028.

Commissioner Piepkorn said he wants to be certain Commissioner Strand gets credit for being optimistic that some kind of agreement could be obtained.

In response to a question from Commissioner Piepkorn asking about the legal team and timeline of the agreement, Mr. Paulsen said the discussions began three to four weeks ago started by Commissioner Strand with the idea that a consensus could be obtained on the plethora of issues related to upstream impacts. Each of the issues was discussed, he said, with some big items being protection for crop insurance related to potential damages if the project were operated during the growing season, a prevent plant program and business interruption insurance such as for co-ops that could lose revenue. Farmstead relocation was also a topic, he said, which was already agreed to and would provide a forgivable loan for producers in the upstream mitigation area relocating and re-establishing agricultural production facilities. He said an economic relief fund for the Richland Wilkin JPA was agreed upon for social economic programs in Wilkin and Richland Counties to be administrated at the local level for programs to push growth into allowable areas. The P3 is a unique arrangement, which gives the Diversion Authority the ability to lock into a price for construction of the channel, the 18 bridges and the two aqueducts, he said, thus providing a certainty in costs for the whole project. It is different from a design/bid/build type contracting arrangement, he said, transferring the risk to the contractor and developer, who have maintenance responsibility for a 30-year period. He said the only place he sees a possibility of cost escalations would be on the Army Corps of Engineer’s projects as they are typical design/bid/build projects; however, the Corps is running under budget so as of today, he does not have any concern that the Corps can deliver their components within budget and on schedule.

Commissioner Strand thanked and commended Mr. Paulsen, John Shockley and Nathan Berseth who all played instrumental roles in keeping focus on the end game. He said now there is protection coming for certain, which has not been the case. Climate protection from erratic weather events is important, he said. The efforts in getting to the table and resolving differences mean climate protection is coming and everywhere one looks now, everyone is fighting, he said, and he is proud of the community and region for setting the bar high.

Mr. Paulsen said even though this is a monumental achievement for the Diversion Authority and communities involved, the hard work now is to put the project in place. He said the intention is to move full speed ahead with construction and implementation.

Mayor Mahoney said this provides thousands of jobs in the community and will be a major economic factor. He said the ability to have a time certain helps the projects and he thanked all those who worked hard on the settlement agreement.

Petition for Exclusion of Property Located in Part of Government Lot 4 of Section 5, Township 138 North, Range 49 West of the Fifth Principal Meridian, Cass County, North Dakota and Agreement for Future Annexation Approved (5218 68th Street South): No Protests Received:
A Hearing had been set for October 19, 2020 on a petition for the Exclusion of approximately 2.55 acres of a part of Government Lot 4 of Section 5, Township 138 North, Range 49 West of the Fifth Principal Meridian, Cass County, North Dakota.
At the October 19, 2020 meeting, the Hearing was continued to this day and hour.

Planning Coordinator Donald Kress said an exclusion means changing the City limits boundary so that the land involved in the exclusion is no longer in the City of Fargo, the reverse process of annexation. He shared a map showing the property and a ditch which has been filled in and replaced with a pipe that wraps around the property and empties into a detention basin, so the property can now be a contiguous piece without the odd angles. A plat is done for an exclusion/de-annexation, he said, and an agreement for future annexation due to some triggers that could bring it back into City limits.

In response to a question from Commissioner Gehrig asking whether it becomes part of West Fargo, Mr. Kress said it becomes part of Fargo’s extraterritorial jurisdiction and does not become part of any other city, it moves the City limit line over.

In response to a question from Commissioner Gehrig about the conditions in which the property could come back into City limits, City Attorney Erik Johnson said it is possible when there is a need for future development.

Commissioner Preston moved the Petition for exclusion of property located in part of Government Lot 4 of Section 5, Township 138 North, Range 49 West of the Fifth Principal Meridian, Cass County, North Dakota as depicted in the attached plan and legal description and the Agreement for Future Annexation with Howard and Barbara Gensler be approved.

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

First Reading of an Ordinance Excluding a Certain Parcel of Land Lying in Part of Government Lot 4 of Section 5, Township 138 North, Range 49 West, in Cass County, North Dakota:
Commissioner Preston moved the requirement relating to receipt of the Ordinance by the Commission one week prior to first reading be waived and moved the Ordinance Excluding a Certain Parcel of Land Lying in Part of Government Lot 4 of Section 5, Township 138 North, Range 49 West, in Cass County, North Dakota be placed on first reading.

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

Parcels of Land in Touchmark Addition Rezoned and Planned Unit Development Master Land Use Plan Approved (1201 35th Avenue South and 1200 Harwood Drive South):
At a Hearing held on July 8, 2020 the Fargo Planning Commission recommended approval of a change in zoning from AG, Agricultural and MR-3, Multi-Dwelling Residential with a PUD, Planned Unit Development to MR-3,
Multi-Dwelling Residential with a PUD, Planned Unit Development.
The City Auditor's Office published a Notice of Hearing stating this is the time and date set for said Hearing at which time all interested persons could appear and would be heard.

Planning Coordinator Donald Kress said this is for an expansion to the senior care facility on University Drive and 35th Avenue South. He said there is an old PUD, Planned Use Development Overlay on the property and this will bring it into compliance with current regulations. A single residence property zoned AG, Agricultural was purchased which will be zoned to MR-3, Multi-Dwelling Residential and the new PUD, Planned Unit Development Overlay will be laid over that, he said. He showed the Master Land Use Plan which includes a reduction in parking and some adjustments related to site development standards.

Brian Pattengale, Houston Engineering, said this is for the expansion of the independent and memory care facilities on the existing Touchmark site.

Commissioner Preston offered the following Resolution and moved its adoption:
WHEREAS, All legal requirements in connection with the above-described request for rezoning, Planned Unit Development (PUD) Overlay and Planned Unit Development Master Land Use Plan have been complied with; and
WHEREAS, There have been no written or verbal protests to the request for rezoning and no one is present to protest thereto.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, That the findings of staff be accepted and the rezoning be approved on the basis that the proposal satisfactorily complies with the Comprehensive Plan, Standards of Section 20-0906.F (1-4) and all other applicable requirements of the LDC.

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

First Reading of an Ordinance Rezoning Certain Parcels of Land Lying in Touchmark Addition to the City of Fargo, Cass County, North Dakota:
Commissioner Preston moved the requirement relating to receipt of the Ordinance by the Commission one week prior to first reading be waived and that the Ordinance Rezoning Certain Parcels of Land o be placed on first reading.

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

Resolution Adopted Approving Touchmark Addition:
Commissioner Preston offered the following Resolution and moved its adoption:
BE IT RESOLVED BY THE BOARD OF CITY COMMISSIONERS OF THE CITY OF FARGO:
WHEREAS, A Plat has been filed in the office of the City Auditor entitled “Touchmark Addition” containing 1 Lot, 1 Block, and 9.88 acres of land more or less, located at 1201 35th Avenue South and 1200 Harwood Drive South; and
WHEREAS, A Hearing was held July 8, 2020 by the Fargo Planning Commission, and notice of such Hearing had been published, as required by law, and said Plat had been approved by the Fargo Planning Commission and by the City Engineer; and
WHEREAS, The City Auditor's Office published a Notice of Hearing on said Plat in the official newspaper for the City of Fargo on October 21 and 28, 2020 that a Hearing would be held in the Commission Chambers, City Hall, Fargo, North Dakota at 5:15 p.m., November 2, 2020 at which time said Plat would be considered and all interested persons would be heard.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, That the findings and recommendations of staff and the Planning Commission be accepted and the Plat entitled “Touchmark Addition” be and the same is hereby in all things affirmed and approved on the basis that it complies with the Standards of Article 20-06, and all other applicable requirements of the Land Development Code, and that the Mayor of the City of Fargo and the appropriate City Officials are hereby directed to endorse their approval on the Plat and then direct Petitioner to file same for record in the Office of the Recorder of Cass County, North Dakota.

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

Application to Transfer the Alcoholic Beverage License from Bistro’s & More, Inc. d/b/a Old Chicago to 701 OPS, Inc. d/b/a 701 Eateries; Prairie Kitchen & Camp Lone Tree Approved:
A Hearing had been set for this day and hour on an application to transfer the Class "FA" Alcoholic Beverage License from Bistro’s & More, Inc. d/b/a Old Chicago to 701 OPS, Inc. d/b/a 701 Eateries; Prairie Kitchen & Camp Lone Tree at 701 University Drive North notice of which had been duly published in the official newspaper for the City of Fargo.
No written protest or objection to the granting of the application has been received or filed in the office of the City Auditor, and said application has been approved by the Police Department as to the character of the applicant.
The Board determined that no person is present at this Hearing to protest or offer objection to the granting of the application.

Environmental Health Director Grant Larson said this transfer is for extensive remodeling of the former laundromat making it into a refurbished dining facility on the corner of University Drive and 7th Avenue North.

Commissioner Gehrig pointed out that the “FA” Alcoholic Beverage Licenses are no longer transferable and this one is able to transfer because it was grandfathered in.

Commissioner Piepkorn moved the application be approved.

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

Interim Financing Agreement, Series A, and Interim Financing Agreement, Series B by and between Garrison Diversion Conservancy District, Lake Agassiz Water Authority, City of Fargo and City of Grand Forks Approved:
City Administrator Bruce Grubb said the financing agreements are related to start-up construction of certain strategic components of the Red River Valley Water Supply project (RRVWSP). He said there are two separate agreements due to the fact that Series A is subject to a 10 percent local cost-share and Series B is subject to a 25 percent local cost share. The project will deliver Missouri River water to the Red River Valley and central North Dakota, he said, which is necessary due to the susceptibility of existing regional water supplies under drought conditions and the project is critical for the region to establish climate resiliency during periods of drought. The RRVWSP is a State and local project with the Garrison Diversion Conservancy District (GDCD) representing the State of the North Dakota and Lake Agassiz Water Authority (LAWA) representing the project water users, he said. Fargo, as a member of LAWA and a key sponsor of the RRVWSP is being asked to approve the two agreements to enable start-up construction of three project components, he said: the Missouri River Intake Wetwell, Transmission Pipeline Segments and Sheyenne River Discharge Structure. State and Federal permits have been obtained for the construction and it is important to get the project started before the permits expire, he said. The Series A agreement is for local cost-share participation associated with a 2017-2019 State biennial funding allocation of $13 million, he said, and Fargo’s share of the local match is $1,115,327.00. The Series B agreement, he said, is for local cost-share participation associated with a 2019-2021 State biennial funding allocation of $7.5 million, subject to a 75-25 cost-share, with Fargo’s share of the local match being $1,447,781.00. Fargo’s share of the local cost-share has been included in the annual Water Utility budget over three budget cycles starting in 2019. Both agreements involve four parties, he said, Garrison Diversion Conservancy District, Lake Agassiz Water Authority (LAWA), the City of Fargo and the City of Grand Forks. He said on behalf of LAWA, Fargo and Grand Forks would agree to cover the local cost share requirements for early construction activities to be ultimately reimbursed by other water users as they allocate for water from the project. He said Fargo includes West Fargo and Cass Rural Water Users District and when coupled with the City of Grand Forks, makes up about 80 percent of the water from this project. Fargo has become a regional provider of water and wastewater services over the past several years, he said. Water supplies in the Red River Valley change, he said, for example, the Red River had little or no flow about 30 years ago and in 2009, there was a record flood. Fargo relies on surface water sources and has permitted appropriations from Lake Ashtabula, the Sheyenne River and the Red River, he said, and some redundancy in the water system is good because it allows switching water sources if needed. In a 1930s type drought, he said, modeling shows the Missouri River as the only reliable source of water supply in the State, it makes up 95% of all the water supplies in North Dakota. Fargo is a good steward of water resources, he said, the average daily water use per person from 1980 to 2010 has seen a decline from 150 to about 120 gallons per person, per day and it has continued to now where it has dipped under 100 gallons per person, per day. He said the national average is about 180 gallons per person, per day. Water demand is categorized into essential use and nonessential use for conservation purposes, he said. The current water supply and drought management plan contains specific measures that would be taken in the event of insufficient water supply or infrastructure limitations on the water systems, he said, and there are four phases to the plan: normal, advisory, warning and emergency and he outlined the drought indicators that would cause changes to the phases. He said the Red River Valley Water Supply Project is the long-term plan and includes an intake on the Missouri River and a water transmission pipeline with a discharge on the Sheyenne above Lake Ashtabula. Both of the agreements before the Board are related to early construction activities, he said, and Fargo has budgeted paying for its share through the Water Utility Fund for three annual budget cycles. He recognized and thanked Merri Mooridian of the Garrison Diversion Conservancy District and who is the Deputy Program Manager of the Red River Valley Water Supply project.

Mayor Mahoney said the money is in the Water Utility Fund and the City is doing the major lift for the project, the smaller users likely do not have the money in their funding right now. He said it is going out for bid and groundbreaking will likely be in the spring. Work is underway with the State for long term bonding, he said, which could make the project move faster, depending on what the Legislature team decides.

In response to a question from Commissioner Piepkorn asking about timing for reimbursements, Mr. Grubb said that is for some of the money now. He said Fargo and Grand Forks account for 80 percent of the water and are taking the lead to get it started and some smaller water systems would reimburse as they commit and allocate.

Commissioner Piepkorn said smaller towns with smaller water systems cannot commit right now; however, this is economic development for them in the future. He said if a town is part of this, there could be a business that wants to locate there and without this, they may not have the option. He said even though Fargo benefits a lot, it would also be a great thing for the smaller water systems down the road.

Commissioner Preston said it is exciting to see this progress, as she was involved in some of the initial conversations in the 1990s.

In response to a question from Commissioner Preston on when the project would be completed, Mr. Grubb said there are several different scenarios mostly based on funding. There are two big projects happening now, he said, flood protection and water supply. A six-year plan is an aggressive schedule for this, he said, and there is a ten-year plan, slowing it down based on the funding availability.

Commissioner Gehrig said it is important being a regional provider and this is an important project and a great value to be investing in now.

Commissioner Strand commented on the fact that in one meeting, both ends of the spectrum of climate needs are being addressed, flooding and drought.

In response to a question from Commissioner Strand asking whether there was an irrigation element as had been originally proposed in the Garrison Diversion project, Mr. Grubb said this is an emergency water supply for drought-proofing purposes. He said there is not an irrigation component unless an irrigator were to nominate to purchase water off the system. The original Garrison Diversion project was a federal project that ran out of money and did not go any further than McClusky, he said. This Red River Valley Water Supply project started as a federal project as well, he said; however, it could not get a funding approval decision nationally, therefore, the State and local water users took it on themselves.

In response to a question from Commissioner Preston asking about the reasons for the diminishing use per capita of water, Mr. Grubb said some say that as the price of water goes up, usage goes down. He said he does feel part of it is people being conservation conscious, implementing measures such as lower use plumbing fixtures.

Commissioner Piepkorn said there used to be unlimited lawn watering and now there are odd-even restrictions on when to water lawns.

Commissioner Piepkorn moved Interim Financing Agreement, Series A, and Interim Financing Agreement, Series B by and between Garrison Diversion Conservancy District, Lake Agassiz Water Authority, City of Fargo and City of Grand Forks be approved as presented.

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

First Reading of an Ordinance Enacting and Establishing a Temporary Moratorium During the State of COVID-19 Emergency Pertaining to the Occupancy of Emergency Shelters in Certain Non-Residential Structures:
Mayor Mahoney said the current COVID-19 pandemic situation has stretched the community and there are a number of shelters committed to providing services to the homeless. The shelters have plans to handle additional people under normal winter conditions, he said; however, the plans currently in place do not account for the need for physical distancing required due to COVID-19. He said he reached out to Planning, Inspections and the Fire departments to help find a path forward in this time of emergency and the plan that came forward was to allow emergency shelters in certain non-residential structures. He said he directed the City Attorney to work with department heads to develop an Ordinance that will allow emergency shelters in certain non-residential structures and the Ordinance has minimum provisions that will need to be in place to allow the occupancy of these structures.

City Attorney Erik Johnson said the shelters in the community are trying to find space and are short on facilities. He said available buildings are not designed nor permitted for residential occupancy, due to building and fire codes. He said the Inspection and Fire Departments looked at the conditions that could be put into place in lieu of the normal requirements for safety for residential occupancy and the proposed moratorium has conditions required that would open up an otherwise unallowable space to be opened as an emergency shelter.

Commissioner Gehrig moved the requirement relating to receipt of the Ordinance by the Commission one week prior to first reading be waived and that the Ordinance Enacting and Establishing a Temporary Moratorium During the State of COVID-19 Emergency Pertaining to the Occupancy of Emergency Shelters in Certain Non-Residential Structures be placed on first reading.

Second by Preston. On call of the roll Commissioners Gehrig, Preston, Piepkorn, Strand 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. Stephen and Alysia Burket, 915 3rd Street North (5 year).
b. Eric and Lori Johnson, 1501 20th Avenue South (5 year).
c. Norman Leslie Investment Properties, 225 30th Avenue North (5 year).
d. Timothy and Melissa Ortez, 2526 Viking Circle South (5 year).
e. Haven Homes LLC, 3121 Edgewood Drive North (5 year).
Commissioner Piepkorn moved the applications be approved.

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

COVID-19 Update:
Fargo Cass Public Health Director Desi Fleming said COVID-19 cases in the State, as well as in Cass County, continue to increase weekly with 1,371 active cases in the County as of today’s count, the highest to date. In October, the average was 146 cases per day, she said, nearly triple the average in September. She said community spread is the leading category for transmission with the highest case numbers in the 20-39 year old age range. There is a concerning trend in spill over into long-term care residents due to their vulnerability, she said. There have been 265 deaths in North Dakota in October alone, bringing total deaths to 540, she said, and 87 were residents of Cass County. She said hospitalizations are high and local health systems are busy maintaining with staffing being the biggest limitation. Cass County continues to receive about 20 percent of the State’s testing allotment, she said, and is testing about 12,000 individuals weekly with targeting testing. She said long-term care testing of staff and residents continues to be a priority. The trends are concerning, she said, especially with colder weather and the holidays approaching.

Commissioner Gehrig shared current stats stating that there have been 7,229 negative tests, 631 people recovered and with a population of 760,000 people, North Dakota has 751,600 who do not have COVID.

Mayor Mahoney said there are concerns about keeping schools open and Fargo Public Schools Superintendent Rupak Gandhi has talked about it being caught through small social groups.

Commissioner Strand commended Mayor Mahoney for his leadership in issuing the mask mandate, which seems to be having a small incremental impact. He said the mayor has talked to the public about being prepared for the next steps going into the next level of critical risk.

In response to a question from Commissioner Strand asking about the next steps, City Attorney Erik Johnson said that during states of emergency as have been declared by the Mayor and the City Commission, both City and State law provides a lot of authority for managing problems such as noncompliance in the number of people in a bar. The law provides authority for managing problems and to make certain demands, he said. One question would be what would be imposed on institutions and organizations creating gatherings that should be avoided, he said, and to what extent that would be limited or events shut down and when to release it again. He said it could depend on the Governor’s color code category; there clearly is authority in the law for a City to create those types of requirements.

Commissioner Gehrig said he is the parent of a school-age child and the real effect of having children go to school part-time or not at all is that they are endangered even more due to situations where they are exposed to more people than they would be otherwise. He said opening up the schools would keep his child safer.

Commissioner Strand said the Red River Valley COVID Task Force exists and is health-related and he would suggest creating a Small Business COVID Task Force due to the fact that some businesses are in dire trouble. There have been warnings about the harsh action of lockdowns or shutdowns, he said, and while there is not one now, things could be aiming toward that. There is an Emergency Resiliency grant coming from the State, he said; however, that takes months to unfold. He said it would be helpful to bring people around the table to discuss the state of small businesses, and even some bigger businesses, and what could be done. He said everyone is concerned about the hospitality, food and entertainment industries that are struggling.

Mayor Mahoney said he has heard from some restaurants that they would not be able to come back if they are closed down again. He said the Commissioners all have received reports of bars and restaurants with large gatherings, particularly this weekend, and he has talked to owners to remind them of what is trying to be accomplished. He wants businesses to survive the pandemic; however, there has to be a balance, he stated.

Commissioner Gehrig moved that the Board adjourn to 5:00 o’clock p.m., Monday, November 16, 2020.

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

The time at adjournment was 6:03 o’clock p.m.