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Board of City Commissioners - November 30, 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 4:30 o'clock p.m., Monday, November 30, 2020.
The Commissioners present or absent were as shown following:
Present: Piepkorn, Strand, Mahoney.
Absent: Gehrig, Preston.
Mayor Mahoney presiding.

Commissioner Piepkorn moved that the Board retire into Executive Session to discuss strategy and to provide negotiating instructions to its negotiator, the Mayor, regarding the Airport Authority’s proposed amendment to the January 14, 2020 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the City and the Airport Authority and regarding other alternative or additional terms for amendment of the MOU, the City Commission’s discussion of such matters, if held in public, would undermine the City’s negotiating position with the Airport Authority with respect to the proposed amendment and, with respect to such other terms the City may wish to consider, such discussion, if held in public, would adversely affect the bargaining position of the City and would have an adverse fiscal effect on the City. This Executive Session being authorized pursuant to N.D.C.C. Section 44-04-19.1(9).
Second by Strand. All the Commissioners present voted aye and the motion was declared carried.

At 4:35 o’clock p.m. the Board moved to the Red River Room to discuss said matters in Executive Session.
Members present were: Piepkorn, Strand, Mahoney, Preston (via conference call), Gehrig (via conference call).

The Executive Session closed at 5:05 o’clock p.m. and the meeting reconvened in public session at 5:09 o’clock p.m.
All Commissioners present.
Mayor Mahoney presiding.

The Mayor read a message with the following information: Construction, plan reviews and inspections continue at a tremendous pace with permit values up 180 percent over 2019 with dwelling units, apartment units and single-family homes all well above last year; Fargo Cass Public Health has served more than 1,500 families through the Nurse Family Partnership program over 20 years; a new Reader’s Advisory Service for children is being rolled out by the Library’s Children’s Services; the Police Department is accepting applications for its 12-week police-training academy scheduled May 17 to August 6, 2021; the PD Community Engagement Team supported the Salvation Army in the distribution of Thanksgiving meal boxes; the Downtown Mercantile building construction moves forward and will provide a location for Downtown officers to work while maintaining a Downtown presence; progress is being made in reshaping the PD culture and enhancing technology; Public Works encourages residents to sign up for Cass Clay Alerts and subscribe to Fargo Streets notifications in the event that Snow Emergency Declarations by the Mayor require removal of vehicles from roadways; and Mayor Mahoney welcomed Tyler Fischbach as the City’s first Community Engagement Manager in the Department of Communications and Governmental Affairs.

Order of Agenda Approved:
Commissioner Piepkorn moved the Order of the Agenda be approved.
Second by Gehrig. All the Commissioners voted aye and the motion was declared carried.

Minutes Approved:
Commissioner Gehrig moved that the Minutes of the Regular Meeting of the Board held on November 16, 2020 be approved as read.
Second by Piepkorn. 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. 2nd reading and final adoption of an Ordinance Amending Section 15-0202 of Article 15-02 of Chapter 15 Relating to the Human Relations Commission; 1st reading, 11/16/20.

2. USDA Wildlife Management Program as presented.

3. Purchase Agreement with DeNae Swalstad in the amount of $350,000.00 for property located at 749 Royal Oaks Drive North (Project No. FM-19-B).

4. Purchase Agreement with Scott C. and Donna M. Seltveit in the amount of $680,000.00 for property located at 906 41st Avenue North (Project
No. FM-19-A).

5. Final Balancing Change Order No. 2 for an increase of $4,665.00 for Project No. SR-20-A1.

6. Amendment (first) to the Master Services Agreements with Terracon Consultants, Inc., Braun Intertec Corporation and Northern Technologies, LLC for Project No. MS-18-A0.

7. Change Order No. 1 for an increase of $40,651.00 for Project No. HD-19-A1.

8. Negative Final Balancing Change Order No. 5 in the amount of -$4,650.70 for Project No. SL-19-A1.

9. 2020 CIP revisions.

10. Construction Roll off Dumpster and Container Policy and associated fees.

11. State Water Commission request for cost reimbursement for FM Metropolitan Area Flood Risk Management Project Costs totaling $36,169,631.64.

12. Resolution Prescribing Forestry Rates effective 1/1/21 (Attachment “A”).

13. Bid award for winter pruning operations to Cougar Tree Care, Inc. in the amount of $103,335.00 for AREA Projects 1-3 and to All-Terrain Grounds Maintenance in the amount of $36,395.00 for RAISE Projects 1-5 (RFP21004).

14. Agreement for Services with the City of West Fargo to provide COVID-19 Back up Fire/EMS Staff.

15. Contract Amendment with Reach Partners, Inc. for an increase of $30,000.00.

16. Resolution Establishing a Moratorium Pertaining to the Time-Limited Parking Zones (Attachment “B”).

17. Purchase of replacement hard plastic backseats for twenty Police Department squads, and purchase and installation of kill switches for all Police Department patrol vehicles.

18. Public Transportation Agency Safety Plan.

19. Sole Source Procurement with New Flyer Industries in the amount of $300,000.00 and Cummins NP in the amount of $200,000.00 for vendor specific parts and service (SSP21015 and SSP21016).

20. Resolution Prescribing Rates and Charges for Wastewater Utility Service (Attachment “C”).

21. Sole Source Procurement with Gartner Refrigeration in the amount of $161,591.00 for a redundant ammonia storage system (SSP20124).

22. Bills in the amount of $14,895,380.58.

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

Change Order No. 4 for Improvement District No. BR-20-C1 Approved:
Commissioner Strand moved Change Order No. 4 for an increase of $23,577.85 for Improvement District No. BR-20-C1 be approved.

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

Permanent Easement (Street and Utility) with Sanford North for Improvement District No. BN-20-L1 Approved:
Commissioner Strand moved a Permanent Easement (Street and Utility) with Sanford North for Improvement District No. BN-20-L1 be approved.

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

Purchase Agreement of Highway Interchange Right-of-Way with Sanford North for Improvement District No. BN-21-L1 Approved:
Commissioner Strand moved a Purchase Agreement of highway interchange right-of-way with Sanford North for Improvement District No. BN-21-L1 be approved.

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

Purchase Agreement and Permanent Easement (Street and Utility) with the Park District of the City of Fargo for Improvement District No. BN-17-C1 Approved:
Commissioner Strand moved a Purchase Agreement and Permanent Easement (Street and Utility) with the Park District of the City of Fargo for Improvement District No. BN-17-C1 be approved.

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

Agreement for Professional Services with Houston Engineering, Inc. for Improvement District No. BN-21-A2 Approved:
Commissioner Strand moved the Agreement for Professional Services with Houston Engineering, Inc. in the amount of $1,174,198.00 for Improvement District No. BN-21-A2 be approved.

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

City of Fargo Concurs with NDDOT for Bid Award of Improvement District No. BN-21-A1:
The Board received a communication from City Engineer Brenda Derrig stating bids were opened by the NDDOT on Friday, November 13, 2020 for the 64th Avenue South project from 33rd Street South to 38th Street South. She said the low bid was from Ames Construction, Inc. in the amount of $14,701,326.88 (Base only) and Option 1 was $76,309.20. She said there are Special Assessments associated with this project and 0.047% protests from three properties have been received; therefore the protests should be declared insufficient. Fargo’s construction cost share of the project is $12,209,784.35, she said.

Commissioner Strand moved to declare protests to be insufficient and to concur with the low bid and recommend the NDDOT award the low bid to Ames Construction, Inc. in the amount of 14,701,326.88 Base Bid plus $76,309.20 Option No. 1 for Improvement District No. BN-21-A1.

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

Resident Comments:
Lori Cline (via conference call), Julie Anderson (via conference call) and Glenn Knudson spoke to the Commissioners urging more response in light of the global COVID-19 pandemic. They talked about its surge and the negative impacts on the population and hospitals, including mental health and economic issues.

At 5:23 o’clock p.m. the Board took a five-minute recess.
After recess: All Commissioners present. Mayor Mahoney presiding.

Hearing on a Dangerous Building Located at 1714 5th Avenue South: City Attorney's Office Directed to Prepare the Appropriate Findings of Fact and Order:
A Hearing had been set for this day and hour on a dangerous building located at 1714 5th Avenue South.

Inspections Director Bruce Taralson said this case differs from previous cases as the owner has passed away and extra time has been allowed to find heirs; however, none have been found. He said the property was brought forward by Cass County Social Services in January due to hoarding issues and the condition of the home. Weeks later, he said, while awaiting permission from the owner to inspect the home for possible rehab, the next communication received was that the owner had passed away. He said the property meets seven of the ten criteria to be considered a dangerous building and all required notifications and postings have been provided. Due to no available owner, he said, the Inspections Department secured the exterior of the house on March 16, 2020 and decided to take the current action. It is the opinion of the Inspections Department that the house cannot be repaired or salvaged, he said, and the foundation is not structurally sound. He said due to no available owner, Cass County will monitor the property for tax payments. He said the City’s expenses incurred will be assessed in 2021, and in 2022 the County will take possession and look for the City to take possession after which it could be available as a redevelopment project.

In response to a question from Commissioner Gehrig asking how the assessments against the property are paid, Mr. Taralson said likely they will be worked back into the valuation of the property.

Commissioner Piepkorn moved the City Attorney’s Office be directed to prepare and serve the owner with the appropriate Findings of Fact and Order and order its removal before January 25, 2021, and the Inspections Department be authorized to solicit proposals for the removal of this structure if it is not removed within the time allowed by the Board’s order.

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.

Growth Plan Amendment in Eagle Valley Addition Referred Back to the Planning Commission for a Possible Compromise:
A Hearing had been set for this day and hour to consider approval of a Growth Plan Amendment on Lots 1 and 2, Block 7, Eagle Valley Addition.
No written protest or objection to the amendment to the Plan has been received or filed in the Planning and Development Department.
The Board determined that no person is present to protest or offer objection to the Growth Plan amendment.

Current Planning Coordinator Donald Kress said at the November 3, 2020 Planning Commission Hearing, the Fargo Planning Commission recommended denial of the Amendment to the Growth Plan as the proposal does not comply with the GO2030 Fargo Comprehensive Plan, 2007 Growth Plan and Standards of Section 20-0905(H) of the LDC. The applicant proposes to change the land use designation from low to medium density residential, he said, and the staff report contains numerous citations that talk about why low density residential designation would not be appropriate for this location, both from the 2007 Growth Plan and the GO2030 Plan. The commercial land use is appropriate, due to the location being at the corner of two arterials, he said, and is one of the few available commercial properties in a heavily residential three-mile square area. He pointed out the Growth Plan is a long-term view for a 20-50 year horizon, this being in Tier 1, the 20-year horizon from 2007, with a goal of creating community where things are integrated. He said if plans are allowed to be chipped away, there is a different result to the Growth Plan. The area lacks retail locations, he said, and part of the plan is to have an area where services are relatively convenient so staff recommended denial and the Planning Commission concurred with a vote of 6-2.

Jon Youness, Eagle Ridge Development, said the proposal is to develop up to 43 new affordable single-family lots in this portion of town. He said this would be the final phase of development there and once the Growth Plan is approved, he will be working with staff on platting and zoning for the proposed project to bring back to the Board. It is difficult to bring truly affordable single-family home ownership opportunities, he said, with things such as specials, increasing costs of land and construction fighting against developers. Homes priced between $200,000.00 and $250,000.00 are difficult to fit with new construction, he said, and cannot be done with larger lots.

Commissioner Piepkorn said he sees the location as challenging due to the busy arterial street by 76th Avenue; however, to have houses right across the street from the high school could make them desirable. He said it looks like the type of residential development that is already there and he would rather have houses than commercial development around a school.

Planning Director Nicole Crutchfield said looking at a larger context, the 76th Avenue area will likely include an interchange and it is expected the south side will be the largest commercial corridor. She said it would be concerning to start chipping away at it and it almost ranks as a higher priority than housing next to the high school. She said with 25th Street and 76th Avenue being a future five-lane arterial roadway, the concern is the land use in relationship with the corridor. She said while that may work in some cases, further study would be needed if that is the desired direction.

Commissioner Gehrig said the mix of priorities differs between forcing the market versus what the market says it wants and the market is saying this is a very popular area around a big school where people want to live. He said the grocery stores and other retail are not a tremendous distance away. The developer is not going to put money in and build it if it is not going to be developed, he said, and a need for a stock of affordable quality homes exists in the $200-$250,000.00 range, rather than more apartments. He said if he were an owner of a new home to the north, he would not appreciate having a strip mall put in his back yard. He said he hopes the developer is allowed to do what they see fit and meet what the market is demanding rather having mixed priorities forced on them and then watch it sit empty until the road is actually developed.

Ms. Crutchfield said they are looking at the 20 to 50-year plan recognizing market priorities of today may be different from the land use patterns being recommended to be successful for 20 to 30 years into the future. If the concern is the inventory for $250,000.00 houses, she said, she could come back and show the inventory on the books in that price range. Her perspective from the communication from the developer, she said, is that he wants to flip the land. She said while it is okay to flip the land, her concern is the future value for the people who live there for commercial access that will better their lives and neighborhood.

Commissioner Gehrig said in the meantime, someone is paying taxes. He said there is a holding cost to the land and as the area grows there will be special assessments. He said his fear is that it will be apartments or a strip mall. He said he is not saying the plan is bad; however, in the real world someone has this property now and can give needed family homes. He said if it waits, this could switch hands and perhaps someday it will be a giant, probably incentivized, apartment building.

Mr. Youness said they do not have a single lot available where someone could buy it right now and build a house in the $200-$250,000.00 price range. The amount of activity in that area within the last five to six years has been astonishing, he said. He suspects there may only be a couple of lots in all of Fargo where there is that opportunity, he said.
Commissioner Preston said this goes back to predictability for developers and neighborhoods. She said this been in the Growth Plan to be commercial and the Growth Plan is the vision.

Commissioner Gehrig said he is sensitive to the predictability aspect; however, for example, in north Fargo there was a recent development of a church and 96-unit, 5-story apartment building in the middle of a neighborhood that has been there forever. He said that was not in the plans of someone who has been living there for thirty years. Plans have to be adjusted to what the market shows, he said, and in the Roosevelt Neighborhood there was a need for more apartments and faith-based housing for students. Plans change and things have to adjust to what is being seen, he stated, and if the City is too rigid there will be more people living in apartments and less people living in houses.

Commissioner Preston moved to concur with the Planning Commission’s recommendation to the Growth Plan Amendment on Lots 1 and 2, Block 7, Eagle Valley Addition.
The motion died for lack of a second.

In response to a question from Commissioner Strand asking if there could be a compromise to get affordable housing and some commercial development, Ms. Crutchfield said staff has offered options that could be looked at. There is an ROI study about three or four months out, she said, and staff would need more time to analyze it. She said the developer has a plan they would like to implement.

Mr. Youness said this is a case where they do not believe long-term commercial makes sense considering the parks there and location of the school. Whether it is now or 10 years from now, having those amenities are better for a neighborhood, he said.

In response to a question from Mayor Mahoney asking whether the area across 76th Avenue is commercial or residential, Ms. Crutchfield said that is not in City limits and likely that would have to wait until after the Diversion is built.

Mr. Kress said all four corners in that area are designated to be commercial.

Commissioner Preston said this intersection could be compared to 25th Street and 32nd Avenue where residential comes up against commercial; however, there is commercial on all four corners.

In response to a question from Commissioner Strand asking how it could be assured that this will not end up being apartments, Ms. Crutchfield said there could be apartments there even with a Growth Plan change. As far as extra-territorial regulations management and future development across 76th Avenue, she said, that would need to be annexed, platted and zoned in order to be developed. Plans on the books are for commercial development across from this and the plans for the heavy arterial road are already put in place, she stated.

Mr. Youness said this request would actually down-zone it to low density residential and, if approved, Eagle Ridge Development will be bringing a zoning change request and plat showing single-family lots.

Commissioner Gehrig moved the Growth Plan Amendment on Lots 1 and 2, Block 7, Eagle Valley Addition be approved.

Second by Piepkorn. On call of the roll Commissioners Gehrig and Piepkorn voted aye.
Commissioners Preston, Strand and Mahoney voted nay.
The motion failed for the lack of a majority.

In response to a question from Mayor Mahoney asking if action is needed, City Attorney Erik Johnson said generally speaking zoning matters require some action one way or another. He said this can be a challenge due to fact that the Board is not able to get a majority on a decision but it would be preferred. He said there may be more latitude with respect to a Growth Plan Amendment; however, a stalemate means things stay as they are.

Commissioner Preston moved to concur with the Planning Commission’s recommendation to the Growth Plan Amendment on Lots 1 and 2, Block 7, Eagle Valley Addition.
The motion died for lack of a second.

Commissioner Strand said he would like to see this go back to the table to see if there can be a compromise.

Commissioner Piepkorn moved that the Growth Plan Amendment on Lots 1 and 2, Block 7, Eagle Valley Addition be referred back to the Planning Commission for a possible compromise.

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

Resolution Adopted Approving the Name Change Plat for Robins Lane South Between 66th Avenue and Selkirk Drive South Located Between Block 2 and Block 3 Selkirk Place First Addition to be Renamed Archer Place South (3104-3237 Robins Lane South):
A Hearing had been set for this day and hour to consider approval or denial of an application requesting a Name Change Plat for Robins Lane South between 66th Avenue and Selkirk Drive South, located between Block 2 and Block 3, Selkirk Place First Addition, to be renamed Archer Place South.

Current Planning Coordinator Donald Kress said the name change plat changes the name of the street, not the plat. He said the developer made the request.

Commissioner Gehrig offered the following Resolution and moved its adoption:
BE IT RESOLVED BY THE BOARD OF CITY COMMISSIONERS OF THE
CITY OF FARGO:
WHEREAS, The name of Robins Lane South, located in the City of Fargo within the Selkirk Place First Addition, shall be renamed and hereinafter designated and in the future shall be known by said designated name "Archer Place South;” and
WHEREAS, A Hearing was held November 3, 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 November 18 and 25, 2020 that a Hearing would be held in the Commission Chambers, City Hall, Fargo, North Dakota at 5:15 p.m., November 30, 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 "Name Change Plat" 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 Strand. On the vote being taken on the question of the adoption of the Resolution Commissioners Gehrig, Strand, Piepkorn, Preston and Mahoney voted aye.
No Commissioner being absent and none voting nay, the Resolution was adopted.

Development Plan for Tax Increment Financing District No. 2020-01 Approved (505 Oak Street North):
The Board received a communication from Strategic Planning Director Jim Gilmour stating staff has completed work on a Renewal Plan for redevelopment of a site southeast of 6th Avenue North and Oak Street. He said the project would demolish existing residential buildings and construct 117 apartments and 14 condominiums with work beginning in the spring and completed in 2022 or 2023. He said the developer is requesting $4,100,000.00 in Tax Increment Financing (TIF) fees paid to the City and interest on TIF costs. He said the TIF eligible costs are for land acquisition, demolition, removal of fill/debris and public facility costs, including a flood protection levee. The estimated annual TIF revenue is $282,000.00 per year, he said, and the maximum length of the TIF term would be 15 years after project completion. He said the City’s Financial Adviser, PFM, reviewed the project and concluded that “based on the internal rate of return and the coverage requirements, the project would not be feasible without public assistance” and “the developer will bear all the risk involved with the project.” PFM estimates that based on the value of the project and the current property tax rate, the present value of the TIF revenue will be $3.5 million, he said. Cass County opted not to participate in the TIF after the first five years, he said, and this would have made the project unfeasible; therefore, the City of Fargo Finance Committee is recommending that the City of Fargo provide $625,000.00 in sales tax funds to replace the funds that Cass County will retain from the potential TIF revenue. He said another important part to the project financing is Renaissance Zone approval of State income tax exemptions for the purchases of the condominiums. That application has been submitted but has not been reviewed by the Renaissance Zone Authority, he said.

Austin Morris, Enclave Development, said he is excited about the project. He said the levee project, collaboration with the neighborhood and the challenges of the site were presented to the Board this summer.

Commissioner Gehrig said it is fantastic this will be developed; however, it has been said incentivizing apartments will be discontinued then here it is again. Above and beyond the incentive, he said, the City is giving $625,000.00 for a wall. Land acquisition is the worst use for a TIF incentive, he said, and what he is hearing is that the developer overpaid for the land so now they do not want to pay taxes for twenty years.

Mayor Mahoney said the project was not going to go forward due to Cass County not supporting a full TIF, so the City staff worked on ways to make it happen.

Commissioner Preston said the history indicates it is a tough property to develop and she feels it is appropriate for the kind of incentives proposed.

Commissioner Piepkorn said the area around Oak Grove lost a tremendous amount of houses because of flood protection. He said it would be necessary for temporary levees to be constructed if the flood protection part of this project is not included. He said it is a legitimate cost and if the City does not help, this area will remain the same for a long time.

In response to a question from Commissioner Strand asking who is responsible for flood protection there, City Engineer Brenda Derrig said this is not in the overall flood protection. The Diversion Authority is taking over the flood protection associated once the FM Area Diversion is operational, she said, and at this time there is a levee there. She said a connection point is made at the railroad tracks and all on railroad property which is why the responsibility falls back on the City if there is more done than what is there today.

Mayor Mahoney said this area would not be bad if there were a 100-year flood; however, in a 500-year event, trucks would have to come in and put in a temporary clay dike. If a levee is built now, he said, such temporary measures will not be needed.

Commissioner Piepkorn said there are severe subsoil issues there, which will be addressed with a permanent levee, which is a legitimate part of flood protection.

Ms. Derrig said this would bring the levee back west towards the street, which eliminates the need for the temporary plug-in on the railroad property.

In response to a question from Commissioner Strand asking why Cass County reduced its support to five years, Mr. Gilmour said he understands there was some concern on the rate of return. He said the answer from the financial adviser on whether he thought the developers would still proceed if they were offered less, his answer was “this is risky.” He said there is not a proven market for the condo sales and if the condos are not sold in a year or two, they could end up losing money.

Mayor Mahoney said the County Commissioner who was recently replaced firmly believed in only five years of support, so as was their tendency, that is where the Cass County Commission went. He believes the new Commissioner understands TIFs are valuable to the community, he said, and they will look at those closely.

Commissioner Piepkorn offered the following Resolution and moved its adoption:
WHEREAS, Certain areas within the City are in need of redevelopment in order to prevent further deterioration, to encourage investment and to preserve property values; and
WHEREAS, The Board of City Commissioners desires to avail itself of the power and authority granted by Chapter 40-58 NDCC.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, By the Board of City Commissioners as follows:
1. That one or more slum or blighted areas, or areas consisting of industrial or commercial property, or a combination of those areas of properties, exist in the City of Fargo.
2. That the development, rehabilitation, conservation or redevelopment, or a combination thereof, of the area contained within the Renewal Plan for Tax Increment Financing District No. 2020-01, is necessary in the interest of public health, safety, morals or welfare of the residents of the City of Fargo and will afford maximum opportunity, consistent with the sound needs of the City as a whole, for the rehabilitation or redevelopment of the development area by private enterprise.
3. That there are buildings within the area contained within the Renewal Plan with deteriorated conditions, and other soil conditions existing that discourage redevelopment. The Renewal Area, as defined in the Renewal Plan, is blighted due to the presence of these buildings and deteriorated conditions have substantially impaired the growth of the City, and have slowed the provision of appropriate redevelopment in this area. As a result, the Board of City Commissioners finds that a blighted condition exists in the said area.
4. That the area designated as the Renewal Plan for Tax Increment Financing District No. 2020-01 is appropriate for a development project.
5. That such development, rehabilitation, conservation or redevelopment of the area contained in the Renewal Plan for Tax Increment Financing District
No. 2020-01 requires the powers and authority granted in Chapter 40-58 NDCC.
6. That the Renewal Plan for Tax Increment Financing District No. 2020-01 is hereby officially adopted by the Board.
7. That a Developer Agreement be prepared in regard to the Tax Increment Financing.
8. That the appropriate staff be directed to request the County Auditor and Treasurer to compute, certify and remit tax increments resulting from the development or renewal of the area in accordance with the plan and any modifications thereof, and that the County Auditor and Treasurer shall do so in accordance with this section.

Second by Preston. On the vote being taken on the question of the adoption of the Resolution Commissioners Piepkorn, Preston and Mahoney voted aye.
Commissioners Strand and Gehrig voted nay.
The Resolution was adopted.

At 6:20 p.m. the Board took a five-minute recess.
After recess: All Commissioners present. Mayor Mahoney presiding.

Amendment to the Memorandum of Understanding with the Fargo Municipal Airport Authority to Extend the Deadline for Notice of Termination Received and Filed:
The Board received a communication from City Attorney Erik Johnson stating approval is being sought for an amendment to the January 14, 2020 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the City of Fargo and the Municipal Airport Authority. He said Mayor Mahoney and Commissioner Strand have been working on the matter since entering into the mediation with the Airport that resulted in the January 14th MOU. The proposed amendment would provide a one-year extension to the July 1, 2020 deadline for each party--the City and the Airport Authority--to give notice to the other of an intention to terminate the MOU, and if such notice were delivered to the other party, then the MOU would terminate December 31, 2021. He said at its August 25, 2020 meeting the Airport Authority approved a July 1, 2020 deadline be extended by one year to July 1, 2021. He said the City and the Airport Authority continue to work through discussion items identified in the MOU and additional time is needed for discussion to continue. Regardless of the one-year extension, he said, the MOU is terminable by any party at the end of the calendar year upon one-year’s advance notice to the other party.

Commissioner Gehrig said he has not had an opportunity to do so yet; however, he intends to meet with Airport Executive Director Shawn Dobberstein on issues that pertain to this.

Commissioner Strand moved the Amendment to the Memorandum of Understanding with the Fargo Municipal Airport Authority extending the July 1, 2020 deadline for Notice of Termination of the MOU to July 1, 2021 be received and filed.

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

COVID-19 Updates:
Fargo Cass Public Health Director Desi Fleming shared the status on COVID-19 numbers, which are beginning to taper. Active cases in Cass County now are 1,166 with a decline in the 14-day rolling average percent positivity rate, she said. Hospitalizations have been steady and staffing remains tight, she said, and some different testing platforms are being utilized. There have been 41 deaths in Cass County in November, she said, and total deaths for the County is at 126 with 927 total deaths within the State.

• Enforcement of COVID-19 and Mask Requirements:
Police Chief David Zibolski said the focus has been on education, looking for voluntary response for compliance. There has been excellent response since the Emergency Order on November 16th he said, with six calls for service and 45 compliance checks have been conducted on licensed premises with only five instances, three involving masks and two regarding capacity.

• Post-December 31, 2020 funding plan to support vaccine distribution and continued pandemic emergency operations:
Assistant City Administrator Michael Redlinger and Finance Director Kent Costin summarized resources from agencies providing federal and state support.

Mr. Costin said there have been 15 grant awards from 10 different grant agencies totaling $56.3 million, $21.6 of that for the Airport. A 2-year change in the cost share for Transit at the Federal level makes it possible to spend more on COVID-19 costs, he said, and the State funded approximately $15 million from the CARES Act to reimburse for Police-related expenses, and Fargo Cass Public Health was appropriated about $9.2 million for COVID-related costs. He said the grants from the State expire at end of the year and approximately 80-85% of the funds will have been expended.

Mayor Mahoney said he has requested research for the budget for the first quarter of 2021 on costs for Public Health issues and related pandemic emergency operations for a possible mid-year adjustment.

• Report on economic impact of the pandemic on bar/restaurant/retail industry:
Director of Strategic Planning Jim Gilmour said there have been significant impacts to hospitality, restaurants and retail establishments. He said the Fargo EDC and Chamber have been communicating with local businesses to make sure they are aware of federal and state resources. He said there are 5,000 less people employed in Cass and Clay Counties than a year ago, and there was a drop of 13,000 jobs in the month of March 2020 to April 2020. Revenue has dropped in hotels 42%, he said, and looking at license renewals in the hospitality industry there has been about thirty closures, higher than usual.

Mr. Redlinger said homework and data collection is important to understand what is happening, why and the duration and if the intent is to provide more relief than the federal or state government.

Commissioner Piepkorn said he and Commission Gehrig have talked that there may be ways to help the businesses such as possibly waiving or rebating liquor license fees, the City’s portion of property tax or late fees and interest on utility bills. While these may not be huge numbers, he said, it is important symbolically to step up and do something to help businesses. He said bars and restaurants could all be eligible for this.

In response to a question from Commissioner Preston asking the number of businesses that have accessed programs such as PPP or ERG, Mr. Gilmour said the EDC is tracking some of that. He said he senses the people with strong relationships with bankers may have had easier access to the programs as compared to smaller businesses that are less sophisticated.

Commissioner Piepkorn moved to direct staff to research and identify ways to help bars and restaurants impacted by the pandemic.
Second by Gehrig.

Commissioner Preston said those small businesses that are falling through the cracks should be a focus. At this point, staff is being asked for recommendations and she feels it best to keep it broad.

Commissioner Piepkorn said bars are intentionally being singled out and required to limit occupancy and told when to close, which changes the text compared to other businesses. If this can be done well it will be successful, he said, and then it can be expanded. If it gets too broad to begin with, nothing will get done, he said.

Commissioner Strand said he is on board; however, would recommend not being too narrow in who qualifies. He said he has concerns about what is coming, there has been assistance in many ways yet people are still in trouble. He said there are many spin-off businesses tied to the bar and restaurant community that are in just as much trouble. Time is of the essence, he said, and it should be inclusive.

Commissioner Gehrig said this is not precluding looking at a broader scale. The reason he and Commissioner Piepkorn discussed not charging liquor licenses is that some are being charged $10,000.00 to hold a liquor license when they are not in business right now. He particularly wants to know the effect on the budget, he said.

Commissioner Piepkorn said this will take staff some time and if the task is too large it will become overwhelming.

Commissioner Preston said there likely will not be time to go back and pick up additional businesses that may be struggling; therefore, she would like to see retail or other ancillary businesses included.

Commissioner Preston moved to amend the motion to include retail and other ancillary businesses that would be impacted by the pandemic.

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

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

• COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Plan:
Fargo Cass Public Health Director of Nursing Suzanne Schaefer said information changes daily and adjustments are being made as needed. She outlined possible release dates for vaccines coming out from Moderna and Pfizer under emergency use and expected allocations. The initial allocations of vaccine dosages coming out are not huge, she said, so it is important to come up with priority groups. It is expected health care workers and long-term care workers will be in the initial group, she said, so there are a lot of people to get through before the community phase of vaccination. She said the Pfizer vaccine is expected first and it has some considerations with storage and handling. The efficacy with both doses of that vaccine are 95 percent, she said. Moderna storage and handling has more forgiveness, she said, and it is also a two-part dosage with about 94.1 efficacy rate. More candidates are expected in the first quarter of 2021, she said and they are working locally with health care providers, some will handle vaccines on their own and others are developing partnerships with local pharmacies in a federal program. In order to obtain herd immunity in North Dakota, the goal and need would be that 70% of the eligible population be vaccinated, she said and education is an important component.

Mayor Mahoney said it is fantastic to hear a vaccine is finally coming.

Ms. Fleming said some of her staff have been personally impacted and for the most part have kept the mission going even while being short staffed and with long work hours. She said it is important to stay the course and continue mitigation, as well as encourage vaccination when that comes.

Acceptance of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG-CV) Round 3 Allocation from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development Approved:
The Board received a communication from Planning Director Nicole Crutchfield and Community Development Planning Coordinator Tia Braseth stating the City has received a special allocation from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to be used to prevent, prepare for and respond to the coronavirus (COVID-19). They said the allocation was authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) to respond to the growing effects of this historic public health crisis. Fargo will receive $580,116.00 in the form of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG-CV) Round 3 funds, they said. This award coupled with the previously awarded CDBG-CV Round 1 funds of $464,253.00 total $1,044,369.00 in funding made available to support activities like providing assistance to the homeless, low and moderate income and special needs populations..

Commissioner Gehrig moved the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG-CV) Round 3 allocation from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development be accepted.

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

2023-2025 Federal Aid Project Priorities Approved:
The Board received a communication from the Public Works Projects Evaluation Committee (PWPEC) stating the following projects have been identified by staff for submittal for the Urban Grant, Urban Road and Urban Regional Programs:

Urban Grant Program (for Downtown only) - 2023
2nd Street Pedestrian Bridge adjacent to City Hall. Estimated Project Cost $3,400,000.00.

Urban Road Program - 2025
Priority #1 - Pedestrian Bridge over Red River at 40th Avenue. Estimated Project Cost $2,000,000.00.
Priority #2 - Striping Citywide. Estimated Project Cost $1,200,000.00.
Priority #3 - 17th Avenue South Reconstruction - 38th Street to 42nd Street South Estimated Project Cost $4,000,000.00.
Priority #4 - 25th Street Mill & Overlay - 32nd Avenue South to the Rose Creek Bridge. Estimated Project Cost $1,200,000.00.
Priority #5 - Concrete Pavement Rehabilitation (Spot Repair) 3 Corridors.
45th Street - 16th Avenue North to 32nd Avenue South.
Main Avenue - 25th Street to 45th Street.
7th Avenue North - 25th Street to 1-29. Estimated Project Cost $1,900,000.00.

Transportation Alternatives Program - 2023 and 2024
Priority #1 - Drain 27 - 52nd Avenue South to 53rd Avenue South and into Deer Creek Subdivision. Estimated Project Cost $540,000.00.
Priority #2 - Bison Village area – 10th Street alignment - 32nd Avenue N to 37th Avenue North. Estimated Project Cost $210,000.00.
Priority #3 - Drain 53 - 54th Avenue South to 73rd Avenue South. Estimated Project Costs $310,000.00.

Urban Regional Program – None

Transportation Division Engineer Jeremy Gorden shared a PowerPoint presentation of the road and pedestrian projects already receiving federal aid and those being applied for. He said the Urban Grant Program is specific for Downtown areas and the Urban Road Program is broader and has five projects proposed. One is the 40th Avenue South Pedestrian Bridge over the Red River, which is a very desirable project for a very tall, long bridge that will not be flooded, he said, and the cost will be split with Moorhead. He said the cost of the five urban roads projects is about $8 million with the ask for the pedestrian bridge being $2.7 million and the max for the shared use projects is $290,000.00 per project.

In response to a question from Mayor Mahoney asking whether the bike path on the River Drive will be inside or outside of the dike, Mr. Gorden said it would be on the wet side. He said there is a decent shelf at the base of the levee.

Commissioner Piepkorn moved the recommended prioritized project submittals for 2023-2025 Federal Aid be approved.

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

Proposed 4-year Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) and Comprehensive 2021 CIP Received and Filed:
City Engineer Brenda Derrig presented the 2021 Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) Report and proposed 4-year CIP and said she would like the City Commission to receive and file the report, allowing the next two weeks to answer any remaining questions and make any necessary adjustments and then come back at the next meeting with a request for approval.

Commissioner Gehrig said the CIP is in-depth every year and as he understands it, it is not set in stone; therefore, if a Commissioner has concerns they can be discussed. He said it might be more valuable to talk one on one.

Ms. Derrig said she is willing to meet with Commissioners individually.

Commissioner Strand said in the past, aspects of the CIP have sparked discussions on special assessments and he asked Ms. Derrig for an overview of how things have changed.

Ms. Derrig said originally there was a 50-50 special assessment policy and then resorted back to a 2013 policy. She said those values are included in the improved policy that exists today; however, of that, further reduction is dependent on whether all the Prairie Dog funds are received. She said some projects are being pushed out due to the reduction in rates due to going back to 2013 values. Efforts are being made to stay within the amount that comes in from sales tax, she said. Pavement management is a concern, she said, and that will be looked at closely next year.

Mayor Mahoney said things have been cut back due to COVID, funding and the Prairie Dog not being funded in full, as well as other issues.

In response to a question from Mayor Mahoney asking about the amount planned for the CIP, Ms. Derrig said the original 2020 CIP, without new development, alley and flood, was around $62 million and was then reduced to about $41 million. She said there was nearly $23.5 million in new development requests in 2020 and a large number of new development infrastructure requests have already been received for next year. She said the proposal will be available online and she will follow-up with the Commissioners.

Commissioner Gehrig moved the proposed 4-year Capital Improvement Plan and Comprehensive 2021 CIP be received and filed.

Second by Piepkorn. On call of the roll Commissioners Gehrig, Piepkorn, Strand, Preston 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. Steven and Jan Visby, 46 Fremont Drive South (3 year).
b. Jenna R. Gage, 1625 16 1/2 Street South (5 year).
Commissioner Piepkorn moved the applications be approved.

Second by Gehrig. On call of the roll Commissioners Piepkorn, Gehrig, Strand, Preston 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, December 14, 2020.

Second by Piepkorn. All the Commissioners voted aye and the motion was declared carried.
The time at adjournment was 7:30 o’clock p.m.