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Fargo City Commission Meeting Wrap-Up - 02.22.2021

In case you missed the February 22, 2021 Fargo City Commission meeting, here are a few highlights we’d like you to know about (for archived meeting recaps, see the table at the bottom of this page):

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Warning Siren

City Commits to Installing New Warning Sirens to Continue Safeguarding Fargo

The City of Fargo’s Emergency Management department is completing a multi-year project consisting of the addition of new outdoor warning sirens in Fargo and replacing outdated sirens and equipment. When these final two high power, directional rotating sirens are installed to replace their predecessors, Fargo will have a total of 37 sirens operating on a single system. This strategy optimizes control and monitoring capabilities for the department.

“With these newest sirens installed, we will be prepared for years to come for any city-wide emergency that has the potential to be life threatening,” said Emergency Services Coordinator Leon Schlafmann. “When people hear these, whether they are at the park, in their yard, or doing anything outside, we want them to go inside and tune into local media to learn about whatever the situation might be.”

The City of Fargo regularly tests sirens on the first Wednesday of the month at 1 p.m. During scheduled siren tests, no actions are necessary for citizens.

The City also encourages residents to sign up for Cass Clay Alerts to be notified when any important or emergency situations arise. This system enables us to provide you with critical information quickly in a variety of situations, such as severe weather, unexpected road closures, missing persons and evacuations of buildings or neighborhoods within Cass County, ND and Clay County, MN.

The Fargo City Commission voted 5 – 0 to approve the installation of the remaining two sirens in the 2021 Siren Project.

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Road Repair

Fargo Public Works Department Approved to Stock Up on Pothole Patching Materials

The Public Works Department has received several proposals for aggregate materials, concrete, asphalt and emulsified asphalt and will be awarding those bids. Every year, Public Works devises an asphalt plan for future street repairs and other upcoming asphalt needs for The City, which enables the department to secure accurate and competitive pricing on bids for these specific materials.

These materials will be used in the spring and summer to repair roadways in Fargo. “We will be repairing pot holes when the weather allows, and we are ready to go,” said Public Works Services Manager Paul Fiechtner. The department will also be recycling existing asphalt which is accomplished by heating up used asphalt millings, melting it and using that to patch potholes. The City as also recently invested in Hot Patch insert technology that keeps these patching materials at an optimum temperature, prolonging the life of the hot mix throughout the work day and allowing crews to patch holes before local plants open for the season. The heated mix also better forms to the shape of a pothole, sealing and protecting it from unwanted moisture.

During the early spring, asphalt goes through freeze and thaw cycles. Warm days melt the snow which allows liquid water to seep into existing cracks, then when the temperature drops, that water freezes and expands resulting in further cracking or pothole development. The Public Works department works diligently to repair these areas to maintain not only safe roadways, but to minimize wear and tear on our residents’ vehicles.

The City of Fargo encourages residents to utilize FargoOne to report streets or sidewalks in need of repair. These submissions go directly to Public Works staff and allow for the most efficient way for Team Fargo to serve our residents.

The Fargo City Commission voted 5-0 to award the lowest bids for aggregate materials, concrete, asphalt and emulsified asphalt.

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Electric Vehicle Charging Station

City Embraces Sustainability with Approval of Electric Vehicle Charging Station at City Hall

The City of Fargo applied for and will receive nearly 100% funding for an electric vehicle (EV) charging point to be installed in the City Hall west parking lot. This funding comes from an Environmental Mitigation Trust Fund that was established to fund a variety of diesel emission reduction projects across the United States. Approximately $8,125,000 has been allocated to North Dakota for such projects, which are outlined by the North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality.

"We are excited for the opportunity to be able to provide and install an EV Charging Station at City Hall," said Superior Electric General Manager Anthony Schutz. "Electric cars and their popularity along with their ability and performance are growing at a fast rate, and we believe the addition of this EV Charging Station is only the beginning of many more to come to our area."

In February 2021, Fargo Public Works requested bids for the construction of the charging station, and has now awarded the EV Dual Charging Station project to Superior Electric at the cost of $98,548.00, of which $88,453.40 is covered by Environmental Mitigation Trust Fund dollars. This project represents The City of Fargo’s commitment to increasing climate resiliency, renewable energy, emissions reductions, energy efficiency and environmental stewardship in City operations and facilities, all while providing additional functionality to residents.

The Fargo City Commission voted 5-0 to approve construction of the new EV Dual Charging Station.

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Fargo Fire Department

Fargo Fire Department Awarded Grant for New Equipment and Training

The Fargo Fire Department has been awarded a grant in the amount of $163,825 for the purchase of Regional Response Equipment and Training. These are federal funds from the ND Department of Emergency Services Division of Homeland Security, and can be used for eligible training opportunities, equipment replacement, technology improvements and more. Here are some items the Fargo Fire Department will be purchasing with the grant award:

Acoustic Listening Equipment – To be used by technical rescue team to search for victims in the event of a building collapse.
Technical Rescue Structural Collapse Training – The fire department will be sending three personnel to Disaster City at Texas A&M University to attain Structural Collapse Rescue Technician certification.
Raman Spectroscopy Meter – Used by department Hazardous Materials Technicians to identify unknown substances. This is a mobile unit that can be taken to the source without needing to make contact with or take a sample of the unidentified substance.

The purchases that are made possible through this grant not only benefit the Fargo Fire Department and Fargo residents, but better equip our entire region for emergency responses. The Fargo Fire Department is an Insurance Services Office (ISO) Public Protection Class 1 fire department which represents superior property fire protection. By classifying communities' ability to suppress fires on this scale of 1 -10 (1 being the best score possible), ISO helps communities evaluate their public fire-protection services. Communities with better Public Protection Classifications are rewarded with incentives for their firefighting services and are able to secure lower fire insurance premiums.

The Fargo City Commission voted 5-0 to accept the grant award from the ND Department of Emergency Services.

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Forestry Services

Commission Invests in Maintenance and Preservation of Trees in Fargo's Neighborhoods

With a continuously growing street tree population, currently just over 58,000, the City of Fargo Forestry Division annually utilizes contracted tree service professionals to help support tree maintenance, planting, insect and disease management, and maintain the landscaped medians throughout our community.

Trees not only look great and make our neighborhoods livable, but mature healthy trees also provide benefits and services. Energy savings, storm water mitigation, air quality, carbon dioxide sequestration, and property value. A forestry rate and growth analysis completed in 2018, and comparing tree species and sizes from a similar community, indicated that for every $1 Fargo invests annually, it receives $2.57 in benefits. 2021 Bids have been awarded for tree and stump removal, landscape maintenance services, tree injection and brush chipping.

The residential curbside brush chipping program helps keep branches and debris out of the landfill, while at the same time generating a usable product. Approximately 900 tons of woodchips are produced annually. The program runs May 1 through October 30, and coincides with the recycling day. All wood must be 10 inches in diameter or less. Stumps and roots are not collected. Additional guidelines do apply, so please call the Forestry Division at 701.241.1465.

The Fargo City Commission voted 5-0 to approve bid awards for 2021 contracted forestry services.

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Sustainability & Resiliency Committee

Public Representatives Appointed to New Sustainability and Resiliency Committee

Applications for the Sustainability and Resiliency Committee have been reviewed and three applicants are being recommended to serve as public at-large members on the Committee.

Casey Steele, a small business owner in Fargo, has had past involvement with developing Core Neighborhoods Master Plan as well as the pilot phase of the boulevard garden project. "I love Fargo, and though my entrepreneurial spirit took me away from Architecture, the built environment and sustainability are very much still important to me and factor into most every decision I make," said Steele. "This is a great place to live and has so much potential to pioneer the way for the rest of the state to follow our lead as we work towards providing a safe, clean future for the following generations."

Greta Gramig, a professor at NDSU, is glad that Fargo City leaders see the need to plan for future sustainability, and wants to be involved in those efforts. "I have a PhD in Plant Sciences, and my research program is geared toward increasing agricultural sustainability. As a scientist, I am trained to think critically and evaluate evidence, skills that might be useful to the committee," said Gramig.

Jennifer Sweatman is a professor at Concordia College, a member of the President's Sustainability Council and of the RiverKeepers Board of Directors. "I have degrees in biology (PhD, MS, and BS) with experience investigating the impacts humans have on the environment. My overarching goal as a researcher has always been to ask and answer questions that could influence policy decisions, not simply to enhance knowledge," said Sweatman in her application.

The role of the Sustainability and Resiliency committee is to make recommendations to the City Commission for actions or policy adoptions related to climate resiliency, renewable energy, emissions reductions, energy efficiency and environmental stewardship.

The Fargo City Commission voted 5-0 to approve the appointment of Casey Steele, Greta Gramig and Jennifer Sweatman as public at-large members on the Sustainability and Resiliency Committee.

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North Broadway Bridge

Fargo Engineering Staff to Evaluate Options for North Broadway Bridge

City of Fargo Engineering staff will examine how to best proceed following the closure of the North Broadway Bridge earlier this month. The City, in coordination with the Clay County Highway Department, Minnesota Department of Transportation (MNDOT) and SRF Consulting, closed the Bridge on Thursday, February 11 due to a tilt in the bridge's north pier - a vital support structure. The bridge, located north of 35th Ave. N. along Broadway, will remain closed to traffic and pedestrians indefinitely.

City of Fargo Engineer Brenda Derrig updated the City Commission and community on the status of the bridge at Monday night's commission meeting. Derrig explained a rehabilitation of the bridge would likely cost approximately two million dollars, while a replacement of the bridge at the current elevation and locations would cost approximately four million dollars. Replacement of the bridge at a flood-proof elevation or removal were also mentioned as potential options, though more analysis is needed to determine the cost of those options.

Moving forward, The City of Fargo will evaluate repair options and costs, examine Broadway road stability, examine short and long-term traffic impacts of detour route, gather resident feedback, and return to the Fargo City Commission in three to five months with options to consider.