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The Mayor's Message


Mayor's Message - 08.26.2019

Registration for the library’s Fall Storytime series for toddlers, preschoolers and families is open. The free, 14-week series starts September 9th and the program is offered at all three library locations.

Fall/winter hours at the library start September 8th. The downtown and Carlson libraries will be open Sundays from 1 to 6 p.m. (except holidays) through Memorial Day.

The library’s annual Summer Reading Program ended August 10th. This year, 2,311 children registered for the program and completed 32,245 hours of reading and 6,270 activities. In addition, teens turned in 242 book logs and adults turned in 778 book logs.

The apartment vacancy rate in the metro declined below 8 percent for the first time in three years. The vacancy rate was 7.93 percent in the June 2019 survey. The last time the vacancy rate was below 8 percent was September 2016. Fargo has issued permits for 80 apartment units this year, far below the average of 1,058 permitted each year from 2014 to 2018.

Several members of the Police Department attended the North Dakota Peace Officers Association conference recently in Grand Forks. At the Governor’s 20 Pistol Shoot during the conference, eight Fargo officers placed out of the 20 spots, which is the best showing ever by the Fargo PD. There was also a discussion at the conference about intelligence led policing. Members of the Bismarck and Grand Forks police departments recently spent time in Fargo to learn how Fargo does intelligence led policing and the philosophies behind it.

There has been some news lately about changes to retail theft and shoplifting policies by the Police Department. To explain these changes, it is a fact that many big box stores in Fargo have policies of non-engagement or non-confrontation when it comes to shoplifting. Instead, they watch surveillance video after checking for losses in inventory, then will make delayed theft reports for insurance purposes on unsolvable cases. These policies mean more time for the PD to process paperwork for the sake of insurance. For this reason, the PD and prosecutor’s office have changed practices and are meeting with management and loss prevention people from different stores.

The narcotics and intelligence detectives from West Fargo, Cass County and the BCI will be moving into the Fargo Police Department building to team with Fargo’s narcotics and intel units. Being together will facilitate better communication amongst the investigators and allow for better teamwork and larger investigations as well as be force-multipliers for each other on smaller investigations. Jurisdiction does not matter much to drug dealers and this will allow area law enforcement to work together throughout the county.

In addition to the regular collection of residential and commercial garbage and recycling, to date for 2019 the Division of Solid Waste has collected 2,850 tons of yard waste and grass clippings, which contributes to the compost operation at 7th Avenue and 45th Street North. In addition, landfill employees have handled 5,676 tons of wood waste so far this year in the form of trees, branches, brush and general wood waste such as pallets and wood chips.

The City recently welcomed representatives from Region 8 Housing and Urban Development to highlight three significant events in Fargo that have been in the works for the past two years. Major renovations were completed at New Horizons, which was the first all-accessible housing project in Fargo and opened in 1973. Today its 98 units are full of updates to keep up with modern needs. The former Community Homes complex has reopened as The Arbors at McCormick Park and includes a new community center and 186 completely renovated units. Finally, the Planning Department worked as intermediaries for the HUD office in Denver and property owners to transfer 52 units worth of vouchers to Fargo. These vouchers were going to get absorbed into the U.S. Treasury and instead will be assigned to properties in Fargo. This is a $52,300 monthly budget authorization for 20 years, which will provide assistance for approximately 72 units. In total, 276 units have been modernized and contracted with HUD for the next 20 years to assist families in Fargo.

Staff members from the City of Grand Forks recently toured the new City Hall building as well as the RoCo Garage downtown as inspiration for their plans to remodel and/or renovate their City Hall and downtown. We are doing some really awesome things in Fargo and people are noticing.