By Matthew Liedke
North Dakota State College of Science is planning to expand its Fargo location and school President Dr. John Richman wanted to make sure city officials knew what that would mean for the Wahpeton location.
During a public hearing at a city council meeting Monday evening, Richman spoke about the NDSCS location in Fargo, what its history is and what school officials have planned for the future.
Richman outlined the college’s plan for expansion in the Fargo area, what the cost would be and how much space it would utilize.
Richman’s reassured the council of NDSCS’s commitment to remaining in Wahpeton. Richman explained that the expansion in Fargo wouldn’t compete with the Wahpeton location and that school administration would remain in Wahpeton.
Richman said the school has implemented plans to help increase enrollment and the Fargo expansion would allow NDSCS to better meet its mission, which is to educate and train the workforce of North Dakota.
Following the public hearing, the council heard reports from city staff including Wahpeton City Attorney Steve Lies, who presented the officials with three resolutions for approval.
The first resolution directs the special assessment commission to levy assessments for six different districts. The districts included:
A motion was made and carried to approve the first resolution.
The second resolution was to put a city-wide measure on the November ballot in the General Election, which if passed, allows the governing body of Wahpeton to grant property tax exemptions upon applications of new or expanding retail sector businesses.
According to Lies, individual cities under 40,000 in population have to put the measure on the ballot. This is because the North Dakota Legislature passed a bill requiring voter approval to authorize property tax exemptions. The council approved the resolution as presented.
The final resolution, which required approval was to amend the Tax Increment Financing, or TIF District Map. The amended version excludes Lindenwood Court from the Tax Increment Financing map. The amendment was made necessary because the district is zoned as a commercial area and the property owner of Lindenwood Court will use it as a residential space, making it no longer compatible with the Tax Increment Financing plan.
In other council news, the Wahpeton Finance Committee submitted two recommendations for council approval.
The first was to authorize Wahpeton City Assessor Carla Broadland to make an offer to purchase property from Richland County. The parcel of land is 1.49 acres and is located just south of the water tower near Walmart. The council approved the recommendation.
The second was to approve a counter offer for extending a lease agreement the city has with Crown Castle Company and AT&T. The first agreement was made in 1996 with a 20 percent increase every five years and will end in 2016. An extension of that agreement was pitched to the city by Crown Castle/AT&T for an additional 20 years and a continued 20 percent increase every five years. The Finance Committee recommended approving a counter offer with a 25 percent increase every five years. A motion was made and carried to approve the offer.
In her report to the council, Wahpeton Finance Director Darcie Huwe made a request for an amendment to Red River Cab Company’s taxi license. so the company can exchange a vehicle on the license, switching from a 2004 Cadillac to a 2008 Dodge Caravan. Additionally, the new amended license includes another driver. The council approved Huwe’s request.
Leach Public Library Director Greta Guck spoke to the council to give updates on the July meeting with the Friends of the Library organization. Guck said funding requests she made to the organization were approved, including $500 for updates to the travel information book section and $500 for new adult fiction books. Additionally, Guck said Friends of the Library will also be funding a new shelving unit in the children’s section.
A reminder was given to the council that City Hall will be closed Monday, Sept. 1 in observance of Labor Day.
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