Guest Post: The Fargo-Moorhead Diversion Authority Is Being Milked By Special Interests

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Where does all the money go? The Fargo-Moorhead Diversion Authority money, I mean. In 2013 the Diversion Authority is projected to spend $44 million on the FM Flood Risk Reduction plan.

“The Corps and sponsors have invested approximately $60 million in the project through the end of fiscal year 2013,” according to Diversion Authority publicist Daron Selvig.

Only $5 million is expected to come from the federal government this year. The remaining $39 million for 2013 has to come from somewhere else.

The planning for this project is an enormous cash cow for project managers, lawyers and engineering and public relation firms. At each Diversion Authority meeting, more bills are presented and paid like there is an endless supply of money. More studies are authorized, and the money keeps flowing. Currently, there are outstanding contracts of $10 million.

The FM Diversion is a cash cow for those special interests who are milking the project.

Who is sitting on the stools, doing the monthly milking? The cash cow’s feed is tax dollars from local sales tax and money previously budgeted by the state of North Dakota.

Here’s a brief rundown of where the milk streams are headed. The out-of-state project management firm CH2MHill has a three month extension of its $700,000 a month consulting contract. PFM is a financial advisory group planning the cash flow at a cost of $10,000 a month for 14 months.

The Red River Basin Commission is getting $500,000 to redo their retention studies. The Diversion Authority is paying the Minnesota DNR $395,000 for what the U.S. Army Corps should have done the first time around. It will cost $238,000 to figure out how to make a stream meander in the bottom of the diversion channel. An additional $650,000 will be spent figuring out how to ring dike the communities expected to be in the holding pond south of town.

What better source of money is a community that can be exploited to fund the special interest businesses and local governments that live on such projects? The cash cow is federal tax dollars and is milked, more and more. As long as the feed bunk stays full, the cow will apparently keep milking.

Trana Rogne is a Kindred ND native and graduate of Kindred HS and MSUM. Semi-Retired Volvo car enthusiast and caretaker of the family homestead North Dakota Centennial Farm in rural Richland County. Director of MnDak Upstream Coalition & property rights advocate that is active in many community affairs including MNDak Upstream Coalition and the Richland-Wilkin JPA.

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