Cass County Officials Fight F-M Flood Diversion Project Budget Gap

The legislature's proposal is $120 million short of what the county needs

REED TOWNSHIP, N.D. — The North Dakota Legislature is facing backlash after proposing an F-M diversion budget that’s creating a funding gap.

Lawmakers and Cass County Commissioners are concerned after the legislature shoots down their budget request of $870 million for the diversion project.

The legislature’s proposal comes up $120 million short in state funding, which some officials believe is not enough.

“It’s not that we’re asking for a check for $870 million today,” said Mary Scherling, the chair of the F-M Diversion Authority Board. “This would be over several bienniums, but it’s important that we get the intent language in that bill so that we can go to our P3 partners and bid this out.”

People in small towns like Harwood say they are at even more of a loss because its small size makes it hard to raise money for larger projects.

“We can’t afford to come up with 100 grand every year to repair damages, so we certainly hope that the legislature votes ‘no’ on this bill and revises it to give us the money we need,” said Harwood Mayor Bill Rohrich.

Meanwhile, in Fargo, the city has a six-year plan to build a ditch to divert flood waters that would be helped along with more funding.

“We went 10 years without a big flood, we had one in ’11 and ’13, I don’t know if we’re going to get by another six years without a major flood, but gee, it sure would be nice to have a thing done by that and have less trouble out here,” said Fargo Mayor Tim Mahoney.

Mahoney also says he’s determined to get the project done no matter what kind of funding they get.

“Let’s do what needs to be done to get it going, because many of you may have asked ‘Is the diversion going to get done?’ Yep,” said Mahoney. “It’s going now, and we’re moving now.”

The legislature is expected to vote on the funding bill tomorrow.

Categories: Local News, North Dakota News