Kristen Daum, Published September 08 2009
Cass County commissioners will vote on county courthouse, jail expansion projects todayFARGO - Cass County commissioners will vote this afternoon whether to approve a tax increase to pay for a $33 million expansion of county courthouse and jail facilities.
The meeting is at 3:30 p.m. at the commission’s offices on the first floor of the Cass County Courthouse, 211 9th St. S. in Fargo. It is open to the public.
Commissioners split their votes 3-2 in early August, when they provided initial approval for the project. Plans include building a new sheriff’s office connected to the county jail and a three-story addition to the west side of the courthouse.
If approved today, financing for the expansion would come from a 3-mill tax increase in 2010 and a 2-mill tax increase in 2011. Those increases would result in an extra $24 in county taxes for a typical $100,000 home.
Days after the preliminary vote last month, Commissioner Vern Bennett told The Forum he wanted to keep an open mind on whether to approve raising taxes to pay for the project. He reiterated those comments earlier today.
“I am not going to have a final decision until we hear the people at the meeting. I’m still very open,” Bennett said. “There are arguments on both sides and we’ll know in a few hours which way this is going to go.”
The commissioners’ decision to move forward with the expansion project remains contentious, because some members of the public believe the decision should be left up to a public vote.