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Published October 19 2010

Chamber supports Cass County flood tax

FARGO – The Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber of Commerce has endorsed Cass County’s proposed half-cent sales tax to fund a Red River diversion and other flood control projects.

“We need to protect our neighborhoods and business corridors in order to plan for economic growth and for our future,” chamber President and CEO Craig Whitney stated in a news release this afternoon. “To allow our community to remain vulnerable to the physical and emotional toll extracted by a major flood, or the financial and economic devastation that can occur as temporary dikes fail, is not acceptable.”

Cass County voters will decide on the 20-year sales tax on Nov. 2. It would raise an estimated $11 million annually.

Earlier this year, the chamber endorsed a 35,000-cubic-feet-per-second diversion. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers estimates it would cost $1.46 billion, which would be shared by federal, state and local entities.

The chamber’s news release also notes the corps estimates the damages of a 100-year flood event to be in excess of $5 billion.

The chamber also took a strong position in June 2009 in favor of a plan for permanent flood protection and endorsed the half-cent Fargo city sales tax, which was approved by 90.7 percent of Fargo voters in June 2009.

Chamber leaders understand that the region can’t continue to allow spring flooding to negatively impact commerce, the news release stated.

Early voting begins Oct. 25.