The Burleigh County Water Resource District is trying to complete a publicly funded flood mitigation project on Fox Island that does not pass the “smell test.” BCWRD is proceeding with a levee, which includes lifting Far West Drive, Gallatin Drive and Gallatin Loop up to 2 feet. Unfortunately, 22 existing homes are situated between these roads and the Missouri River and won’t be protected by the levee.
BCWRD Chairman Greg Larson has testified that this levee won’t diminish the property values of those homes outside the levee. Four appraisers certified to perform appraisals of this type have indicated otherwise. BCWRD has made no concession in the project budget for this cost to those property owners.
The majority of the funding for the project comes from the state treasury in the amount of $2.8 million, which was procured by Sen. Diane Larson. Further funding was acquired by BCWRD and its champion, Chairman Greg Larson (Diane’s husband), from Burleigh County in the amount of $920,000.
The Larsons' home will be protected by this levee. The residents within this project’s special assessment district are paying only 3 percent of the total project cost. The remaining 97 percent of the project costs are being paid by North Dakota taxpayers. This is well above normal levels.
Of the homes being protected by this levee project, only a handful suffered any water damage during the 2011 flood. The property owners on the inside of Fox Island will likely never suffer any flood damage that this levee is intended to prevent. So, that’s $3,720,000 of taxpayer money for a mostly private levee for a very small number of property owners.
With the budget cuts across the state of North Dakota, this is a waste of taxpayer money.
Kim Parson, Bismarck