The Fargo commission voted 3 - 2 to put a new sales tax proposal on June's ballot. I think this is premature and voted against it for some of the following reasons. I think it's important to review the history of the sales taxes in Fargo since 1989 that show significant growth. For instance, 1/2 cent Fargodome tax in 1989 generated about $3.8 million, 20 years later when it expired in 2009, that same 1/2 cent generated over $10 million.
Factoring a conservative and historically low rate of sales increase of 5%, the amount generated annually will have more than doubled by the time the taxes expire. The 1 1/2 cent sales taxes that will continue after the 1/2 cent for water and streets expires this spring will generate over $31 million this year. The existing 1 1/2 cent tax would generate over $62 million annually in 2026, more than double today's annual revenue.
The current 1/2 cent for flood protection passed in 2009 that in 2012 will generate approximately $10,500,000.
Factoring a conservative and historically low rate of sales increase of 5%, the current 1/2 cent flood tax would generate over $295,000.000 by 2029.
The current estimates for protecting Fargo to 42.5' are $245,000,000, that leaves $50,000,000 available for local share of continued design and preliminary work on the needed diversion.
The 1% 2006 infrastructure tax will generate approximately $21,000,000 this year. The revenues from this are also eligible for flood protection if needed. To date, it has been used primarily for streets and water capital and rehabilitation projects.
Factoring the same 5% annual sales growth for the 1% infrastructure tax that generates $21,000,000 today will generate over $41,500,000 annually in 2026, more than double the amount it currently generates annually
Factoring the same 5% annual sales growth for the 1% infrastructure tax collected since 2006, in 2026, this 1% will have generated over $453,000,000.
Fargo and all cities are receiving higher payments from the North Dakota state aid for cities derived from the rapidly increasing state sales tax revenues. Just in the past three years, it has risen by almost 50% to over $7,000,000 this year. This new revenue is another reason we don't have to rush to another sales tax proposal to meet our needs in Fargo.
My perspective is to utilize the community input and priorities identified in Fargo's GO 2030 community planning to help define our growth strategy more clearly and prioritize projects using the current sales tax dollars we have. This will help as we develop strategies to target incentives away from sprawl developments and encourage more development in areas with existing infrastructure before we ask voters for a new 1/2 cent sales tax.
We may find by using a whole cost comparative analysis process that we have enough funds through better land use and planning implementation. If after this process it's determined there isn't enough funding, we'll have a vetted basis in place to make a viable case for a well defined additional sales tax proposal knowing the city has done our due diligence. We'll also know more about the status of the needed diversion while we continue to engage our citizens to help make Fargo an even more safe, vibrant, beautiful and sustainable community.
Let's continue to work together to achieve our community's common goals as identified through our year long Fargo GO 2030 community planning and prioritization process.