Block 9 sets a terrible precedent

While Block 9 is a neat concept, the unprecedented tax waiver incentive package that was passed 3-2 last night set a new level of public assistance for privately owned structures.

From this point going forward, what do you think any developer that comes to build a large mixed use project in Fargo, (there are many waiting for the newly protected area by the riverfront) can expect for a tax waiver from the city?

In this case, the city bonds for a $7,000,000 parking structure that the private developer gets to use and own, using money they don’t have to pay in taxes, $625,000 a year in PILOT for 15-20 years. And the kicker is a 25 year TIF for 20 – $1,000,000 condos where the public tax increment that pays for a privately owned plaza they say the public will be able to use for certain events. HOLD010816.N.FF_.BLOCK9-1

To this point, most downtown incentives have been justified. Not this one. There will not be additional property taxes paid to the schools, parks, county, or city for services for these buildings for 20 – 25 years. And when that time is up, these multi million dollar companies will own a publicly funded, privately owned and operated parking garage that will generate rental cash for as long as it stands.

We have a proven successful model for public/private developments that include structures for public parking. The Civic Ramp, the Island Park Ramp, and the soon to be built Roberts Street Ramp are all publicly owned and operated parking structures that increase available public parking. Each of those projects used a tax increment where the private developer pays taxes on the new development. Some of those taxes are then allocated to help pay the debt service on the public ramp along with parking rent revenues.

The Civic and Island Park Ramp are now paid for and generate net parking rental revenue of $288,000 a year at Island Park ramp and at the Civic Ramp $180,000. This public revenue helps fund public parking maintenance, improvements and operations and helps offset tax increases. That will not be the case with the Block 9 development. The private developer that didn’t have to pay taxes through the PILOT gets to own the structure and those parking rents for the life of the building

Here’s how the vote went at the Fargo City Commission Monday night:

Here are the votes in order (They had them bundled but I separated them to vote on each)

  1. I voted to approve a Renewal plan that could allow a formation of a TIF, but did not approve the TIF that was proposed on the final motion (#4 below) in the developers agreement. (eligible uses/amounts are determined in the Developers Agreement motion that I voted against)
  2. The only incentive I approved was the R Zone for 5 yrs.
  3. I voted against the motion for the PILOT
  4. I voted against the developers agreement that had the proposed 25 year TIF for 20 – 22 $1,000,000 condos

How would you vote? See online poll here.

Definitely not a good day for Fargo and downtown. We have to do much, much better.

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Fargo’s Great Rides Bike Share inspired integrated payment system

“An overlooked example of an integrated payment system already exists—in Fargo, North Dakota. And it’s created arguably one of the most successful bike share systems in the country.

Fargo’s Great Rides is an 11-station, 100-bicycle seasonal system. Its last season saw 143,000 trips and an average of six or seven rides per bike per day—more usage per bike than in New York, Washington DC or Paris.”

Ride ON! Great to see our innovative Matbus inspired, student led model for Great Rides Bike Share making such a positive national impression.

It took us about 3.5 years to get our one of a kind bike share model going, but thanks to patience, tons of homework, making the case that our unique business model for bike share can flourish here is paying off.

With just 100 bikes in 224 days 143,500 rides means

  • Great Rides has 640 check outs a day
  • over 40 rides an hour in the 16 hour daily operating period.great rides St Patricks

Thanks to our community partners and a lot of good work by many, Fargo is becoming a leader for biking and active transportation. Here’s the national article by April Corbin on the success of Great Rides Bike Share:

Why the country’s best bike share might be in Fargo

by: April Corbin, PeopleForBikes equity writer online article here

Great Ride Fargo station

Many in the bike share world are anxiously awaiting the launch of Los Angeles’ system this summer because of its ambitious transit integration plan: You’ll be able to check out a bike with the same card that gets you on a bus.

But an overlooked example of an integrated payment system already exists—in Fargo, North Dakota. And it’s created arguably one of the most successful bike share systems in the country.

Fargo’s Great Rides is an 11-station, 100-bicycle seasonal system. Its last season saw 143,000 trips and an average of six or seven rides per bike per day—more usage per bike than in New York, Washington DC or Paris.

Their primary user base: the students at North Dakota State University. Students there take approximately 90 percent of bike share trips.

It’s a model that transit, housing and social service agencies everywhere should be watching closely. Not to mention other schools.

“Our success has been in lowered barriers to entry,” explains Sara Watson Curry, the director of operations at Great Rides. “We like to say it happens ‘automagically.’ It’s really easy—less than a minute.”

A Great Rides seasonal pass is included as part of the mandatory student activities fee at NDSU. All students have to do to activate their membership is log on to the website they already use for their academic courses and university-related tasks and agree to Great Rides’ terms of service contract. Then, they can instantly check out bikes using the student ids they are already use to carrying with them.

It turns out that when you snap bike sharing into an existing system that already has a financial relationship with users and all the tools they need—and no additional sign-up cost—the results can be spectacular.

NDSU has a student population of approximately 15,000—8,000 of them have registered with Great Rides, and of those, 6,000 took at least one trip during the eight-month season.

Great Rides Fargo

“We feel strongly the integration with student IDs was key,” says Curry. “It eliminated us having to mail things and them having wait. They want to buy slices of pizza, not memberships.”

The sponsorship relationship between Great Rides and NDSU is similar to a preexisting program between the university and the local bus system that allowed students to use their school IDs to access the bus system. Students already knew about that and are using public transit to great effect, so expanding the concept to bike share was easy.

“Initially we were on campus to get people to sign up,” says Curry. “We talked to maybe 200 people over a couple of hours. From that, we saw 2,000 rides. It was a buzz that spread on campus. … They see classmates and roommates and they go wild. They get it.”

Great Rides’ popularity recalls the massively successful bike share system in Hangzhou, China, one of the world’s largest. Its users can check out one of its more than 60,000 bikes using their transit cards and get an automatic discount when they do.

Curry doesn’t see Great Rides pickup numbers as an anomaly among the bike share industry. She believes systems just need to integrate as intimately as possible.

“It was a lot of IT work and a lot of work with the university to set everything up,” says Curry, before adding that the payoff was worth it.

On their end, NDSU has included photos of bike share in their recruiting materials for potential students, and their facilities department has reported adding additional bicycle racks to accommodate the growing number of personal bicycles on campus. The university has also begun incorporating questions about bike share into their annual survey about transportation.

“It’ll be interesting to see if we move the needle,” says Curry.

Great Rides is considering expanding to service other universities in the area, but Curry notes that progress toward that goal is deliberate and not rushed. One reason the relationship with NDSU has worked so well is that student government and administration were involved and excited from the system’s inception.

“We have to build the relationship,” she says. “We need the infrastructure and the support.”

The Better Bike Share Partnership is a JPB Foundation-funded collaboration between the City of Philadelphia, the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) and thePeopleForBikes Foundation to build equitable and replicable bike share systems.

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Fargo’s Great Rides Bike Share ease of use tops in the nation

Ride ON! Great to see our innovative Matbus inspired, student led model for Great Rides Bike Share making such a positive national impression.

It took us about 3.5 years to get our one of a kind bike share model going, but thanks to patience, tons of homework, making the case that our unique business model for bike share can flourish here is paying off.

With just 100 bikes in 224 days 143,500 rides means

  • Great Rides has 640 check outs a day
  • over 40 rides an hour in the 16 hour daily operating period.great rides St Patricks

Thanks to our community partners and a lot of good work by many, Fargo is becoming a leader for biking and active transportation. Here’s the national article by April Corbin on the success of Great Rides Bike Share:

Why the country’s best bike share might be in Fargo

by: April Corbin, PeopleForBikes equity writer online article here

Great Ride Fargo station

Many in the bike share world are anxiously awaiting the launch of Los Angeles’ system this summer because of its ambitious transit integration plan: You’ll be able to check out a bike with the same card that gets you on a bus.

But an overlooked example of an integrated payment system already exists—in Fargo, North Dakota. And it’s created arguably one of the most successful bike share systems in the country.

Fargo’s Great Rides is an 11-station, 100-bicycle seasonal system. Its last season saw 143,000 trips and an average of six or seven rides per bike per day—more usage per bike than in New York, Washington DC or Paris.

Their primary user base: the students at North Dakota State University. Students there take approximately 90 percent of bike share trips.

It’s a model that transit, housing and social service agencies everywhere should be watching closely. Not to mention other schools.

“Our success has been in lowered barriers to entry,” explains Sara Watson Curry, the director of operations at Great Rides. “We like to say it happens ‘automagically.’ It’s really easy—less than a minute.”

A Great Rides seasonal pass is included as part of the mandatory student activities fee at NDSU. All students have to do to activate their membership is log on to the website they already use for their academic courses and university-related tasks and agree to Great Rides’ terms of service contract. Then, they can instantly check out bikes using the student ids they are already use to carrying with them.

It turns out that when you snap bike sharing into an existing system that already has a financial relationship with users and all the tools they need—and no additional sign-up cost—the results can be spectacular.

NDSU has a student population of approximately 15,000—8,000 of them have registered with Great Rides, and of those, 6,000 took at least one trip during the eight-month season.

Great Rides Fargo

“We feel strongly the integration with student IDs was key,” says Curry. “It eliminated us having to mail things and them having wait. They want to buy slices of pizza, not memberships.”

The sponsorship relationship between Great Rides and NDSU is similar to a preexisting program between the university and the local bus system that allowed students to use their school IDs to access the bus system. Students already knew about that and are using public transit to great effect, so expanding the concept to bike share was easy.

“Initially we were on campus to get people to sign up,” says Curry. “We talked to maybe 200 people over a couple of hours. From that, we saw 2,000 rides. It was a buzz that spread on campus. … They see classmates and roommates and they go wild. They get it.”

Great Rides’ popularity recalls the massively successful bike share system in Hangzhou, China, one of the world’s largest. Its users can check out one of its more than 60,000 bikes using their transit cards and get an automatic discount when they do.

Curry doesn’t see Great Rides pickup numbers as an anomaly among the bike share industry. She believes systems just need to integrate as intimately as possible.

“It was a lot of IT work and a lot of work with the university to set everything up,” says Curry, before adding that the payoff was worth it.

On their end, NDSU has included photos of bike share in their recruiting materials for potential students, and their facilities department has reported adding additional bicycle racks to accommodate the growing number of personal bicycles on campus. The university has also begun incorporating questions about bike share into their annual survey about transportation.

“It’ll be interesting to see if we move the needle,” says Curry.

Great Rides is considering expanding to service other universities in the area, but Curry notes that progress toward that goal is deliberate and not rushed. One reason the relationship with NDSU has worked so well is that student government and administration were involved and excited from the system’s inception.

“We have to build the relationship,” she says. “We need the infrastructure and the support.”

The Better Bike Share Partnership is a JPB Foundation-funded collaboration between the City of Philadelphia, the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) and thePeopleForBikes Foundation to build equitable and replicable bike share systems.

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Fargo Great Rides Bike Share may be best in the country

Ride ON! Great to see our innovative Matbus inspired, student led model for Great Rides Bike Share making such a positive national impression.

It took us about 3.5 years to get our one of a kind bike share model going, but thanks to patience, tons of homework, making the case that our unique business model for bike share can flourish here is paying off.

With just 100 bikes in 224 days 143,500 rides means

  • Great Rides has 640 check outs a day
  • over 40 rides an hour in the 16 hour daily operating period.

Thanks to our community partners and a lot of good work by many, Fargo is becoming a leader for biking and active transportation. Here’s the national article by April Corbin on the success of Great Rides Bike Share:

Why the country’s best bike share might be in Fargo

by: April Corbin, PeopleForBikes equity writer online article here

Great Ride Fargo station

Many in the bike share world are anxiously awaiting the launch of Los Angeles’ system this summer because of its ambitious transit integration plan: You’ll be able to check out a bike with the same card that gets you on a bus.

But an overlooked example of an integrated payment system already exists—in Fargo, North Dakota. And it’s created arguably one of the most successful bike share systems in the country.

Fargo’s Great Rides is an 11-station, 100-bicycle seasonal system. Its last season saw 143,000 trips and an average of six or seven rides per bike per day—more usage per bike than in New York, Washington DC or Paris.

Their primary user base: the students at North Dakota State University. Students there take approximately 90 percent of bike share trips.

It’s a model that transit, housing and social service agencies everywhere should be watching closely. Not to mention other schools.

“Our success has been in lowered barriers to entry,” explains Sara Watson Curry, the director of operations at Great Rides. “We like to say it happens ‘automagically.’ It’s really easy—less than a minute.”

A Great Rides seasonal pass is included as part of the mandatory student activities fee at NDSU. All students have to do to activate their membership is log on to the website they already use for their academic courses and university-related tasks and agree to Great Rides’ terms of service contract. Then, they can instantly check out bikes using the student ids they are already use to carrying with them.

It turns out that when you snap bike sharing into an existing system that already has a financial relationship with users and all the tools they need—and no additional sign-up cost—the results can be spectacular.

NDSU has a student population of approximately 15,000—8,000 of them have registered with Great Rides, and of those, 6,000 took at least one trip during the eight-month season.

Great Rides Fargo

“We feel strongly the integration with student IDs was key,” says Curry. “It eliminated us having to mail things and them having wait. They want to buy slices of pizza, not memberships.”

The sponsorship relationship between Great Rides and NDSU is similar to a preexisting program between the university and the local bus system that allowed students to use their school IDs to access the bus system. Students already knew about that and are using public transit to great effect, so expanding the concept to bike share was easy.

“Initially we were on campus to get people to sign up,” says Curry. “We talked to maybe 200 people over a couple of hours. From that, we saw 2,000 rides. It was a buzz that spread on campus. … They see classmates and roommates and they go wild. They get it.”

Great Rides’ popularity recalls the massively successful bike share system in Hangzhou, China, one of the world’s largest. Its users can check out one of its more than 60,000 bikes using their transit cards and get an automatic discount when they do.

Curry doesn’t see Great Rides pickup numbers as an anomaly among the bike share industry. She believes systems just need to integrate as intimately as possible.

“It was a lot of IT work and a lot of work with the university to set everything up,” says Curry, before adding that the payoff was worth it.

On their end, NDSU has included photos of bike share in their recruiting materials for potential students, and their facilities department has reported adding additional bicycle racks to accommodate the growing number of personal bicycles on campus. The university has also begun incorporating questions about bike share into their annual survey about transportation.

“It’ll be interesting to see if we move the needle,” says Curry.

Great Rides is considering expanding to service other universities in the area, but Curry notes that progress toward that goal is deliberate and not rushed. One reason the relationship with NDSU has worked so well is that student government and administration were involved and excited from the system’s inception.

“We have to build the relationship,” she says. “We need the infrastructure and the support.”

The Better Bike Share Partnership is a JPB Foundation-funded collaboration between the City of Philadelphia, the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) and thePeopleForBikes Foundation to build equitable and replicable bike share systems.

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Fargo property taxes and Renaissance Zone

 

In 1990 Susan and I bought our house. We started paying more attention to property taxes and watched Fargo School taxes increase as state funding for education decreased. The Fargo School levy increased over 96 mills in just 10 years from 1990 – 2000.  001 (2)

As I researched this, I started to get engaged to try to help find some positive solutions. I got involved in city issues in 1995 first as a citizen activist. now as a Fargo City Commissioner since 2004.

Due to good work by many, it’s great to see the combined Fargo Schools and City of Fargo property tax rates (Mill levy) have been decreasing at a strong pace since 2005.

Screenshot 2016-05-14 12.27.50

Fargo Public Schools is by far the largest portion of our property taxes, but with increased funding from the state, the Fargo School 146.38 mill levy is now less than half of what it was at it’s peak 327.88 mills in 2001.

Fargo’s mill levy has also dropped from a high of 62 mills in 1995 to 48.40 mills today.Screenshot 2016-05-14 12.27.54

Here’s a comparative analysis of some of the cities mill levy’s across the state. Historically Fargo’s range has been between 62 mills and now 48.40 mills, the lowest it’s been. Notice Williston and Dickinson have lower mill levy’s but their economy is less diverse and more dependent on oil activity making it more volatile.Screenshot 2016-05-14 12.27.42

So how does this affect our Fargo property taxes? Most homeowners paid more property taxes in 2005 than we do now, even though valuations have increased with the rising cost of our strong housing market. In my case, even though our house has almost doubled in value (the 2016 assessed value is $140,000), due to lower mill levy’s, we paid $634 less in property taxes this year than we did 10 years ago in 2005.Screenshot 2016-05-14 12.27.56

Enter the Renaissance Zone

There are multiple reasons for the reduction of our tax rates in Fargo, primarily more state funding for education, but another reason is an increasing tax base due to adding value in our city’s core that had been dwindling for years prior to the Renaissance Zone.

The Renaissance Zone was promoted by cities across North Dakota that had similar issues, deteriorating downtown’s and diminishing tax base in central cores. Legislators responded and passed the needed legislation in 1999. The program is for property owners that invest at least 50% more than their current value into improvement to their building. If they meet the standards, owners continue to pay their current property taxes but get a 5 year exemption on the improved additional taxes on the buildings new value.

Here’s how it’s workingScreenshot 2016-05-14 12.20.31

The positive impact of the Renaissance Zone the 5 year targeted incentive program is easy to see on this chart.

The taxes generated are double even with the decrease in tax rate. Screenshot 2016-05-14 12.29.05

The value of the area defined as downtown has almost tripled since Renaissance Zone started in 1999 when downtown had lost many of it’s stores, businesses, and residents.Screenshot 2016-05-14 12.29.24 Fargo’s combined mill levy is down, tax rate is down, and total property value in the downtown has increased greatly.

Screenshot 2016-05-14 12.29.26

Is the Renaissance complete?

No, there are wonderful opportunities for higher value quality mixed use developments on 64 acres of surface parking that comprises half of the 120 acres in the Renaissance Zone.Screenshot 2016-05-14 12.29.29
The are 109 acres of surface parking lots in the downtown where vibrant mixed use buildings used to be. All of these lots combined pay a grand total of just $91,300 annually in combined property tax. Not much of a tax base.

64 acres of those are in the Renaissance Zone. A majority of the land in the Renaissance zone is now low value surface parking. Here’s an example of how we can add housing, retail, commercial and parking in these areas. The private/public mixed use development below will be on 2nd Ave and Roberts Street.Screenshot 2016-05-14 12.29.33

The three private lots on this site now pay just $3,379 in annual taxes. Those taxes will continue to be payed during the 5 year Renaissance program. After that time, the new additional taxes are estimated to be approximately $240,000 annually after the 5 year Renaissance exemption on the $20,000,000 private investment.

The private structure will be wrapped around a 450 stall public parking structure that will be paid by parking revenue from renters on city owned property. This more than doubles the available public parking on the site, adds 140 residential units, affordable pop up retail in alley, retail on ground floor, and 6,000 sqf commercial. This private/public development is due to be completed on 2nd Ave and Roberts next year.

Ripple effects of Renaissance Zone

I wonder if any of these great things would have happened without the Renaissance Zone? Let’s keep working to grow well together, keep what works and improve what we can.

Screenshot 2016-05-14 12.29.14Screenshot 2016-05-14 12.29.16Screenshot 2016-05-14 12.29.19 Screenshot 2016-05-14 12.29.21

We’ve got a lot of good things going on in Fargo thanks to a strong community with a growing diverse economy and population. Let’s keep what works and improve what doesn’t while we keep working together to be the best city in the country!

 

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Fargo’s in the Sweet 16! You can make it a slam dunk

March Madness is running amok! Even though our beloved Bison didn’t make the big dance this year, Fargo’s been selected already made it to the “Sweet 16” seed in the “Strong Towns March Madness Tournament of Cities“. We need you to get in the game and score one for Fargo by voting at the bottom of the page here.

Our first round opponent is Holland Michigan. You can see what makes these towns strong and vote on the bottom of the page. We can’t score if you don’t vote!

sweet 16

HERE’S HOW THIS IS CONTEST IS GOING TO WORK (Full story at Strongtowns/Strongest Town Contest)Screenshot 2016-03-15 18.42.20

 

We need your help! Today through Wednesday, Strong Towns is publishing three posts with match-ups in their “Sweet Sixteen” (two on Wednesday). Where possible, they’ve tried to match up the initial competitions between towns in the same state or region. In each post, they include the answers both towns submitted for their initial applications and give you the chance to vote between each match-up.

This Friday, they’ll tally all your votes and come up with our Elite Eight. First round voting closes at 11pm Eastern on Thursday, March 17. Subsequent rounds will begin next week, and will feature photographs, podcasts and a final webinar showdown. It’s going to be an action-packed month.

Send this link to your friends so they can get in the game and vote Fargo into the Elite Eight! The voting is at the bottom of the page.

 

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efargo up to 3rd place in $5,000,000 Energy prize and $3,207,242 saved already

WHOOP! WHOOP!! Our efargo team has just moved into 3rd place in the $5,000,000 Georgetown University Energy Challenge!!

Working with Xcel Energy and Cass County Electric, we’ve established the baseline of energy used in 2013 and 2014 for residential and municipal electricity. During this energy efficiency contest our residents and city buildings have used less energy and reduced CO2 substantially:

Here are the measures to date:

Amount of total savings: $3,207,242

CO2: reduced by 32,348,877 tons or 14,704,035 kg

Kilowatt hours: reduced by 41,274,513

What is a Kilowatt Hour? Electricity is measured in kilowatt‐hours (kWh). One kWh of energy is equal to 1000 watt hours and will power a 100 watt light bulb for 10 hours (100 watts x 10 hours = 1,000 watt‐hours = 1 kWh).  See a chart for various items around the house here

See rankings here

Screenshot 2016-03-14 11.49.26

Thanks to those of you that are helping reduce your energy use and working to defeat the diabolical Waste a Watt. If you’re not, learn how at: www.efargo.org

efargo logowaste a watt


On Leap Day, Malini with our efargo team and Mayor Mahoney held a well attended press conference and presented a status report to the Fargo City Commission to help Fargo leap into the efargo energy efficiency era. Let’s keep looking for ways to share the efargo tools and game to keep moving on up!

 

Thanks and way to go efargo! We’ve got Aspen Colorado and Huntsville Alabama in our sights. With your help, number one here we come!

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Fargo can win $5 million and we’ve already saved over $3 million

eFargo’s moving on up!
We’re in the hunt for the $5 million Energy Challenge competing with 60 quarter finalist cities across the country.
Fargo’s the spotlight community on the Georgetown University Energy Challengeefargo logo

Thanks to Malini Srivistava and all of our efargo team and great community partners for a tremendous amount of innovative work and collaboration. After three quarters, out of 60 cities, we’ve moved up from 5th to 4th place and our most innovative and replicable strategies are ready to launch with a kick off leaping into Fargo’s new energy age on Febuary 29th!

What do these cool peer cities have in common?
South Burlington VT,
Madison WI,
Berkeley CA,
Bellevue WA,
Fort Collins CO,
Montpelier VT
Answer: eFargo’s ahead of them in the $5 million Georgetown University Energy Challenge!
We’ve moved up to 4th place of 60 quarterfinal cities. Help us kick into another gear to pass Holland Mi, Aspen CO, and Huntville Al.

See efargo’s rank and peer cities

Thanks so much to our power providers Xcel Energy and Cass County Electric for working so closely to establish the energy baselines and ways to measure our efficiency progress. We would not be in this fantastic position without their wonderful collaboration and help.

Stay tuned for the official kick-off for the exciting new ways you can save energy and cash and help us advance to the finals for the $5 million Georgetown University Energy Challenge.

We’ll ask key partners (NDSU, Xcel, Cass County, Fargo-West Fargo Schools, Habitat for Humanity) to share their perspectives and continued efforts to reach our goals and advance to the final competition for the top spot and $5 million prize.

Details are being determined, but we’ll announce the current standings and millions in energy savings along with tons of emissions savings and the official launch of the efargo game to defeat the dread Waste a Watt.  waste a watt

The efargo billboards are up, and watch for more efargo opportunities popping up around town.

 Thanks for all your help as we kick it up another notch as we leap into the new efargo energy age!  Here’s the efargo top 10 energy savings tips to get in on the fun and savings.

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Whoot! Fargo best performing small city again

Thanks to good work by many, Fargo’s again recognized as the top performing small city by the Milken Institute for the second year in a row. It’s fun to see and as good as it is, working together, the best is yet to come.

Here’s the article in the Milken Institutes report:

  • Fargo, ND-MN, retained its No. 1 position among small metros for a second year. Its well-diversified economy with strength in finance, insurance, health care, and higher education helped offset declines in shale-oil exploration.”

fargo-nd-mn-small-metro-01

Small Cities 2015

Fargo, ND-MN

Overall Rank: 1      Population: 228,291

Fargo, North Dakota-Minnesota, returned to No. 1 in our index of best-performing small cities, holding the top spot for the second year in a row. While more recent job growth tapered off in the metro, Fargo outpaced the national average in both job and income gains, most notably during the five years ending in 2014. The metro, which thrived during North Dakota’s decade-long oil boom, has relied on its diverse industry mix to sustain growth in the region.

Metro’s Performance in Each Index Component

Component 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Score/
Value
5-yr Job Growth1 14 12 8 5 4 8 108.39
1-yr Job Growth2 11 41 18 8 28 20 101.69
5-yr Wages & Salaries Growth3 16 15 14 9 6 5 108.39
1-yr Wages & Salaries Growth4 14 29 36 10 10 27 102.03
Short-Term Job Growth5 36 66 10 29 14 67 9977.00%
5-yr Relative HT GDP Growth6 31 43 52 82 46 26 109.58
1-yr Relative HT GDP Growth7 42 83 44 18 78 52 102.57
High-Tech GDP LQ8 41 48 54 59 52 50 0.71
# of HT GDP LQs Over 19 56 42 71 93 40 26 4.0

2014-2015 Growth Comparison (by score)

201420155-yr Job Growth(2009-2014)1-yr Job Growth(2013-2014)5-yr Wages &Salaries Growth(2008-2013)1-yr Wages &Salaries Growth(2012-2013)5-yr Relative HTGDP Growth(2009-2014)1-yr Relative HTGDP Growth(2013-2014)95105115125135Component

Component 2014 2015
5-yr Job Growth (2009-2014) 109.54 108.39
1-yr Job Growth (2013-2014) 102.6 101.69
5-yr Wages & Salaries Growth (2008-2013) 129.27 116.48
1-yr Wages & Salaries Growth (2012-2013) 108.09 102.03
5-yr Relative HT GDP Growth (2009-2014) 102.14 109.58
1-yr Relative HT GDP Growth (2013-2014) 101.64 102.57

 ~ End article ~

That’s good stuff, but we’re not resting on our laurels. We’re working with engaged citizens implementing key initiatives identified in Fargo 2030 and much of what we learned on last years bus tours, and guest presentations by parking guru Dennis Burns, Placemakers Hazel Borys, Winnipeg Forks Paul Jordan, CentreVentures Angela Mathieson, Strong Towns Charles Marohn and more.

Just in the past year:

cropped-IMG_67532.jpg

Thanks to all of you that joined us on one or both of our Tours of Art and Parking last year. Those trips have been paying off and I want to again thank Charley Johnson and the CVB for generously sponsoring the transportation on those learning trips.

Had a great night for improving parking management at the Fargo Commission meeting Monday 12- 9-15.

  • We passed the bonding for a quality mixed use parking structure 4 – 1. We locked in on a good rate of 3.42% that saves about $600k on financing costs and we have a funding model that’s solid. The goal is to add value by featuring people with the best views and active sidewalks while accommodating cars with a complimentary scale and design.

  • We also approved the concepts for transitioning parking management to a more user friendly parking ambassador system with Interstate Parking managing on and off street downtown parking.

  • Also approved directing CA to amend parking fines to a graduated rate structure that is user friendly so folks can learn the system with less penalty, but tougher on the folks that choose to park beyond time limits in high demand spots instead of walking a few blocks or using off street options.

Thanks to all the folks that shared your perspectives, joined our bus tours, study best practices, work to improve our land use, and have been working on these improvements for many years. We know we’ll continue to find ways to improve and that with a growing city it will be dynamic and change will be the norm. We’ve approved issuance of the City Center Comprehensive Plan request for proposals to help us maximize our great opportunities as we design for people first.

CITY OF FARGO

REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS

Published: December 14, 2015

 

DOWNTOWN FARGO – CITY CENTER COMPREHENSIVE PLAN

 

 

I.                     INTRODUCTION

The City of Fargo, North Dakota is seeking a multi-disciplinary and dynamic consultant team to lead a downtown planning effort to create a coordinated and thoughtful strategic plan that builds upon efforts outlined in GO2030 (Fargo Comprehensive Plan), examines relationships and generates a cohesive plan to address the following: vision/branding, market data, transportation, economic development, land use, parking and infrastructure. The strategic plan will require a strong public engagement process.  As an end product, the City is looking for a visioning document and a blueprint to guide public infrastructure, investment and decision making in the downtown area.

 

II.                   PLAN GOALS

 

  1. To set a vision and to drive investment;
  2. Establish a blueprint to guide public infrastructure and investment;
  3. Coordinate decision making across City departments and between the public and private sector.

VI. RFP SCHEDULE AND PROCESS

A. Proposals will be accepted up until 4:30 p.m. on Friday February 12th, 2016. Proposals should be directed to the following address or submitted electronically (PDF) to the City of Fargo at planning@cityoffargo.com. Any questions can be directed to Joe Nigg, City of Fargo Planning Department by phone at 701.241.1473 or by email at jnigg@cityoffargo.com.

City of Fargo

Working together we’ll make the most of the opportunities. Go FARGO!

– See more at: http://renewnd.areavoices.com/2015/12/10/86663/#sthash.ZTSzRMFv.dpuf

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Thanks to good work by many, Fargo’s again recognized as the top performing small city by the Milken Institute for the second year in a row. It’s fun to see and as good as it is, working together, the best is yet to come.

Here’s the article in the Milken Institutes report:

  • Fargo, ND-MN, retained its No. 1 position among small metros for a second year. Its well-diversified economy with strength in finance, insurance, health care, and higher education helped offset declines in shale-oil exploration.”

fargo-nd-mn-small-metro-01

Small Cities 2015

Fargo, ND-MN

Overall Rank: 1      Population: 228,291

Fargo, North Dakota-Minnesota, returned to No. 1 in our index of best-performing small cities, holding the top spot for the second year in a row. While more recent job growth tapered off in the metro, Fargo outpaced the national average in both job and income gains, most notably during the five years ending in 2014. The metro, which thrived during North Dakota’s decade-long oil boom, has relied on its diverse industry mix to sustain growth in the region.

Metro’s Performance in Each Index Component

Component 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Score/
Value
5-yr Job Growth1 14 12 8 5 4 8 108.39
1-yr Job Growth2 11 41 18 8 28 20 101.69
5-yr Wages & Salaries Growth3 16 15 14 9 6 5 108.39
1-yr Wages & Salaries Growth4 14 29 36 10 10 27 102.03
Short-Term Job Growth5 36 66 10 29 14 67 9977.00%
5-yr Relative HT GDP Growth6 31 43 52 82 46 26 109.58
1-yr Relative HT GDP Growth7 42 83 44 18 78 52 102.57
High-Tech GDP LQ8 41 48 54 59 52 50 0.71
# of HT GDP LQs Over 19 56 42 71 93 40 26 4.0

2014-2015 Growth Comparison (by score)

201420155-yr Job Growth(2009-2014)1-yr Job Growth(2013-2014)5-yr Wages &Salaries Growth(2008-2013)1-yr Wages &Salaries Growth(2012-2013)5-yr Relative HTGDP Growth(2009-2014)1-yr Relative HTGDP Growth(2013-2014)95105115125135Component

Component 2014 2015
5-yr Job Growth (2009-2014) 109.54 108.39
1-yr Job Growth (2013-2014) 102.6 101.69
5-yr Wages & Salaries Growth (2008-2013) 129.27 116.48
1-yr Wages & Salaries Growth (2012-2013) 108.09 102.03
5-yr Relative HT GDP Growth (2009-2014) 102.14 109.58
1-yr Relative HT GDP Growth (2013-2014) 101.64 102.57

 ~ End article ~

That’s good stuff, but we’re not resting on our laurels. We’re working with engaged citizens implementing key initiatives identified in Fargo 2030 and much of what we learned on last years bus tours, and guest presentations by parking guru Dennis Burns, Placemakers Hazel Borys, Winnipeg Forks Paul Jordan, CentreVentures Angela Mathieson, Strong Towns Charles Marohn and more.

Just in the past year:

cropped-IMG_67532.jpg

Thanks to all of you that joined us on one or both of our Tours of Art and Parking last year. Those trips have been paying off and I want to again thank Charley Johnson and the CVB for generously sponsoring the transportation on those learning trips.

Had a great night for improving parking management at the Fargo Commission meeting Monday 12- 9-15.

  • We passed the bonding for a quality mixed use parking structure 4 – 1. We locked in on a good rate of 3.42% that saves about $600k on financing costs and we have a funding model that’s solid. The goal is to add value by featuring people with the best views and active sidewalks while accommodating cars with a complimentary scale and design.

  • We also approved the concepts for transitioning parking management to a more user friendly parking ambassador system with Interstate Parking managing on and off street downtown parking.

  • Also approved directing CA to amend parking fines to a graduated rate structure that is user friendly so folks can learn the system with less penalty, but tougher on the folks that choose to park beyond time limits in high demand spots instead of walking a few blocks or using off street options.

Thanks to all the folks that shared your perspectives, joined our bus tours, study best practices, work to improve our land use, and have been working on these improvements for many years. We know we’ll continue to find ways to improve and that with a growing city it will be dynamic and change will be the norm. We’ve approved issuance of the City Center Comprehensive Plan request for proposals to help us maximize our great opportunities as we design for people first.

CITY OF FARGO

REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS

Published: December 14, 2015

 

DOWNTOWN FARGO – CITY CENTER COMPREHENSIVE PLAN

 

 

I.                     INTRODUCTION

The City of Fargo, North Dakota is seeking a multi-disciplinary and dynamic consultant team to lead a downtown planning effort to create a coordinated and thoughtful strategic plan that builds upon efforts outlined in GO2030 (Fargo Comprehensive Plan), examines relationships and generates a cohesive plan to address the following: vision/branding, market data, transportation, economic development, land use, parking and infrastructure. The strategic plan will require a strong public engagement process.  As an end product, the City is looking for a visioning document and a blueprint to guide public infrastructure, investment and decision making in the downtown area.

 

II.                   PLAN GOALS

 

  1. To set a vision and to drive investment;
  2. Establish a blueprint to guide public infrastructure and investment;
  3. Coordinate decision making across City departments and between the public and private sector.

VI. RFP SCHEDULE AND PROCESS

A. Proposals will be accepted up until 4:30 p.m. on Friday February 12th, 2016. Proposals should be directed to the following address or submitted electronically (PDF) to the City of Fargo at planning@cityoffargo.com. Any questions can be directed to Joe Nigg, City of Fargo Planning Department by phone at 701.241.1473 or by email at jnigg@cityoffargo.com.

City of Fargo

Working together we’ll make the most of the opportunities. Go FARGO!

 

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