Resident upset over tax for new bike path in south Fargo neighborhood

Published: Sep. 6, 2019 at 10:31 PM CDT
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They say there are two certainties in life: death and taxes. For a south Fargo man, he’s upset about taxation and that’s a special assessment for a new bike path in his neighborhood.

If you own a home in Fargo, you’ll most pay a special assessment at some point if you don’t already.

A special assessment is when a city taxes a property owner for an infrastructure project in their neighborhood.

Dave Engrebretson posted on Nextdoor Friday his frustration with being assessed for a bike path along 40th Ave S. He plans to take his issue before the city.

Although there’s an issue over paying for this particular bike path, Fargo Mayor Tim Mahoney said these type of projects have to be done because they attract Millennials who expect these amenities from a modern city.

Mahoney said cities are competing across the country for the best and brightest to fill open jobs.

Moreover, the mayor said the cost for this special is only $300 for that homeowner over the course of 30 years.

“We should do out with that process because most of our residents find that to be the most hated tax out there,” City Commissioner Tony Gehrig said. “More hated then property taxes. Far more hated than sales tax.”

Gehrig has wrestled with the issue of special assessments and said he doesn’t think changes are coming. He said the common complaint he hears is people not knowing what they’re paying for until it’s done.

“It's very difficult as a city, for any city, to make all residents who are affected aware of what we're doing all the time,” Gehrig said. “Usually, the first time someone hears about it is when they get a bill in the mail.”

Gehrig said if a change is made, it will only happen if people speak up. Others, such as Mayor Mahoney, said specials are what prevent higher property taxes.

If you have questions or concerns about the specials you have been charged, there's a hearing Thursday, September 19th at 9 a.m. at city commissioner chambers located inside Fargo City Hall.