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West Fargo city commission candidates offer ideas

May 27th, 2014 by Danielle Teigen

wf city commissionTwo of the three candidates vying for two seats on the West Fargo city commission shared their ideas for how to manage the city’s expanding footprint and needs of a larger population.

Incumbent Mark Wentz and challenger Brad Olson both see the growth of West Fargo as a good problem to have, but both realize the city’s future relies on solid leadership and sound decisions.

Incumbent Duane Hanson was unable to attend the debate.

Here’s how Wentz and Olson land on the important issues facing West Fargo:

  • Sales tax increase: Both support the increase. Wentz cited the additional tax money would provide a revenue source for the estimated $120 million in infrastructure projects in a cost-effective way; Olson echoed those thoughts.
  • Attracting skilled workers: Olson believes the city should be advertising available jobs and a great economy as heavily as western North Dakota does to make more people aware of the opportunities in West Fargo. Wentz would like to see students getting more involved with trades so they can understand what those careers would look like.
  • Water demand: Neither Wentz nor Olson want to see West Fargo give up control of its water source, so a regional partnership seems less attractive than building a new water treatment plant.
  • Redevelopment of Sheyenne Street: Olson would like to see West Fargo create a dedicated downtown area that would attract visitors and shoppers; he also believes Sheyenne Street south of Interstate 94 is a prime location for retail and restaurants to move into. Wentz supports bringing additional businesses into the old business district to improve that area.
  • Future growth: Wentz wants to see the city commission plan for future development and expansion of the city’s footprint; Olson supports revitalizing older areas of town and filling space in the manufacturing corridor by balancing prudence and vision.

Mayor Rich Mattern, who is running for re-election unopposed, spoke at the beginning of the event about the importance of the sales tax increase to provide an additional $3 million in revenue each year for infrastructure improvement projects as well as examining the feasibility of a West Fargo water treatment plant.

Bernie Dardis of Indigo Signworks, Inc., moderated the event.

The election is June 10. To find out where you will vote, visit the Secretary of State’s website or call the Cass County Auditor’s office at 701.241.5600.

Please remember you will need a form of identification to vote.


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