Not many restaurants stand the test of time, but one West Fargo gem has just celebrated its 10th anniversary. Maxwells operates at 1380 Ninth Street in West Fargo, and just two years ago celebrated new ownership.
The building previously was Littlefields and owned by Mike Marcil, where Mike Wald served as executive chef. It was renovated and reopened as Maxwells in April 2008, and sold to Wald and general manager Ramon Sosa.
Today, the duo continues to operate Maxwells as a fine dining establishment unique to the area. “We knew that West Fargo was on the grow, and we felt there was a market there to offer something more high end for the food scene,” Wald said. “No matter what it takes, we want to deliver the best.”
What’s next for the restauranteurs? They’ve discussed some other concepts and locations, but feel that it’s best to stay focused on Maxwells to maintain high standards and monitor trends. Wald expressed how proud they are to be part of the West Fargo community. And while he couldn’t name just one favorite dish, he encourages you to stop by to try the lively menu and sample some of the locally sourced ingredients.
“We wanted to bring something classy to West Fargo, but still have a casual cuisine and inviting presence.”
By Patrick Kautzman, CPA, Partner, Eide Bailly LLP
The recently enacted tax reform legislation – informally called the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act – represents the most significant overhaul of our tax laws in over 30 years. Now, businesses large and small are considering the numerous changes that may affect them. The following outlines some key business-related provisions included in the act.
Corporate Tax Rate
The top corporate tax rate was reduced to 21 percent on January 1. The 21 percent rate is a “flat” tax that will apply regardless of a regular corporation’s taxable income; the progressive rate structure imposing a maximum 35 percent corporate tax rate is eliminated. Personal service corporations will also be subject to the 21 percent rate. For a fiscal year regular corporation, with a tax year ending in 2018, the new 21 percent rate will be “blended” with the rates in place prior to January 1, 2018.
Pass-Through Income For tax years beginning after December 31, 2017, the act generally allows a new deduction for individuals, trusts and estates of 20 percent of the domestic qualified business income generated by certain sole-proprietorships and pass-through entities (partnerships, S corporations and LLCs). Depending on taxable income, the deduction may be subject to a limit based on wages paid by the business or wages paid plus a capital amount, and certain service business activities may not qualify for the deduction. This deduction is slated to expire after 2025 like most other individual tax provisions in the act. In light of the tax rate changes, pass-through owners may want to re-evaluate the pros and cons of their current business structure.
Limitations on Net Interest Expense Deductions for net interest expense are limited to the sum of (1) business interest income, (2) 30 percent of a business’s “adjusted taxable income,” and (3) floor plan financing interest for the tax year. Disallowed business interest expense is carried forward indefinitely. Adjusted taxable income is a specially defined term, and the definition changes after 2021 in a manner that will potentially make the limitation’s impact more significant. Businesses with average gross receipts of $25 million or less are exempt from this provision. In addition, certain businesses in the real estate and farming businesses can elect for the interest expense limitation to not apply.
Net Operating Loss Deductions The net operating loss deduction for losses arising in tax years beginning after 2017 will be limited to 80 percent of taxable income. The act generally eliminates the carryback of net operating losses arising in years ending after 2017, but permits an indefinite carryforward.
Full Expensing of Business Assets Qualifying business property, generally whether new or used, acquired and placed in service after September 27, 2017, and before January 1, 2023, will qualify for 100 percent expensing. Under the act, the expensing amount is phased down over four years: 80 percent for 2023, 60 percent for 2024, 40 percent for 2025 and 20 percent for 2026. For some types of property with long production periods and certain aircraft, these dates are extended one year. In addition, the act increases the section 179 expensing limits. It also expands the definition of section 179 property, for property placed in service after 2017, to include tangible personal property used in furnishing lodging (such as furniture and beds in hotels and apartments) and certain improvements to non-residential real property (such as roofs, HVAC property, fire and alarm systems and security systems).
Cash Method of Accounting for “Small” Businesses The act increases the gross receipts threshold for regular corporations and partnerships with regular corporation partners (other than tax shelters) that can use the cash method of accounting to $25 million. In light of this change, affected taxpayers now using the accrual method of accounting may want to consider a change to the cash method. In addition, under the act, this increased threshold for gross receipts can simplify accounting for inventories and complying with the sometimes difficult uniform capitalization rules.
Excess Business Losses Business losses in excess of business income of taxpayers other than regular corporations after 2017 (and before 2026) may be limited under the act. Net business losses in excess of $250,000 ($500,000 in a joint return) will not be deductible in the current year. Excess losses will be carried forward and treated as part of a taxpayer’s net operating loss in the subsequent year. This limitation could apply, for example, to losses from sole-proprietorships and pass-through entities (including farm losses).
An Informed Approach Businesses have much to consider in the changing tax landscape. It is important to discuss your situation with your tax advisors and consider the best options moving forward to take advantage of available opportunities.
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act marks the largest tax act in more than 30 years. The bill has far reaching implications for individuals, corporations and businesses of all sizes. On March 6, Eide Bailly LLP sponsored a special Eggs & Issues to help us break down the implications of tax reform.
The event featured Adam Sweet, principal in Eide Bailly’s National Tax Office, who discussed the impact of tax reform on businesses. “Businesses large and small need to consider the numerous changes that may affect them in relation to tax reform,” said Sweet.
Sweet highlighted several of the key business-related provisions, including:
Corporate Tax Rate
As of January 1, the corporate tax rate has been reduced to a flat 21%. This change replaces the previous tiered rate structure that had a maximum tax rate of 35%.
The act introduced a new deduction for individuals, trusts and estates, known as Section 199A. Sec. 199A provides a deduction equal to 20% of domestic qualified business income generated by certain sole-proprietorships and pass-through entities (partnerships, S corporations and LLCs).
“In light of these tax rate changes, pass-through owners may want to re-evaluate the pros and cons of their current business structure,” he said.
One of the key components of Sec. 199A is the definition of “qualified business income.” This income is made up of income and expense items of a qualified trade or business during the year. However, a qualified trade or business excludes “specified services” such as the performance of services in the field of health, law, accounting, financial services, etc. Sweet was quick to mention that this will be a key point to watch as the IRS looks to flush out definitions related to tax reform in the coming months.
Another point regarding pass-through income are the limits on the Sec. 199A deduction. For taxpayers with taxable income above the “threshold amount,” the deduction can be limited in relation to W-2 wages and, for some businesses, investment in depreciable tangible property.
Full expensing of business assets
Qualifying business property acquired and placed in service after September 27, 2017, and before January 1, 2023, qualifies for 100% expensing, regardless of if it’s used or new. The act phases down expensing amounts over four years from 2023 to 2026.
The act also increases the maximum amount a taxpayer can expense under section 179 to $1,000,000 and increases the phase-out threshold amount to $2,500,000, for taxable years beginning after 2017. This includes tangible personal property used in furnishing lodging and certain improvements to non-residential real property.
Meals and Entertainment Expenses
The act eliminates deductions for entertainment, amusement or recreation expenses and membership dues for clubs “organized for business, pleasure, recreation or other social purpose.”
“This provision will affect a number of businesses. It’s important to review employee reimbursement policies and set up accounts to capture limited amounts,” Sweet said.
Employer provided eating facilities will be subject to the 50% deduction limitation through 2025. The act also disallows deductions for qualified transportation fringe benefits and certain expenses to provide commuting transportation for employees.
Sweet was then joined by a panel of speakers to discuss other implications of tax reform. Patrick Kautzman, partner in Eide Bailly’s Fargo office, discussed the impact on individuals, including:
The standard deduction is increased to $24,000 for married filing a joint return and $12,000 for single filers.
Unreimbursed medical expenses will continue to be deductible. The Act lowered the adjusted gross income limitation to 7.5 percent for 2017 and 2018.
Tax reform repealed the itemized deduction for state and local taxes, effective after 2017, with the exception of a $10,000 annual allowance.
The deduction for interest on a personal residence is now subject to lower debt limitations. The home equity debt interest deduction is “suspended” from 2018 through 2025, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the interest on that debt is not deductible. The key element in making the determination of interest deductibility appears to be the use of the loan proceeds. Interest on debt to acquire, build or substantially improve a personal residence, meeting the debt level limitations, should still be deductible, regardless of whether the loan is called a mortgage loan or a home equity loan (or line of credit). Debt secured by a personal residence and used for a purpose other than to acquire, build or improve the home, like buying a car or paying for a vacation, would not be deductible. And, acquisition debt incurred on or before December 15, 2017, is grandfathered and is not subject to the lower debt limitations introduced by the act.
Ava Archibald, Co-Director of Wealth Transition Services for Eide Bailly, Sarah West, CFO for Roers, and Dan Kadrmas, President of TrueNorth Steel, also joined the panel to talk about tax reform considerations and implications.
The moral of the story
The new tax reform act is incredibly complex. All the panelists encouraged attendees to take tax reform into consideration as they plan and not be afraid to reach out for help.
“As you go forward, be careful in planning and talk with your CPA about what next steps you should be taking in relation to tax reform,” Sweet said.
Grateful the presenters and panelists spent time discussing the implications on charitable giving like was said, “It will test the resolve of taxpayers if they were giving for true charitable purposes or for tax benefits. Time will tell” #fmwfeggs@FMWFChamber@MStateFndation
A long-running Moorhead business has been a quiet staple in the fabric of the FMWF and surrounding communities for over five decades. Even now in their second generation, Rick Electric, Inc. is a humble family-owned and operated service company with down-to-earth employees and tried and true practices.
Today Rick Electric, Inc. is run by Greg Rick, who serves as president, Denny Rick as EVP and secretary treasurer, and Eric Moe as VP. Greg and Denny’s parents started the company in 1964 as an electrical contractor. Greg has worked there his entire adult life, doing a range of jobs from estimator to project manager. He purchased the business with Denny in 1998.
Many of Rick Electric Inc.’s employees have long histories with the business as well. With about 30 employees making up what Greg calls his “core crew,” seven have been there for over 10 years, five for over 20 and another five over 30. “In this industry, everything is about your people,” he commented.
While the business is based in Fargo-Moorhead, they do plenty of business in the surrounding region – and states – too. In fact, one of their longest-standing clients is the Grand Forks Air Force Base. Greg’s favorite project was when they did 600 new houses and related electrical utilities.
They’re currently working on the Best Buy remodel at West Acres and recently finished remodeling the John Carlson hockey coliseum in north Fargo. Locally, they also put their stamp on SCHEELS, Costco, the Concordia College Offutt School of Business and UND School of Medicine, one of the largest construction projects in North Dakota.
While they offer services for businesses, educational and government institutions, they also maintain a respectable offering for homeowners. Greg says some of the smaller projects they’re happy to do include those items on your honey-do list. “We have six qualified electrical servicemen with stocked vans scheduling those phone calls. A light fixture or a ceiling fan, things like that,” he said.
Throughout the years, they’ve monitored trends to be able to offer the services their clients need. The advancement of technology is the most profound change Greg can recall, including the “Internet of things,” modern security systems and cameras and LED lighting.
The Rick Electric, Inc. crew operates on the most basic customer service principles, which is likely why they’ve gained such a reliable reputation. “Your word is your contract,” Greg said. “If we say we’re going to do something, we do it.”
Looking ahead, Greg is concerned about the workforce and keeping young people interested in trades. To try and support those efforts, they offer a training program for apprentices to work during the day, go to electrical training school paid by Rick Electric, Inc. After the training is complete, they can take their State Electrical test to be a journeyperson and have no college debt.
Other ways they support the community include donating to Minnesota Hockey Day, Habitat for Humanity and the Red River Zoo, and sponsoring various sports teams as they’re able to.
Rick Electric celebrated their 50-year anniversary with a “wire cutting” ceremony with Chamber ambassadors in 2014.
At the 2018 Economic Outlook Forum, we were joined by national economist Stephen Moore, who shared a keynote address on national economic trends and his bullish opinions on where we are as a nation.
He also shared much praise for North Dakota. “I believe you are one of the most prosperous and fastest-growing economies in the country, and I think that is going to continue for the next several years at least,” he said. “I am filled with good news today. I’m about the most bullish economist out there.”
Moore discussed his relationship with Donald Trump, including the tax plan and setting the economic agenda, and how it currently compares to some of the trends seen in previous administrations. He also included the importance of growth and how it can solve just about every problem out there. Putting Americans back to work and growing the economy has to be top priority.
Moore credits North Dakota’s contributions to the shale, oil and gas revolution as the single most important thing that happened in America in the last decade, as well as a key player in how we got out of our most recent recession in the first place.
Speaking to taxes, he noted a trend in residents from typically blue states migrating to red states, due in large part to the appealing tax climate and right to work states. He also praised Trump’s deregulation and noted its positive impact on economy. In fact, for every new regulation passed, Moore says he has repealed 22 regulations during his first year in office.
One more takeaway he included as a story from the Trump campaign was to not always trust the experts–in this case, political forecasters and pundits. “One of the lessons I learned has repercussions for all areas of life. That conclusion was that sometimes — and more often than you think — the experts are wrong.”
Moore’s prediction for 2018 is 3% to 4% growth, and the same for 2019, due to the tax cuts and deregulation from the Trump administration.
Prompted by one audience question about rising prices and supply and demand, Moore gave this thought: “I think we’re in a productivity revolution in this country because of robotics, automated cars, 3-D imaging, all this stuff is exploding. This is the single most exciting time to be on this planet.”
Starion Bank’s Fargo Market President Scott Green also presented on the results of this year’s economic survey from Chamber members.
Of the respondents, most represented the service industry and were small businesses. Half reported experiencing employment issues. Of those, over half said they saw a lack of applicants or unqualified applicants.
The top five business challenges reported were competitive factors, employment issues, growing sales, economic uncertainty, and customer retention. Green noted a pressure being placed on workforce and signs of inflation.
Almost 70% said their business either met or exceeded expectations in the past year. Green called this “outstanding” especially considering the ag and energy sectors have been suffering for the past five years. He also pointed out a more positive outlook for the future locally as compared to the national outlook.
If you follow NDSU Bison football, you’ve probably noticed one local company consistently in support as a major sponsor of the region’s favorite team. And we’re sure you saw them splashed on our own materials as we promoted Voices of Vision with Shaquille O’Neal this past fall. But their support for their community goes far beyond sports.
You can trust that Nodak Insurance Company has North Dakota’s insurance needs covered. In fact, the company is recognized as one of the top 50 property/casualty companies in the nation by The Ward Group. They are also an A (Excellent) rated company from A.M. Best.
They want you to know that they’re not just agents. They’re your friends and neighbors. And more importantly, they’re agents with answers.
The company’s roots go back to the 1940s, when a group of farmers and ranchers got together to insure their buildings and livestock in response to a need from the North Dakota Farm Bureau. It began as a mutual insurance company and over time, grew to cover auto, home, farm and ranch, and commercial needs.
After a few acquisitions and affiliations that allowed them to diversify and spread, the business today is well-equipped to handle all your insurance needs. Nodak’s agents are multi-line. But one of the best things about working with a Nodak agent is that they’re not just there to sell a policy. They are also knowledgeable, and encourage all clients to use them as a resource for questions and information.
Nodak takes pride in their home state seriously. Fargo serves as their home office, and overall they have 135 employees across all companies, as well as over 70 agents and over 60 locations in North Dakota. Another plus, according to Jim Alexander, president and CEO, is that Nodak offers consistency.
Not only has the company been named to The Ward’s 50 for five of the past six years, but many of the business’ senior management have been on board since 2005. Alexander credits the Nodak employees as a key to their success. There’s something about the people in North Dakota,” he said. “You see hard-working and loyal employees who want to make this a career, and that makes us unique.”
So what can you expect from Nodak Insurance Company next? It’s all about continued growth and expansion of their offerings and a focus on increasing shareholder value. A change from being a mutual to a stock insurance company last year allowed them to raise more capital to do this.
You may think of insurance as a slow-to-change industry, but Nodak has evolved and changed with the times. From the use of technology to improve the customer experience, to use of big data, and cyber protection for customer’s data, and simple web portals to cut down on paper. “You have to look for ways to provide outstanding service and never settle,” Alexander stated. “We work every day to get better, and we’re excited for the future.”
To meet the lifetime financial needs of our North Dakota Farm Bureau member clients by providing competitive products and superior service.
To be North Dakota’s choice as the single source for its insurance and financial needs.
• Strive for Excellence
• Success through Teamwork
Yesterday at the Delta by Marriott, over 500 women had the privilege of hearing from national keynote speaker and the inspiring and engaging adventure racer Robyn Benincasa for a special anniversary celebration.
Committee members Kristi Huber, United Way, and Carrie Carney, Eventide, welcomed attendees and played a video recapping the past year of Women Connect programming.
When Robyn took the stage, she immediately engaged the crowd with her high energy, intriguing stories and relatable jokes. The presentation featured numerous video clips of her adventures around the world that illustrated her key takeaways, and there were countless inspirational quotes uttered.
Throughout the talk, Robyn shared the four essential elements that make winners win.
The way you show courage is by finding a way to bring your best self even on your worst day, she said. “You don’t have to stop crying; you just have to keep walking.”
“When I say luck, I mean the moment where opportunity meets preparation. Great winners are always scanning the horizon for opportunities.”
This refers to the ability to adapt and respond to change. “It’s not about the setback; it’s about the comeback. … Do the best you can with what you’ve got.”
We-thinking vs. me-thinking
Learn to work with a team. If your goal can be accomplished alone, it’s too small. “Being a winner isn’t about a particular outcome. It’s about who you are and what you do.”
All attendees were also treated to cute desserts from the Delta, take-home inspiration coasters, and a challenge from Robyn herself: Set one huge personal goal to achieve in the next 60 days and tell two people about it.
Here are a few responses from attendees in our survey!
“I was so inspired by Robyn. She had a strong message yet was relatable enough to make me believe it was achievable.”
“Loved her and her story. Great enthusiasm and energy. She tied her racing with so many wonderful life lessons.”
On a stormy winter morning, over 600 people gathered at the Holiday Inn for an update on our metro cities from four local mayors at the 2018 State of the Cities. We heard updates on achievements from 2017 and looked ahead to plans and priorities for the coming year. The mood was once again positive, and we celebrated themes of growth and prosperity. Joel Heitkamp, KFGO, and Mark Nisbet, Xcel Energy, served as emcees.
Thank you to presenting sponsor Xcel Energy!
Updates from Chad Olson, Dilworth
In our easternmost city, mayor Olson lamented the closing of their local Dairy Queen, but noted the silver lining in the opening of Kool Kone. Casey’s is expanding, and is even in talks of buying the city hall. “In 2018, we have to have a larger look to how we effectively use space and maximize tax dollars,” he said.
It’s big news that some industry giants like BNSF and ALDI are investing in building in the town. “Symbolically, as you see the 34th Street corridor grow, this is the ideal opportunity to grow businesses from its infant stages and develop throughout the region. This also highlights the interconnectedness of our region,” he said.
Looking at housing in Dilworth, mayor Olson noted that residential lots were full in 2017, which makes growth a challenge. Ultimately, what prevailed was an outside company that came in and will build approximately 20 lots in the Summerwood 3rd addition. In addition, in September, an extension to the East was approved to build a Keystone development. “When we put these two together, we’re looking at nearly a 100-acre property,” he said. “These will resolve our issue with lots, maintain the integrity of existing neighborhoods, offer high-quality affordable housing and we’re going to grow the city of Dilworth in a very pragmatic and sustainable fashion.”
Olson also praised some of the city’s employees, including the police’s efforts to serve the community. Last year’s Home for the Holidays program served over 200 families in the region, and 18,000 pounds of supplies were donated to hurricane relief.
Updates from Del Rae Williams, Moorhead
In Moorhead, we heard about population growth to near 45,000, and the building of 640 new single family homes and 964 new multi-family apartments. The schools grew as well, with the new Dorothy Dodds opening, as well as West campus for Horizon Middle School, and expansions on the college campuses. Moorhead is also proud to boast about its new diverging diamond interchange on 8th Street and I-94. We now look ahead to the railroad grade separation.
The city debuted a new recycling program, and an upcoming materials recovery facility in Clay County will save on recycling transportation costs. A new law enforcement center coming soon will also increase efficiency, safety and effectiveness of police efforts.
An arts & culture commission and its projects is one of mayor Williams’ favorite accomplishments.
“Along with strong department leadership and a dedicated workforce, Moorhead is well positioned to continue to grow and prosper,” she closed with.
Updates from Tim Mahoney, Fargo
Mayor Mahoney used four key words to describe the city of Fargo: innovative, responsive, efficient and strategic.
In 2017, Fargo signed wastewater agreements with West Fargo and Horace. Police hosted various Unity events to interact with local youth. The city won a national energy prize. The Roberts Commons parking garage opened, marking one of the first P3 projects downtown.
We’ll also be seeing work to improve the landfills, and single-sort recycling program is now in motion. On the roads, the 32nd Avenue corridor project was completed last year with the NDDOT. In 2018, we’ll see work on improving University Drive, 10th Street North, Roberts, Fourth Street South and 13th Avenue.
Narcan is now in schools, and police and firefighters are trained in administering Narcan, to address the opioid crisis.
The new city hall is expected to be completed in 2018, and the F-M Diversion remains a top priority for the city.
He also mentioned a public arts master plan, FARGODOME attendance records, Bison football wins and the new Sanford hospital.
Mayor Mahoney’s video closed with a thank you message to everyone that helps make Fargo the best place to live, raise a family and operate a business.
Updates from Rich Mattern, West Fargo
In our westernmost update, the city of West Fargo now boasts a population of 35,000, with 9,000 people coming into town for work. Mayor Mattern mentioned various infrastructure improvement projects, including the major Sheyenne Street reconstruction and the partnership with Fargo for sewage treatment.
The city is also seeing major growth in its schools. The 13th elementary school opened last year. A 14th is being built now, and a 15th is planned.
Veteran’s Blvd continues its development, and Sheyenne Plaza was completed. More developments are providing infill growth. Plans for Lights at Sheyenne 32 were unveiled for even more mixed-use buildings. A West Fargo Convention Center at the fairgrounds is another major project coming soon.
Mattern also mentioned that the fire department transitioned to a volunteer system for faster response time and better safety.
If you missed the event or want to rewatch it in its entirety, you can find re-airings on TV Fargo 56.
Live Poll Results
We conducted two live polls to engage our audience and see what they think most matters.
On question 1, we asked which community issue you thought was most important right now. With 39% of the vote, the top answer was once again workforce.
In question 2, we asked if you think the cities should continue to take advantage of business tax incentive programs. 70% of you said YES.
One can hardly mention Homeward Animal Shelter without getting warm fuzzies over everything this organization does for animals in our community.
You may remember them as the former Humane Society, which served our community for 51 years, with the mission of preventing the euthanization of impounded animals in the area. Since July 2014, they’ve been known as Homeward Animal Shelter with the core value of bringing pets and people together. And, they’re the only shelter in the area that rescues both cats and dogs.
This shelter takes in over half of the stray, lost and abandoned animals that end up in local pounds. They also take in pets surrendered by their owners as well as transfers from other rescues. Once in their care, they make sure all their basic needs are met while they wait to be placed with their human companion.
During the last 51 years, it is estimated that Homeward Animal Shelter has placed 35,000 cats and dogs into lifelong homes. In 2016 alone, 837 animals found families to call their own.
In fact, they achieved the impossible in 2016 by adopting every single dog in their care. It is something that has never been done before in our area. And the records don’t stop there. This past October, they adopted out over 100 animals in that month alone.
At the helm of it all for over 10 years is the shelter’s executive director, Nukhet Hendricks, whose passion for her work overflows when she speaks about the animals in her care. “The organization is about not just rescuing, but creating a partnership with our community, educating people about the compassionate care of animals, being an advocate for them, and making sure that families have a four-legged friend in their home, because pets are the fabric of our lives,” she said.
Homeward Animal Shelter has also been a major player in emergency animal sheltering, as demonstrated in 2009 while successfully housing and caring for over 200 animals belonging to misplaced families during the flood.
Volunteers are an invaluable part of the organization. Over 160 volunteers every week assist with socializing pets, assist with fundraising, adoption events and processing adoptions. They provide volunteer opportunities for individuals of all abilities and ages as young as 8.
“Non-profits are created because one person cannot do what they believe in by themselves,” Hendricks said. “Donors invest and trust in us to know we will do the right thing by the animals. They invest in our organization, and we can do more together than we could alone. That’s what keeps us going. I have the best team ever, and they never cease to amaze me.”
The impact of Homeward Animal Shelter is immeasurable, affecting both humans and pets alike, and it’s clear that they’re leaving a positive paw-print on the community.
How to help
Monetary donations are most helpful for Homeward Shelter to care for their animals and continue their mission. To donate, volunteer, adopt or learn more, visit homewardonline.org or call 701.239.0077.