While there are many good reasons to tick the “yes” box in the upcoming citywide vote on the sales-tax increase, the biggest reason comes down to this: We all want to live in a city that values quality of life, supports job growth and attracts new businesses.
In order to accomplish this, it is paramount to meet our city’s basic infrastructure needs of clean water and safe roads. On behalf of the Grand Forks Region EDC board of directors, I urge you to vote yes on Nov. 7.
Our city is facing a $16 million infrastructure funding shortfall over the course of the next six years. Residents now have the option to either share those impending costs with all people who live, work and play in Grand Forks, or face increases to special assessments. The proposed half-cent sales tax will generate approximately $5 million in annual revenue for the next 20 years. It will more equitably distribute the costs of street and water improvements with all those who benefit from those services, including people from outside the area who drive on our streets and use our water.
Generated revenues will create high-level impacts on our community. Investing in safe, well-maintained streets produces a higher quality of living for all of us. Investing in water infrastructure means industry leaders can be confident about access to an affordable water supply, and Grand Forks residents will continue to have a safe, reliable source of drinking water.
Voting yes will help Grand Forks maintain its strong economy. Keeping utility rates low for leading industries results in our region’s ability to attract new businesses and support business expansion. Ultimately, this will generate more high-quality, well-paying jobs and lead to an increase in goods and services purchased in our region.
Put in this context, a half-cent makes a whole lot of sense for Grand Forks. The Grand Forks Region EDC board of directors strongly supports paving the way to a growing and thriving Grand Forks. I encourage you to vote yes on Nov. 7.
Chair, EDC Board of Directors