WDAY: The News Leader

Published April 27, 2010, 08:49 AM

Fargo horse park owes 1.4 million in special assessment fees

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - On top of the 150 thousand dollars Horse Race North Dakota owes to local vendors, there's another outstanding balance, this time to the city of Fargo. The price tag: 1.4 million dollars in special assessment fees.

The money isn't due until 2012, but with no races this summer, members of the city's finance committee are worried about payment and tomorrow, they're talking about the future.

When the Horse Park started in 2003, leaders came to an agreement with the city to use tax increment special assessments to develop the park. But things didn't go as planned and in 2008 when the payments were due, city commissioners gave an extension.

One term of the extension was leaders from the Horse Park and Horse Race North Dakota would give commissioners an annual financial review. The hope was that four years down the road, the park's finances would turn around and there would be enough money then to pay the bills.

Without races this summer, finance committee members say they want assurances, and wonder if park leaders will ask for another extension.

“The original goal was to have about 6.5 million dollars of development on that property and in the adjacent parcels and such, and at this point, that hasn't happened. And again that's more pressure on people's ability to pay.”

Since payment was deferred, Costin says Horse Park leaders have not given the city a financial review. Horse Race North Dakota board president Mike Cichy would go on camera with us today, but did say he has never been contacted by the city about payment or reviews.