WDAY: The News Leader

Published October 25, 2010, 10:36 AM

Public half-cent sales tax meeting draws skeptics

Casselton, ND (WDAY TV) - Only 8 days and we'll know if voters say “yes” to a half cent sales tax in Cass County. Tonight, the fourth and final last push public Q & A meeting drew a lot of skeptics.

This was the only meeting outside the metro: it was in Casselton. Many who came tonight haven't even had to so much as move a sandbag near their homes in the city or in rural areas. Some say the county commission is over-stepping their authority.

The last time Vern Kepler had to fight a flood was in '97: he lived south of Fargo. Since then, not even the 2009 flood crept near his property in Wheatland.

VERN: "Oh, no, no, no. I'm not even close!"

And he's not alone. Many of these nearly 40 curious people's homes aren't in danger of flood waters. So questions about how this county wide half cent sales tax will help these homeowners are the biggest concern.

The tax would raise 10 million dollars a year over 20 years. County officials say because the diversion is going to be in the county and not just metro city limits, everyone has a stake in this fight.

DARELL: "I'm sure that you can find some spots in Cass County that aren't affected by any of the floods thus far. But if we ever have a 200 year event or 500 year flood, they may."

TOM: "If we can figure out a way to make something work that we can afford, that's the goal for everyone."

Still, some like Kepler will not be swayed.

VERN: "I will vote it down."

The measure only needs a 50 percent majority to pass, unlike the 60 percent needed in Fargo. If passed, the tax will take effect April 1st, 2011.