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Published April 24, 2013, 06:05 PM

Cost of flood protection adds up

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - Higher flood predictions often bring Fargo's bottom line deep in the red, with the city paying more money for protection.

By: Kay Cooley, WDAY Staff Reports, WDAY

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - Higher flood predictions often bring Fargo's bottom line deep in the red, with the city paying more money for protection.

With new, lower forecast numbers WDAY 6 Reporter Kay Cooley shows us how that money has been spent, and how much can still be saved.

For flood protection in Fargo, like the dike here on Oak Street, every foot increase ends up costing the city about one million dollars.

Mayor Dennis Walaker, City of Fargo: "Flood fighting is not a cost wasted or spent, what it is, the key to all of this is protection."

Protection that comes at a high price: 2009 brought a bill of $8.3 million, 2011 came to $6.4 million, with costs this year tacking on more than $379,000 so far.

Walaker: “If we protect our city, so be it."

Each sandbag has a price tag of about a dollar.

Earlier, record high projections would call for 1.8 million sandbags but the lower numbers only need 400,000.

And if these extra bags stay in place and aren't deployed, the mayor says that's $1.4 million in savings, rather than money wasted.

Walaker: "We do not want to spend any tax dollars, any place, on protection that we don't need."

He says even with lower numbers, it's still hard to predict what's necessary.

Walaker: "Some of the rhetoric that we're hearing, we're hyping this, all of that is ludicrous."

And if protection isn't high enough, the costs would be even greater.

Still no word yet on if the city will be reimbursed if the flood waters don't reach a very high level.

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