Transparency is something that is talked about often. When it comes to government and tax payer's money, there needs to be as much transparency as possible.
There have been a couple of topics that have come up to show increased transparency is needed:
One example is the City's decision to not maintain the unimproved alleyways (except snow removal). Over 300 properties line the 2 miles of unimproved alleys. The City states that it costs a lot to maintain the alleys ($500-600 per block per instance). I initially heard about this policy change on the Nextdoor app. I reached out to our commissioners and was told by the one that responded, that they hadn't heard anything about it. Through some additional e-mails, and others raising concern, the City decided to send out letters to talk about what was happening and that they would be setting up meetings this winter to discuss what these property owners want to do. My question is, why did it have to take many people reaching out to get something from the city? Had the person not posted something on Nextdoor, no one would know what is happening. This policy change is going to affect residents along the alleys because if there is maintenance that needs to be done, the City will charge the property owners. The alleys also may be assessed if it is determined that the best case is to improve the alleys and upgrade drainage. If no maintenance is done on the alleys, those that have garage access from the alley, access could be lost if the alleys fall in disrepair.
One other example was during a recent City Commission meeting. There was a first reading of an ordinance that would actually be removed. However, it was raised by a couple of Commissioners that they hadn't heard anything about it. The Commission should be as involved as possible. They are elected officials and should be kept informed of what is happening, so they can work to make the best decision for the Residents of West Fargo. The ordinance discussed is one that generates some revenue for the City through signs on benches throughout the city. Removing the Ordinance and ending the program, the City would lose another source of revenue that offsets costs, thus putting a higher burden on the taxpayer.
I will work to make sure that things like this do not happen when I am Commissioner. While these may be some one-off examples, it is important that any policy change or what is brought up in a meeting is discussed with Commissioners so that they can make informed decisions, and have the time to determine how it would affect the Residents. Any changes that affect residents, and how their tax money is being used, no matter how small, I want to be communicated.