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Paynesville Press - October 6, 2004

City to hold hearing on street assessments

By Bonnie Jo Hanson

With construction on the 2004 street improvement project nearly finished, the Paynesville City Council will hold a public hearing on the assessments on Wednesday, Oct. 13, at 7 p.m. at city hall.

Residents affected by the assessments, who have been notified of their final assessment amounts, will have the opportunity to ask questions about their assessments or protest them.

With a final cost of $1,230,500, the street improvement project was completed for less than originally estimated ($1,416,000), which helped lower assessment amounts from the previous estimates.The city further reduced assessment rates by changing the way it figured some of the assessments.

Of the total project costs, the city will pay $800,100: half of street and storm sewer costs ($499,942); for water and sanitary sewer mains ($213,270); for building new sidewalks ($44,570); and for a stormwater retention pond near Railroad Street at the site of the former elevator ($42,340).

The remaining costs of the project ($430,400) will be assessed to adjacent property owners in the form of special assessments.

The final assessment rate for residents on streets that were rebuilt with curb and gutter - part of Belmont Street, Belmont Drive, Hudson Street, part of Railroad Street, and part of Lake Avenue - is $43.82 per foot of frontage property.

With a large amount of side frontage on the streets that were rebuilt, original assessment estimates were as high as $65 per foot. Because other city projects were completed with much lower assessments - an average of $39.36 per foot of frontage - city engineer Pete Carlson figured the assessment rate differently for this project. Instead of figuring side frontage amounts at half, as he normally does, total frontage was used to figure the assessment rate, but only half of the side frontage was actually assessed.

For example, the street assessment for a property on Belmont Street with 100 feet of frontage is $4,382 while another property owner with 105 feet of side footage will be assessed $2,300 for half of the frontage amount.

In addition, residents on rebuilt streets with new sanitary sewer mains will be assessed $800 for it, and residents with new water mains will be assessed $900 for it.

Assessments for most homeowners on these streets ranged from $3,000-$6,000.

In the Industrial Park, including Industrial Loop, Minnie Street, Ampe Drive, and Claire Avenue, streets were overlayed with asphalt. Property owners will be assessed $5.87 per foot of frontage property. These assessments ranged from $500 to $2,000 per property.

Property owners along Service Road - a gravel road along Highway 55 leading to the city's BMX park which was paved with curb and gutters added - will be assessed $52.09 per frontage foot.

Assessments for Service Road would have been higher, but the city assumed half of the costs, since the road only has property owners on one side. The total cost of the Service Road improvements was $65,950. If the city had assessed the entire cost to the businesses on Service Road, assessments would have been more than $100 per foot. Instead, the city opted to pay the assessments for the north side of the street, which lowered the assessments to $52.09 per foot.

Several businesses were assessed $5,000 per lot on Service Road.

Residents can either pay their assessment in full within 30 days or pay in installments over 10 years. Installment payments will also have to pay 5.25 percent interest over 10 years.

Streets that were rebuilt in this year's project will receive a final layer of asphalt next spring, after any settling over the winter is done, according to Carlson.

The 2004 street project is the fourth phase of the city's 10-year street improvement plan. Now, two phases remain - in 2006 and 2008 - and include portions of Liberty Street, Minnesota Street, Cedar Street, Pine Street, Richmond Street, Burr Street, August Avenue, Washburne Avenue, Koronis Avenue, and Koronis Court.

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