City explores assessment policy


The city is improving the road in front of your house. What is it going to cost you?
The Montgomery City Council examined passing a special assessment policy at its regular meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 22.
City Administrator Steve Helget told the council one of the Public Utilities Commission’s 2012 goals was to establish a policy that would provide a fair and equitable means of levying the costs of public improvement to the benefitting property owners, and help defray costs from the city. Until now Helget said, there was no uniformity when improvements were made to city streets, sewers, sidewalks, curbs, gutters, etc.
“We were picking which projects we wanted to assess,” he said. “We would assess some and not others. So in setting up (future) reconstruction projects, it would behoove us to have a plan in place.”
As part of the examination of the  proposal, the council reviewed how the policy would charge commercial, residential  and industrial properties and what some of the proposed costs would be for property owners. To come to an average cost, City Engineer Chris Cavett said the plan looked at three areas of Montgomery, then estimated the costs for each. He  added that it also took into consideration the costs the city could recoup for different projects.
A sampling of the à la carte prices for each property owner could be:
• Mill and overlay (grinding upper layer and replacing with new asphalt): $1,500.
• Rehabilitate/pavement replacement (grinding up existing asphalt and mixing with part of underlying base): $4,000.
• Partial reconstruction (removing  the road and rebuilding it): $5,000.
• Full reconstruction (removing the road, gravel, and sand base, usually done with utility repair/replacement): $6,500.
• Storm drainage: $1,500.
After reviewing the prices, Councilor Tim Siebsen asked if/when the city improves Fifth Street, could the estimated costs for each property owners reach  up to $10,200?
Cavett responded that could be the total for the property owners on that road, but prices would be reflective of the market and bids.
Siebsen called that amount, which when totalled equates to 30 percent of the project, “outrageous” when the road is used by a lot of people.
Fellow councilor Jim Mladek, who lives on Fifth Street, disagreed with Siebsen’s opinion and called the amount reasonable, even lower than what he would expect for such a project.
“I like this plan and the way it is laid out,” he said. “I think it is something we should seriously look at. We need to have a consistent plan in place that is adjustable. This looks good to me.”
The council briefly examined payment methods and terms, but plans to set a public hearing at its next meeting on Monday, Feb. 4 before the ordinance is adopted.

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