Lonsdale to reassess 80th St. project

In 2005, the Lonsdale City Council levied an assessment for the construction of 80th St. (also known as Idaho St.) to bring utilities to the newly constructed Lonsdale Elementary School. Benefiting properties, including the school itself, were assessed for   the improvements.  

Also included in the assessment were 57 lots in the Legacy Meadow Subdivision. At that time, the property owner asked the city to split his total assessment of $421,796 between just four lots. The city agreed, and to this date, a memo from City Administrator Joel Erickson states, no portion of the assessed amount has been paid by Legacy Meadows.

In addition, the city received information from Rice County stating that five Lonsdale properties were being forfeited to the state for failure to pay property taxes. Four of those are the assessed lots in Legacy Meadows. 

During the regular meeting on Thursday, Sept. 26, the council approved Resolution 2013-40, approving public auction of the tax forfeited properties. Rice County informed them that the assessments on the properties were canceled upon forfeiture, however as Erickson explained, they can recover some of the assessment from the public sale of the lots. To make up the rest they would need to reassess the 80th Street improvement project. 

  Upon the recommendation of City Attorney Annette Margarit, the reassessment will affect 31 single family parcels still owned by the Legacy Meadows property owner. In a written statement, she explained that the 26 lots that were sold to private owners cannot be reassessed. Margarit also said the full $421,796 could not be imposed against the 31 unsold lots because: “It exceeds the benefit to each lot.” Therefore, she advised that the lots each be assessed $7,399, plus interest –– the amount of benefit the city established in 2005.

  “This is a win-win deal for the city,” Mayor Tim Rud commented. “It’s good we’ll get the money back.”

The council then approved Resolution 2013-41 to reassess the 80th St. project, and scheduled a public hearing for 7 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 14. Erickson said all affected property owners will receive a letter notifying them of the hearing.