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New assessment policy will be used on street project

By Staff | Mar 9, 2009

Fourteen Blue Earth residents attended a public hearing on the Eighth and Moore Street project held as part of last Monday’s regular city council meeting.

They heard City Engineer Bill Sayre and City Administrator Kathy Bailey explain what the project will involve, and how much they will be assessed to pay for it.

Sayre explained where new sewer and water mains will be installed, before the street will be repaved.

“Some of these streets do not have mains in place, and there is a ‘spaghetti’ mess of individual water lines running down the boulevards,” he explained. “These areas will get new mains running down the center of the streets, with individual hookup lines running from the main to the residence.”

He added that some of the old mains are broken and also need replacement.

Sayre also explained how the streets would be expanded from their current 30 foot width, to 36 feet. He said only three trees would have to be removed in order to do this.

The engineer warned the residents to be prepared for this work to be done all summer long.

“The work crews will come and dig in one underground line, cover it, then come later and dig another trench for another line,” he explained. “Finally at the end, the street will be paved.”

Access to driveways and parking could be a problem during the construction, he added.

Bailey told the public how the $1.033 million project will be paid for.

Each property owner will be responsible for paying for the individual water and sewer lines from the mains to the shutoff valves, or to the house itself.

“However, the cost of the new mains is being spread out to all city residents through an increase in water and sewer rates and fees,” Bailey explained.

The property owner is going to be assessed for 30 percent of the cost of the new streets, curbs and gutters. The other 70 percent, Bailey said, is going to be paid by the city – using the tax levy increase money they have collected for the past two years.

Bailey presented a chart showing the estimated assessment for each of the property owners in the project area. Even with a lot of the cost spread out over the city, each property owner will still be assessed between $5,000 and $7,000 – or more.After the public hearing, the council voted to proceed with bids for the project. They also gave the final OK to the new assessment policy, and passed resolutions to raise the sewer and water rates across the city. Councilman Dick Maher voted no on the sewer rate increase, “as a matter of principle – they are too high already,” he said.

Another vote lowered the monthly recycling fee from $2.37 to $1.77, however.

In other business at Monday’s meeting, the council:

– On a split vote (Councilmen Dan Brod and Les Wiborg voting no), decided to authorize plans and specs to be drawn-up for the airport runway expansion project,

– Heard from representatives of the state Jaycee program that they are trying to resurrect a Jaycee Club in Blue Earth.

– Heard an annual report from Shelly Greimann concerning the activities of the Convention and Visitors Bureau.