Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

January 9, 2014

Special assessment policy for city?

By Michael Schaffer Managing Editor
The Daily Iowegian

---- — The Centerville City Council appears to be moving toward a more uniform approach when it comes to special assessments for residents living in street improvement project areas.

Depending on what the council does, it could mean the residents living in the East and West State streets and North 10th Street project area will see an increase in their special assessments to help pay for the upcoming street improvement project.

A few months ago, the council voted to reduce those resident's special assessment from 25 percent to 10 percent. What isn't paid for by special assessment is picked up by other funding sources, the bulk of which includes bonding, which then involves Centerville residents and businesses that pay property taxes.

Toward the end of Monday's council meeting, Councilman Rob Lind raised the possibility the council should rethinking their vote to reduce the special assessment for the upcoming street project.

"We need to look at that again before we finalize it to decide where we're going to be, 10 or 25," Lind said. "Because what we do is going to be in place for a number of years. And it has to be fair to the people on this trip as well as 20 years down the road. So, we really need to look at it."

Councilman Jennings Dillard said the city is looking at setting a long-term standard in regards to street improvement special assessments in order to make it fair for everyone.

"In fairness so that the next street project we don't do 2 percent to the homeowners and then everyone else picks up a larger portion of it and the people of State Street will go, 'Wait a minute, I paid 10 percent,'" Dillard said. "So there's a level of fairness that you have to reach to be able to say the next group doesn't have to pay 25 percent."

Lind pointed out the city legally can impose a 25 percent special assessment on residents living in a street improvement project area.

The Drake Avenue street paving project was used as an example of the use of special assessments in the past. The residents living in that project area were hit with a 25 percent special assessment, Patrick Antonen, city administrator, said.

Homeowners living in the 10th, West and East State Street project area potentially are facing a 15 percent special assessment increase.