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Peterson approves assessment policy

By Kirsten Zoellner

Fri, Apr 11th, 2014
Posted in Peterson Government

For some months, the city of Peterson has been pouring over the details of a proposed assessment policy in regards to the 2015 County 25 project. The council had previously discussed setting the cost share at 50 percent city and 50 percent property owner. Financial assistance for the project is being provided by the county for sidewalks, curb, and gutter. There has been confusion over whether this financial assistance would be applied to only the city portion or over total project cost. Consultant Mike Bubany, of David Drown Associates, cautioned the city that adjusting the assessment policy to reflect additional assistance be applied to total project cost, could lead to unfair situations on other projects in the future.

Councilor Gail Boyum laid out some numbers to give the council a clearer vision of what was being proposed, but noted that the numbers are strictly estimates and are subject to change. A 50 percent cost share of the work in question is estimated at $74,649.63 and linear footage along Mill Street/County 25 is 2003.34 feet. Without assistance, the cost for the work equates to $32 per linear foot. Using the example of a homeowner with 100 linear feet of property along the roadway, Boyum noted that the $3,200 cost may not make sense in Peterson, as it would in a similar situation in a larger municipality.

“Our big entryway is Mill Street. I feel like the city should participate in that. Our street is critical and we all benefit from it,” said Boyum.

After further council discussion, a 70/30 assessment policy, with any additional assistance first applied to the city portion, was approved unanimously. Still unclear is whether property owners will have additional options to pay for the improvements other than up front or by putting on their property taxes, with added interest. It was noted that other municipalities have allowed for partial prepayment and options to pay the principal off at a later date. The council will iron out that matter further. The next step in the project, now that the assessment policy is in place, will be setting actual costs through engineering.

Also up for discussion at the April 9 meeting were possible changes to the current chicken ordinance, the Peterson Committee for the Arts, and resolution of a signage dispute along Mill Street.

In the first, talk of changing the current ordinance was presented by Councilor Dave Colbenson and revolved around allowing for additional rotation licensing and/or family licensing. The current ordinance allows for the keeping of 5 hens on a property, with consent by abutting property owners. The proposed rotation licensing would allow those authorized to keep backyard chickens to increase their flock to a maximum of 10 hens, for a period of six months. This would allow for the brunging in of new birds before having to cycle out the older hens, so as not to disrupt the egg production of that flock. A family license, would likewise allow for a maximum of 10 hens, but would allow a property to keep that number year round. The council will discuss the issue further at the next meeting.

The Peterson Committee for the Arts, while newly named, isn’t a new thing, according to Councilor Gail Boyum. The city council has essentially filled the role in the past, but by naming the acting councilors as such, the city of Peterson is able to seek out and attain potential grant funding aimed at increasing awareness of the arts within the city. Boyum has recently sought out $3,000 in funding through a statewide grant. If approved, the city will use the grant for the purchase of a sound system for its restored bandstand. The site is home to a number of events throughout the year, most notably a summer concert series.

Lastly, it appears the city may have resolved an issue regarding signage along Mill Street, in front of Chiggy’s Liquor Store. Councilor Dave Colbenson met with owner Kathy Chiglo to try and address the issues. “I tried to see the best of two worlds and what popped out in my mind is the safety concern of loading trucks. Can we find a compromise and designate that as a loading zone?”

Councilor Barry Erickson suggested the area in front of Chiggy’s and the post office be instead designated as 10 minute parking to allow for a broader usage. It was also noted that a “No Parking” sign at the site isn’t needed and further confuses the issue, as does yellow paint along the curb. Erickson stated that the city had painted grey over the yellow along the curb, but it had worn.

The council agreed to remove the “No Parking” sign, to repaint the yellow curbside grey, and to change the signage to read, “10 Minute Parking, 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. , Monday-Saturday.” In addition, the councilors will speak with the business owners along Mill Street to let them know the plans for the area.

The next regularly scheduled council meeting is Wednesday, May 14, at 7 p.m., at city hall. The public is encouraged to attend.

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