"Where Fillmore County News Comes First"
Online Edition
Thursday, October 27th, 2016
Volume ∞ Issue ∞

Preston council finalizes street and utility assessment rolls

Fri, Nov 9th, 2007
Posted in Government

PRESTON - The Preston City Council listened to the public at their November 5 meeting. Joe Palen and Brett Grabau of Bonestroo and Associates gave an overview of the 2007 street and utility improvements and the work yet to be finished in the spring of 2008. Palen related that the Corn Cob Acres portion was mostly completed. Some reseeding may be needed and the bituminous wear course will need to be completed in the spring on the other areas including Valley Street area, Center Street, and Main Street.

Palen added that the assessments amount to about 23% of the cost of the total projects. Grabau noted that the city pays for 100% of water main, storm sewers, water services, and sanitary sewers (not the individual sanitary sewer services). Forty percent of the street reconstruction and 80% of the sanitary sewer services are paid for by the property owner. The total project cost is $833,484.95. The total assessed portion is $226,830.36.

The city ordinance sets a maximum assessment for 150' and a minimum of 60' for any individual property.

Palen detailed the appeal process which included an objection in writing by this date, thirty days to file in district court from the day the assessment roll was approved and finalized, and typically the hiring of an appraiser to do a before and after appraisal. A property owner should have an increase in value to his or her property equal to or greater than the assessment.

Citizens have three payment options including full payment within thirty days of assessment being finalized, prepay a portion and pay the remaining over ten years with property taxes, or pay all over ten years with property taxes. Assessments paid over the ten year period will be subject to 5.21% interest on the unpaid balance. Senior citizens that qualify by age and income may have their assessments deferred until the property changes hands or the estate is settled.


Jim Shupe of Oak Drive asked about the assessment being fair as the street was narrow. Palen explained that both sides don't share the cost in that area and that many of the lots are larger and are assessed a maximum of 150'.

Kevin Ostern on Brownsville St. NW complained that the improvements generally decreased the value of his property as water run off damaged his basement and he has recently had a sink hole appear in his backyard. Ostern declared, "What we got was certainly no improvement." City Administrator Joe Hoffman said that damages are a different issue from assessments and that Ostern should meet with him to discuss the damages. He noted that contractors are insured and bonded. Palen blamed in part the historically wet season, but added that it would be best to work with the city staff to address these concerns.

Damita Herendeen, Brownsville St. NW, was concerned about the burden placed on the property owner to prove that an assessment amount exceeds any value from the improvements. The Herendeens objected to the assessment and suggested that the work did not constitute an improvement, and in addition was actually unattractive because the street surface did not blend into the driveway apron.

Council member Heath Mensink concluded that both complaints on Brownsville St. were based on questionable workmanship and were not assessment issues. Mayor Kurt Reicks suggested that they deal with Hoffman and the engineers to resolve the workmanship issues.

Brett Corson, speaking on behalf of his mother Mildred Corson of Washington Street NW, questioned the assessment policy for corner lots and its fairness. He said that he could only speak for his mother, but that he felt all the corner lots were treated unfairly. Mildred Corson said that she lived on a fixed income. Mensink suggested that she file for deferred payment.

Council member Robert Sauer dismissed complaints about the fairness of the city assessment policy noting that the council spent a lot of time on setting an equitable assessment policy. Mayor Reicks agreed and noted that few citizens showed up when the council struggled to set a fair policy.

Sauer made a motion to finalize the assessment roll as submitted, Mensink seconded. The assessment roll was finalized.

No one was in attendance for the sidewalk hearing. The assessment of two property owners was approved to pay for their sidewalks.

Tennis Courts

Joe Hoffman noted that quotes have been received for the new tennis courts. The quotes are in four separate steps of the total construction. Only one quote was received (from Rochester Sand and Gravel) for the initial grading, drainage and base. Palen added that five contractors were solicited and the one bid was the only one received for fall 2007 work.

Mayor Reicks suggested that more bids may come in if the grading work was proposed for the spring of 2008. Palen said that contractors are especially busy this fall due to wet weather and the flood damage. The council decided that a more favorable bid may come in if they reject all bids and resubmit for quotes for the drainage and base work to be considered at their next council meeting. A local quote more favorable had come in too late for acceptance.

Low quote bids for the other three steps were accepted. Paving work is to be done by Rochester Sand and Gravel for $28,489.50. Fencing work is to be completed by Sutherland Fence for $16,182.00. Court surface and treatment and the nets are to be done and provided by Recreational Surfacers for $10,630.00.

Hoffman added that there still is some fundraising being conducted for the tennis courts.

No Comments Yet. Be the first to comment!

Your comment submission is also an acknowledgement that this information may be reprinted in other formats such as the newspaper.