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Assessments for this year's street work approved by City Council

WILLMAR -- The Willmar City Council on Monday night approved assessments to help pay the cost of this year's street improvements. Each year, the city reconstructs and overlays a certain number of streets and 75 percent of the costs are assessed against benefited property owners.

The total cost of this year's improvements is $2,084,176, of which $1,294,842 will be assessed to property owners. Costs are assessed per lineal foot of property benefited by a project. This year's assessment cost of $55.88 per foot for reconstruction is below the 2009 assessment of $57 per foot. This year's assessment of $23.06 per foot for overlays is below the engineer's estimate of $25 per foot.

City officials said assessment rates decreased this year due to lower construction costs. The city will be reconstructing 1.2 miles of streets, overlaying 1.23 miles of streets and constructing .39 mile of new streets.

The council held a public hearing before adopting the assessments and took comments from some of the dozen citizens attending the hearing.

Scott Swartz, who lives on a cul-de-sac where 25th Avenue Southwest will be reconstructed, said neighbors asked, among things, if a decorative-style light pole in the median could be saved. He said the median and light pole will be removed. City Public Works Director Mel Odens said his department is discussing the lighting issue with Willmar Municipal Utilities.

Herve DeCathelineau, who lives on Seventh Street Southwest where an overlay project is slated from Willmar Avenue to 1,690 feet north, said he was concerned about the cost of the project. He said the street was last worked on about 27 years ago and he said his property was not assessed.

Also, he said Willmar Avenue is designated as a county road and he said the neighbors were wondering if Kandiyohi County is paying part of the cost. "We know the street has to be repaired,'' he said.

Odens said the county will be sharing in the cost of the project.

Mel Linn, who lives on 10th Avenue Southeast, said he received an assessment notice for an address on 23rd Street Southeast where another overlay project is planned. After some discussion between Linn and officials, City Clerk-Treasurer Kevin Halliday said Linn incorrectly received an assessment notice and will not be assessed.

In other business, the council:

- Received a report from Rice Hospital Chief Executive Officer Michael Schramm about a four-phase, $5 million project to upgrade and expand the Rice Care Center.

- Received a report from Municipal Utilities General Manger Bruce Gomm about the two-hour power outage that affected most of Willmar on May 18.

- Approved a resolution acknowledging the change in the ultimate corporate parent holding company of En-Tel of Willmar. The parent company will change from Iowa Telecom to Windstream Corporation.

- Approved the preliminary budget of $272,000 to rebuild the parking lot and trailhead at Swansson Field.

- Voted to allow the Fire Department to conduct training exercises at 518, 522 and 526 Second St. S.W., and at 210 45th Avenue S.E.

- Voted to sell the 1990 Fire Department rescue van to Grove City Fire Department for $45,000.

- Voted to apply for and accept grant funding from the Minnesota Institute of Public Health for alcohol compliance checks at the rate of $30 per licensed establishment from July 1, 2010, to May 15, 2011.

David Little
David Little covers the Willmar City Council, Willmar Municipal Utilities and other city news.
(320) 235-1150