Center Street Project assessment contract approved by council
The Elgin City Council approved a motion to proceed with a special assessment contract for the Center Street Project at its meeting on Monday evening, March 4. Approval of this contract will allow the process of assessing business and residential property owners along Center Street to move forward by gathering information needed to determine how much each property owner would be assessed.
Prior to the approval of the assessment contract, the council heard from Dale and Connie Ellis, residents of Elgin who live on Center Street. The Ellises stated that they were in favor of the Center Street Project as far as leveling the streets and improving storm sewer drainage. They expressed concern over being assessed for the cosmetic improvements that would also be a part of the project. They suggested that it might be a good idea to better inform Center Street business and residential property owners about what is included in the project and where the council currently is in the decision-making process. It was noted that the council had received a letter from the Ellises, as well as other Center Street property owners, stating concern about the possible assessment and the improvements to be made as part of the project.
Mayor Bill Pfister explained that a public hearing would be held before the council could approve the Center Street Project. Pfister also stated that if an assessment for the project was pursued, both residential and business property owners must be assessed. Residential property owners could not be excluded. Councilmember Mike Baker added that a committee has been formed and will be giving a recommendation to the council regarding the project. The next meeting of the Center Street Committee has not yet been set, but those interested in attending the meeting may contact the city clerk’s office at (563) 426-5998 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org to get more information about a meeting time.
The council then spent several minutes discussing the pros and cons of assessing property owners as a means of raising the funds for the Center Street Project. A suggestion was made that some business owners might be willing to contribute towards the project without being assessed. While this might be true, it was also pointed out that there would be no guarantee of receiving those funds without an assessment. The cost of the assessment to the City was estimated at roughly $20,000, with the revenue it would raise estimated at about $80,000. Mayor Pfister expressed his desire to assess residential property owners at a lower percentage than business property owners. The assessment contract would allow this, although what those percentages might be would have to be determined. The council then unanimously voted to approve the special assessment contract for the Center Street Project.
In other news, City Superintendent Tom Martin alerted the council to a sewer main problem that is being experienced on the east side of Elgin. Martin has explored the issue and discovered that tree roots growing through the sewer main line are the cause of the problem. He stated that some repair work would be needed by this spring or summer in order to fix the problem. The council asked Martin to gather more information on cost and materials for a project like this for a future meeting.
The council also approved the appointment Rod Marlatt as its representative on the Solid Waste Board. Marlatt was present at the meeting and accepted the council’s appointment.
Finally, the council held a public hearing on the Fiscal Year 2014 budget. No one was present to make any comments regarding the budget, which had been made public last month.
The next regular meeting of the Elgin City Council will be held at 7 p.m., Monday, March 18, in the Elgin Public Library.