BAXTER — Baxter City Council members cited a tight timeline in agreeing to take another step closer to a trio of street projects dividing neighbors.
The decision comes less than a week after a public meeting brought property owners from Wildflower, Franklin and Woida streets together. At the meeting with residents, the council heard from those who have been waiting for improvements and those who said the assessments would push them out of their homes.
Tuesday the council set an improvement hearing at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 5 at city hall. The proposed $2.7 million project includes sewer, water and road improvements. A super majority vote, four of five council members, will be needed for the project to proceed.
At the Nov. 5 hearing, the city could include authorization to prepare plans and approve a design consultant request for proposal. To date, the city hasn’t done any design work, but did complete a feasibility study with anticipated assessment costs.
The council consensus was to go forward noting it still gave the council options to pull away. The city could stop the project before a contract is awarded but staff noted both contractors and the city would have spent significant dollars by then. About 8-10 percent of the project cost, $230,000 to $270,000, would go toward the design to get to the bidding process. Once the design is completed it is owned by the city and could be used in the future if the project was delayed.
Council member Rob Moser, Jim Klein and Todd Holman spoke in favor of moving forward with the hearing.
Mayor Darrel Olson said these decisions are tough and there were legitimate concerns both pro and con expressed at the recent meeting. Olson said the city was picking up 51 percent of the cost because it was a collector route.
“You know you’ve got your head and you’ve got your heart when you are thinking things through,” Olson said. “I don’t think it will get cheaper. ... As painful as it may be to some, I think the time has come to do that project.”
Proposed assessments for one lot with sewer, water and road amount to $14,381 or would be $10,568 for a lot with existing municipal water services but including of sewer and road costs. The payments, with an interest of 5.7 percent, have a 15-year payback period.
In addition, the cost for private connections to the city system are expected to cost $4,000 to $4,500.
Additional charges and fees include: $600 for a sewer availability charge (SAC) for an existing home and $3,000 for new home; $600 for the water availability charge (WAC) for an existing home and $2,800 for new homes; $500 for a lift station fee for an existing home; $40 city inspection fee; $45 city excavation permit; and $300.65 for the water meter.
The SAC and WAC charges are one-time fees and go to pay for the city’s capital improvements of lift stations, wastewater treatment plant and water treatment plant. And then residents would have a monthly fee for utilities. The city established the SAC and WAC fees in 1990.
The project is described as installing an 8-inch sewer line for a gravity system with residents able to indicate where they want the hook-up stubs located. The sewer line would be extended to the east along Woida Road from Inglewood Drive to Franklin Drive and extended north along Wildflower and Franklin drives from Clearwater Road. In addition, the proposal includes an 8-inch water-main extension along Wildflower and Franklin drives to connect to the city’s existing water system on Woida and Clearwater roads. With the proposed project, the current gravel roads on Wildflower and Franklin would become a 26-foot wide paved surface and Woida Road would have a 40-foot wide paved road with curb, gutter and storm sewer. The city would pay for a bike path similar to the one on Inglewood Road.
Homeowners would be able to move trees in the public right-of-way at their expense.