Cadwell Avenue became a fresh example of the recession Tuesday.
Crow Wing County commissioners hosted a public hearing to consider a property owner's petition to pave Cadwell Avenue, which is near St. Columbo Road on the east side of Gull Lake. After hearing from residents, the board tabled the issue for about 30 days with Commissioner Phil Trusty opposed.
Amanda and Garrett Pfeiffer asked to have their names removed from the list of property owners in favor of the project.
"It's because of recent job loss," Amanda Pfeiffer said.
Resident Carla Loss said she was in favor of keeping the dirt road because traffic was slower and it was safer for her children. Now with her husband's work hours reduced and her own employer expected to announce layoffs Friday, Loss said she wasn't sure she'd have a job next week. Loss said she didn't know if they'd have money to pay for a project they didn't want anyway.
The road is in Unorganized Territory in the First Assessment District. In August, 75 percent of property owners favored the project but the board denied the petition as the county requires 100 percent participation. Tuesday the board was considering the petition again.
Daniel Jacobson, Cadwell Avenue resident, said the biggest gripe with the road comes from summer dust. He asked if the county had money in the budget for more gravel with calcium chloride to keep the dust down.
Highway Engineer Lyndon Robjent said that gravel treatment is not a maintenance activity in the budget, but the county was considering it.
Lead petitioner Brandi Breitbach said the majority were willing to pay for the road but getting 100 percent agreement was difficult. Property owners planned to pay $36,314 - in a range of about $2,000 to $5,000 per land owner - toward the project, but it was about $5,000 short.
Property owner Gary Hennis said he owned the property free and clear and did not want to be assessed because he didn't want to refinance. When Hennis started speaking directly to Breitbach in the gallery, Tim Houle, county administrator, directed him to speak to the commissioners.
"I'm looking to retire there and I don't want to lose it," Hennis said.
Robjent said options included assessing all Cadwell Avenue property owners equally, accepting the donations and assessing the other property owners opposed to the project to make up the shortfall or denying the petition.
The board discussed whether the requirement for 100 percent agreement may be reduced. Baxter, for example, requires 75 percent for its road project petitions. Robjent said in researching a number of cities and townships none required 100 percent approval for assessments or improvements.
Commissioner Paul Thiede said he'd like to consider perhaps an 80 percent approval from residents if they were able to raise the full amount needed for the road improvement.
RENEE RICHARDSON may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5852.
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