Assessment increases proposed for street projects in Stillwater

Assessment rates due to street projects could increase pending the outcome of a future presentation to the Stillwater City Council.

City Engineer Shawn Sanders reported that he and his staff have been instructed to look at possibly increasing the amount charged to residents on street projects. Sanders said project costs and the assessments associated with that are currently not sustainable for the city.

Proposed increases suggested in a memo include:

• Mill and overlay project increases: Over the last three years the total would be $2,000 per unit. If they were increased to either 75 or 100 percent, the rate for assessed properties would be $3,000 to $4,000 or an annual cost of $15 to $200 per year for the life of the overlay, which is usually 20 years.

• Street reconstruction: Over the past three years, rates have varied from $4,779 in 2012 to $10,500 in 2013. The differences vary due to the type of work performed. Increasing the assessed amount to 75-100 percent would have resulted in an increased assessed amount from $7,168.50 to $9,558 in 2011 and from $15,750 to $21,000 in 2013. It is difficult to say what the future projects assessed amount would be, but they wouldn’t be expected to reach the magnitude of the 2013 project. The estimated amount for an assessment at a rate of 60-75 percent would be from $8,000 to $10,000 per unit.

• Street work would be increased to 80 percent of the cost, and reconstruction would increase to 70-75 percent.

• An increase to the storm water utility fee could be considered to increase the sanitary sewer fund, which the city auditor had said in the past needed to be righted. The storm water utility fee is charged to all properties in Stillwater for storm water purposes. The addition of a curb and gutter was strongly recommended. Curb costs averaged $120,000 over the past three years, and the base rate would have to be increased by $1.75 per quarter amount.

Sanders, along with city staff were instructed to look into the ideas and determine which would be most beneficial to the city in the long run.

The council also:

• Approved a leasing agreement for the administrative/investigative vehicles for the police department.

The following four cars are being considered: A 2006 Dodge Charger, a 2006 Chevy Trailblazer, a 2007 Ford Edge AWD and a 2008 GMC Acadia AWD.

A 48-month lease on the three cars would cost $20,632.61, while a 60 month lease would cost $19,175.55

In a memo to the council, the police chief said that the department preferred the 48-month lease due to the fact that trade-in values of the vehicles are easy to determine and would allow the department to evaluate the cost of entering the next lease if it so desired.

• Learned the application window for a request for proposals for a new event coordinator closed Feb. 26.

The city has since narrowed the pool of candidates to three people and will hold interviews over the next couple of weeks. The event coordinator would meet with groups interested in bringing events to Stillwater to determine what they would need and if their idea would be a good fit for the area. They’d also help get the necessary permits, materials or city services needed, ensure that things ran smoothly and handle crises that may arise. They’d also act as liaisons between the city and event organizers.


Contact Avery Cropp at [email protected]