11/23/2012 11:36:00 AM Hampton residents unhappy about property assessments
by Olivia Detweiler
The Hampton City Council meeting on November 13 got off to a late start due to a well-attended public hearing about the property assessments due to the 2012 Utility and Street Project.
Residents voiced their concerns and questions to the city council and Brian Hilgardner, the city engineer, about the assessments that will be paid over 15 years at five percent interest.
Hilgardner explained that when he assessed the properties that fronted the project, he followed the assessment policy that was put in place about seven years ago for the Water Street Project. This policy has all the residential, commercial, and city properties assessed at the same rate based on the linear footage of the property.
Some residents did not think this policy was fair, since some residential properties were paying more than commercial properties.
Hilgardner was aware of these higher numbers and thought they could use some adjusting, so, he did try a benefit appraisal. Hilgardner did not do a benefit appraisal specifically for the 2012 Utility and Street Project, but he used numbers from recent projects in Dakota County to get an idea of what the benefit appraisal numbers would be in Hampton. The appraisal did lower some residential properties, but the downside to the benefit appraisal is that Hampton's policy does not decipher between residential and commercial properties. So, commercial properties would see quite higher assessments with a benefit appraisal.
After seeing all the numbers, Hilgardner suggested the council go with the benefit appraisal's reduced numbers for residential properties and keep commercial properties' assessments based on the city's policy.
The council discussed its options later in the regular city council meeting.
Council member, John Knetter, was in favor of using the city's policy.
"We have a policy and I think we should stick to it," Knetter said.
Council member, Kristina Waltman, said she did not think it would be fair to the people who were assessed seven years ago for the Water Street Project, if the policy was changed, since they were not offered different options.
In a unanimous vote, the city council approved to use the city's current assessment policy for all properties.
The council passed two more resolutions regarding the property assessments for the 2012 Utility and Street. One resolution declared the costs to be assessed. The other resolution described a hearing and the time and location of the hearing.
Election Results Certified
The council certified the results of the Nov. 6, 2012 general election. The election resulted in a new mayor for the city. Timothy Skog won with 196 votes, while current Mayor Paye Flomo had 117 votes.
It was brought to the Mayor's attention that Doffing Street had no streetlights. Originally when the street was put in, there were no houses in that area. Mayor Flomo explained that there are now more residents on the street and traffic has increased, so a light needs to be put up for safety and security reasons.
The council agreed to put lights up on the pole that is already in place.