Gladstone OKs special assessment

GLADSTONE — After some residents and business owners within the 9th Street Project’s special assessment district were heard, the Gladstone City Commission unanimously approved the special assessment resolution for the 9th Street Project.

The 9th street project includes a total reconstruction of 9th Street — including work on storm drains, water lines and sewer lines from Minneapolis Avenue to 4th Avenue — as well as work on other streets, avenues and alleys. The work on 9th Street will also include work on some of the sidewalks and the addition of a bike lane.

The 9th Street project will encompass parts of 9th Street, Delta North and South alleys, 6th Street, Superior Avenue, 11th Street, the alley between Minneapolis and Wisconsin avenues, 3rd Avenue, 8th Street, Superior Avenue, and the sanitary sewer on 4th Street.

Interim City Manager Eric Buckman explained the project will cost $4.8 million, which the city plans to pay for with a 15-year capital improvement bond through Robert W. Baird Co., an American multi-national independent investment bank and financial services company based out of Milwaukee.

The payment each year of the 15-year re-payment period would be around $382,000. The special assessment of the properties within the project scope will be around $2.67 a linear foot, which would contribute around $48,000 to the $382,000 annual payment.

The sources of funds for the project are $25,000 from the general fund, $48,000 from special assessment, $29,400 from major street fund, $9,600 from the local street fund, $25,000 from the wastewater fund, $18,000 from water fund, and $227,000 from the Downtown Development Authority.

“So percentage-wise the city and various departments — water and wastewater — are paying 28 percent, the DDA is paying 59 percent of the project and the special assessment of $48,000 comes out to about 13 percent,” Buckman said.

Four individuals who either live or own a business within the 9th Street Project scope voiced their opinions on the special assessment during the public hearing.

Rod Phillips stated although he felt some of the roads within the project were in need of repair, he was frustrated with how the city had spent money on frivolous projects in the past and how the system is reliant on special assessments.

Jeff Diebolt expressed his concern with how he and others within the DDA district and within the special assessment district were paying for the bulk of the project when others in the city and outside of the city contribute to the wear and tear of the roads, as well.

Another individual, Jason Wells, stated how he didn’t see an issue in the alleys or streets near where he owned property. He said he doesn’t see why the city has to do the whole project scale they laid out for the 9th Street Project.

Although the three others that spoke during the public hearing were not in favor of the special assessment, Jay Bostwick had nothing but good things to say about the project.

He commended Buckman for getting the project to its original scale and hopes the project will be moving forward as soon as possible.

After the public hearing closed, commissioners motioned for the special assessment to be approved.

Before it was approved by the commission, some of the commissioners spoke on the necessity of the project and how a special assessment was the only way to get the project done.

“I’d just like to mention to everybody that spoke and the people that came out, thank you for coming out and paying attention to this project,” Commissioner Brad Mantela said.

He added to improve the city of Gladstone projects like the 9th Street Project are what needs to be done and unfortunately special assessments are the tools the commissioners have available to fund projects of this scope.

Commissioner Dave Phalen said he agreed with Phillips in that some of the projects the city had spent money on before were frivolous.

“I didn’t like the way they just jacked our rates up here and there all willy nilly,” he said.

Phalen continued to say in the four years he had been on the commission, the 9th Street Project was the biggest project they had taken on and that he truly believes it is a benefit to everyone in the city.

“I agree with the special assessment. I never ever agreed with special assessments, but it is the way things get done within the city. Everybody ends up paying that special assessment. I’ve had to, Commissioner Hunter’s had to, my parents have had to — I’ve lived here my whole life. It’s a necessary evil is all I can really say on it. And I apologize, but if we want to get this project done that’s what we have to do,” he said.

Mayor Joe Thompson said the alternative would be to do nothing, which would not improve the city.

The city commission unanimously approved the special assessment for the 9th Street Project.

In other business, the commission:

– approved the minutes of the regular city commission meeting on Aug. 26.

– approved the payment of a $7,373 bill for the outfitting of a new Gladstone Public Safety Department patrol vehicle. The costs of the cruiser were budgeted.

– decided to review past documents from the previous city manager search as a step in finding a new city manager.

– motioned for the rezoning request, which was recommended by the planning commission after holding public hearings, to be placed on the agenda for the city commission Sept. 23 regular meeting. The rezoning request is for the 200 block of Dakota South to Minneapolis. The properties would be rezoned from a two family residential to a multi family residential classification. City Clerk Kim Berry was also directed to post notices of the public hearing for the rezoning.

– tabled the request from the Housing Commission to reduce their Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) from 10 percent to zero. The Gladstone Housing Commission currently pays 10 percent of the aggregated Shelter Rent as its annual PILT, which comes to around $24,000 and is split between various taxing entities.

– approved the resolution to implement a local pavement warranty program. The Michigan Legislature created a requirement as part of the Transportation Funding Package of 2015 that requires each city and village to adopt a local agency pavement warranty program that was approved by MDOT in 2018.

– named Barry Lund, Department of Public Works supervisor, as the city’s street administrator.

– named Michael Kennedy as the Gladstone representative of the WPPI Energy’s Board of Directors.

– named Barry Lund as the Gladstone representative to the Delta Solid Waste Management Authority.