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Hearings lead to assessment changes

October 15, 2010
By Deb Gau

MARSHALL - Public hearings on street and utility improvement projects Thursday night resulted in a better outcome for some Marshall business and property owners - specifically, some lower assessments and more time in which to pay them.

In a special meeting of the Marshall City Council, a series of five public hearings on assessments for construction on Bruce Circle, Peltier Street, Clarice Avenue, C Street and the new Commencement Boulevard near Marshall High School took place.

Objections to the assessment on the Clarice Avenue project were raised by Independent Lumber of Marshall and the owners of the Independent Lumber property, and Dr. Anthony Nwakama. Written objections were also received for deferred assessments on neighboring farmland.

Michael Klein of Independent Lumber and property owner Don Klein said they felt an assessment of more than $106,000 on the business' property was unjustified. The street being built is along the back side of the Independent Lumber property, Don Klein said, and "It's not going to benefit me one bit."

Michael Klein also questioned whether the Independent Lumber property would benefit from the water service included in the proposed assessment roll.

In a written objection Michael Klein gave the council, he also said the business' assessed property value has increased more than 200 percent and its property taxes more than 300 percent over the last four years.

Nwakama, who was being assessed a total of more than $200,000 for six lots in the Clarice Avenue project, also asked if it would be possible for a longer period of time in which to pay the assessments.

Business owners affected by the Clarice Avenue project assessments raised concerns that construction was being done primarily for the new Menard's store's benefit. They also questioned whether their own businesses should be assessed as much as they have. Marshall public works director Glenn Olson said the intent of the construction project was to open the area up for other future development.

Council member Mike Boedigheimer asked whether a reduction in the Independent Lumber assessment could be made, similar to adjustments for owners of corner lots, and whether property owners being assessed could opt for a longer payment period.

Council member Charlie Sanow said he had concerns about a longer payback period's effect on city bond payments, but he could understand the Kleins' concerns.

"I wouldn't vote for (the assessment) the way it is," Sanow said. Councilman Dan Ritter said he wouldn't, either.

After a little more discussion, the council voted unanimously in favor of assessment roll adjustments that would take the Independent Lumber property's assessment from about $106,000 down to about $40,000, and in favor of extending the payment period for the non-deferred assessments from 10 years to 15 years.



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