Council approves 5 street project assessments

Published 9:40 pm Monday, October 22, 2018

Bids come in lower than the original estimates


The Albert Lea City Council approved assessments for five street projects Monday.

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The projects are downtown sidewalk replacement, the 2018 state aid overlay project, Bay Oaks Drive and Sundance Lane reconstruction, 2018 neighborhood improvement work and Johnson Street reconstruction.

Councilors approved assessments for this year’s neighborhood improvement project that features overlay and curb and gutter replacement of residential streets in central Albert Lea at 4.78 percent over 10 years.

Affected landowners Jean Aamodt and Bob Kluender both requested they not receive assessments because of private driveways leading to their properties on Wilby Circle. Albert Lea City Engineer Steven Jahnke said they were being assessed because of a road near the driveway, and they were given the option of contesting their assessments.

The average assessment for 252 affected landowners is $2,136. The highest is $18,475, while the lowest is $298.

Councilors approved a 4.78 percent assessment over 10 years to remove and replace bituminous surface and aggregate base on Bay Oaks Drive from Minnesota Highway 13 to the cul-de-sac and Sundance Lane from Highway 13 to Bay Oaks Drive.

Final project costs have not been announced.

“The bids did come in slightly lower than the original estimate, so both the assessments and city costs are lower than the preliminary estimate — 5.9 percent and 3.6 percent lower,” Albert Lea City Manager Chad Adams said in a report.

For 33 impacted property owners, the average assessment is $5,476, while the highest is $14,671. The lowest is $1,921.

The council set the assessment rate at 4.78 percent over five years for the downtown sidewalk replacement project, which covers Newton Avenue from Fountain Street to Pearl Street, Washington Avenue from Fountain Street to Pearl Street, Clark Street from Washington Avenue to Newton Avenue, William Street from Washington Avenue to Newton Avenue, College Street from Washington Avenue to Newton Avenue, Pearl Street from Washington Avenue to Broadway Avenue, and Water Street from Washington Avenue to Broadway Avenue.

The average assessment 100 affected property owners have for the project is $871. The median cost will be $493, and the highest is $3,869.

Second Ward Councilor Larry Baker said prior to the work, pedestrians had the potential of being hurt due to sidewalk cracks.

“This is a good project to get out of the way,” he said.

Albert Lea Mayor Vern Rasmussen Jr. thanked the contractor for the work, Le-Center-based Ti-Zack Concrete Inc.

Assessments are set to be over 10 years at 4.78 percent interest to be paid by 33 property owners for the state aid overlay project, which included the bituminous overlay and miscellaneous curb and gutter and sidewalk replacement on Margaretha Avenue from Broadway Avenue to Eight Street, Plaza Street from Richway Drive to approximately 3,171 feet east of the road and Plaza Street from approximately 2,060 feet west of Bridge Avenue to approximately 1,112 feet west of the road.

The average assessment for the work is $2,734. The highest is $15,000, while the lowest is $817.

Final project costs came in 15 percent lower than original estimates, Adams said.

“The large lot sizes of these commercial, industrial and agricultural lots resulted in some very large proposed assessments,” he said.

The city hired an appraiser to evaluate the lots to determine the expected increase in property values from the project, which Adams said were “much lower than the preliminary assessments … calculated using the assessment policy.”

“As such, the assessments have been adjusted downward according to the results of the appraisals, with the difference being made up with state aid funds,” Adams said.

Councilors also set assessments for the Johnson Street reconstruction project over 10 years at 4.78 percent interest for the 33 affected property owners. The highest assessment is $9,209, and the lowest was set at $1,648. The average assessment is more than $5,860.

The project is complete, except for boulevard restoration, sod placement and installation of the final lift of bituminous pavement, which is not expected until next spring. The project included the complete reconstruction of Johnson Street from North Shore Avenue to Valley Avenue, including the removal and replacement of existing pavement, curb and gutter, sidewalk, water main, sanitary sewer and storm sewer.

In other action, the council:

• Adopted final assessments for delinquent water and sewer and miscellaneous accounts payable at one year at 4.78 percent increase.

• Had a public hearing for Albert Lea Police Department plans to purchase 26 body cameras for $41,000.

“Body-worn cameras have the capability to enhance public safety, document statements and events between police officers and the community, preserve information for current and future investigations and enhance public transparency,” Adams said in the report. “This must be done while respecting the privacy and rights of those we serve and those who serve.”

About Sam Wilmes

Sam Wilmes covers crime, courts and government for the Albert Lea Tribune.

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