In an attempt to bring the city code up to date as it relates to special assessment districts, the city of Soldotna this evening will be recommending tossing out the existing chapter and replacing it with clearer and less cumbersome rules for those seeking local public improvements.
The proposed ordinance is on the city council's consent agenda, and unless a council member asks for a separate discussion on the proposal, it will be introduced tonight and be set for a public hearing Oct. 24.
Special assessment districts, or SADs, are instruments created for financing a public improvement that primarily benefit property owners within a limited geographical area rather than benefiting the entire community.
"A common example is paving a street in a local neighborhood where the property owners on that street are the people most likely to benefit from the improvement," said Leila Kimbrell in a memo to Mayor Dave Carey and the city council. Kimbrell is special projects and research assistant to City Manager Tom Boedeker.
Kimbrell said the SAD chapter now in effect was adopted by the council in 1986 and has become outdated.
Among the changes in the proposed revision is instituting a non-refundable $500 filing fee to offset administrative costs such as publishing notices and other notifications required when creating an SAD. Currently there is no fee, according to Carey.
Another change would lengthen the amount of time from three months to six months for property owners to remove their signatures from a petition. Kimbrell said that would provide an assurance the petition is not filed frivolously and allow administration enough time to process a petition carefully.
The new chapter establishes an order of delegation, according to Carey, clarifying which department moves the petition along through the process, with the city clerk ultimately presenting it to the city council.
Additionally the chapter would allow qualifying SADs to apply for Street Revolving Funds to cover up to 50 percent of the total project cost.
Previously state law allowed property owners older than 65 to be exempt from special water and sewer assessments; the city code also allowed the exemption in its chapter of SADs. The state law was repealed in 1987, and the new chapter removes the provision in the city code as well.
"This simply conforms to state law," said Carey.
Also on tonight's consent agenda is a $100,000 appropriation for a conceptual design for a public library expansion.
The conceptual design, according to Carey, would provide the council with some options and help the city qualify for grants to fund the expansion.
A total cost of the expansion and a construction calendar for the project will not be determined until a conceptual design is approved, he said.
The city council is expected to act on certifying the results of the Oct. 2 municipal election. If certified, the results call for a run-off election between Peter Micciche and Linda Murphy, the top two vote getters for city council seat D.
Carey said the state Department of Transportation and Public Facilities has set 2 p.m., Oct. 20, as the time for turning on the lights on the new Sterling Highway bridge.
The city council meeting is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m.
Phil Hermanek can be reached at email@example.com.
Peninsula Clarion ©2013. All Rights Reserved.