Papka street project may be halted by protests

The proposed street improvement project of the city’s Papka’s 1st Addition may be over before it even begins.

Information Sign Against Street

By COLE BENZ
Record Editor

The proposed street improvement project of the city’s Papka’s 1st Addition may be over before it even begins. The city council voted to move forward with the project, but North Dakota Century Code says that property owners have the right to formally protest if there is a special assessment required to pay for the work. Formal protests for this project need to be in writing and delivered to the auditor’s office by July 31. From the response Hettinger City Auditor Pat Carroll has already received, it’s looking like the project won’t happen.

In order to halt a special assessment project, the protests need to account for 50 percent of the square footage of the area being assessed.

The city council will add up the square footage of area being assessed, and then they will take the square footage of the protests, and if it’s over half, the project won’t happen.

The multimillion dollar proposed project would install the curb and gutter, asphalt streets and fix the drainage issues in the area. Since water isn’t properly draining, the short term affect is standing water after rain or snowmelt, but the long term damage is street deterioration. The road is eroding because it isn’t draining properly.

The strong protest comes from the amount of money property owners would be assessed to pay for the project. The city had a company map out three different bonds: a 10 year, 15 year and 20 year bond. Under the terms, property owners would be charged an estimated $4,627.08 per year and per lot for the 10-year bond, $3,369.50 under a 15-year bond, and $2,765.13 under a 20-year bond. A special assessment is required under city ordinances for any type of special improvement projects, which this is considered.

Examples of maintenance projects are jobs such as chip sealing an asphalt street, or repairing a crack in the road.

Though the deadline for a formal protest is July 31, the city council won’t officially declare the project dead until the regular council meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 10, when they add up the square footage to determine the exact percentage of the protests.