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Baxter City Council: City receives petition opposed to joint road project

BAXTER — Residents are seeking to stop the city from pursuing its city sewer, water and street improvements.

The project on Woida Road, Franklin and Wildflower drives is scheduled to begin this spring.

In November, the city council voted 4-1 to start the project in 2014. Tuesday council members accepted the petition without comment.

An assessment hearing is planned April 15. In the staff report to the city council, attorney Brad Person reported the petition was not considered a formal appeal of the assessment since the hearing hasn’t occurred.

“The city will be required to provide a very specific notice to the property owners informing them of the assessment hearing and their rights to appeal,” the city report stated, adding property owners will have to follow the state statute on appealing an assessment or lose their right to appeal.

During previous public hearings, residents in the affected area spoke for and against the project. Some said they’ve waited for sewer and water and need a new Woida Road. Others said they simply can’t afford the assessment in what is still a weak economy. The entire project is expected to cost $2,690,119.

After the city pays 51 percent of the project, the remaining costs are assessed on a per lot basis.

The project reconstructs part of Woida, which engineers say is in poor shape and needs to be redone, and paves the gravel Franklin and Wildflower drives. It extends city sanitary sewer and water to Woida Road from Inglewood Drive to about 1,200 feet west of Highway 371, as well as all of Franklin and all of Wildflower drives.

If the estimated interest rate is 5.2 percent, an assessment for water, sewer and street is estimated to be $14,116, or $1,378 annually, for 15 years. This cost is typical for a Franklin or Wildflower lot.

If the property owner wanted to include the city fees — $600 for water availability charge and $600 for a sewer availability charge — in the assessment the costs are expected to be $15,816, or $1,544 annually, for 15 years.

In addition, residents will have to pay a private service provider to hook-up to the city utilities.

Costs for a house on the south side of Woida, the estimate is $10,369. Residents on the south side of Woida have city water. Residents on the north side do not. Monthly utility costs vary by use but may be in the $40-$45 range.

RENEE RICHARDSON, senior reporter, may be reached at 855-5852 or Follow on Twitter at

Renee Richardson
Richardson is a Pacelli High School graduate from Austin, Minn., who earned an applied science degree from the University of Minnesota, Waseca, with an emphasis in horse management. She worked extensively in the resort industry. She received an associate’s degree from Central Lakes College, where she was editor of the Westbank Journal student newspaper, as well as a summer intern at the Dispatch. She graduated from St. Cloud State University summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications and interned at the St. Cloud Times covering business while attending SCSU. She's been with the Brainerd Dispatch since 1996.
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