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Baxter City Council: Reduced street assessments approved for street project

BAXTER — An increased city contribution from Baxter will reduce proposed assessments for a trio of street projects.

Tuesday the Baxter City Council considered and approved changes to its assessment ordinance with the city taking a larger share of costs for Woida, Wildflower and Franklin street projects.

The $3,197,687 project will have a per lot assessment of $14,907 with the changes. With water access fees, sewer access fees and lift station fees, residents are expected to have an estimated per-lot assessment of $16,607.

A public assessment hearing is planned at 6 p.m. on May 27 at Baxter City Hall. Property owners will have an opportunity to address the council on the assessments.

Following the hearing the council has the option to vote against proceeding with the project.

The construction project extends sewer and water and paves Wildflower and Franklin drives, which are now gravel streets just blocks off Highway 371. The project reconstructs Woida Road, a collector street for the city, and adds a pedestrian and bicycle trail. The city council has long noted the project has benefits to the greater city beyond the immediate residents.

When the project was first presented to property owners, the assessment costs was estimated to be $14,116.

At early public hearings on the topic, the city noted if the estimated interest rate is 5.2 percent, and an assessment for water, sewer and street was $14,116, the cost would be $1,378 annually, for 15 years. This cost is typical for a Franklin or Wildflower lot.

After project bids were opened recently costs were higher than anticipated and the estimated assessments rose to $16,262.

In addition, residents will have costs to hook up to municipal services and those on septics and well systems will have a monthly utility fee.

Dewatering costs — to remove the groundwater to enable the earth-moving project — was a major driver in the added costs. In this part of Baxter, groundwater may be reached in a handful of feet.

Baxter will now take on 60 percent of the dewatering costs, an increase from the 50 percent previously planned. The city is also paying for 40 percent of the street reconstruction and contributing 25 percent for the extension of utilities. Without the city contribution, the assessments would be nearly $22,000.

With the $3.197 million project: $818,741 is for the sanitary sewer; $657,103 for water; $386,036 for stormwater; $1,195,860 for streets; and $139,957 for trails. The city is picking up the entire cost of trails.

The project is slated for this year.

Other projects

In other resolutions regarding street projects, the council voted to put the Isle Drive project on the 2015 construction schedule and officially put the Cypress Drive project down for construction in 2018.

RENEE RICHARDSON 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.
(218) 855-5852