“We need to look at the safety aspect, too.” That is a comment by Jim Stark, New Auburn City Council, at a neighborhood informational meeting Tuesday, Oct. 21 about a proposed street project in New Auburn.
Justin Black, engineer with SEH (Short Elliott Hendrickson Inc.) of Gaylord, provided an estimated, all-inclusive project cost of $1,649,339.55.
The estimated cost included a 10% contingency, and 25% project related costs (legal, administrative, financial, surveying, and engineering). The costs were also based on 2008 construction prices.
What does the proposed project consist of?
All of the streets in the community would be constructed to a 20 foot width. The street widths now vary from 12-16 feet. One street is 22 feet wide. The project cost estimate includes surfacing all of the community’s gravel streets, except those to High Island Cemetery and to the park on the edge of High Island Lake. Those two streets are not being included because of the high cost and lack of assessable lots.
The work proposed on the various streets in the community is based on a comprehensive street study, conducted by SEH last summer. Total street reconstruction is proposed in the northern section of the community, on Eighth Avenue, from Eighth Street to Sixth Street, and Seventh Street, from Eighth Avenue to Seventh Avenue, and Sixth Street, from Eighth Avenue to Seventh Avenue.
Street reclamation and three inch bituminous surfacing is proposed on Seventh Avenue, from Seventh Street to Sixth Street; Fifth Street, from Eighth Avenue to Ninth Avenue; Ninth Avenue, from Fifth Street to Third Street; Ninth Avenue, from Second Street to the south edge of the community; Third Street, between Eighth and Seventh Avenue; Third Street, from Sixth Avenue to Fourth Avenue; and Second Street, from Eighth Avenue to half a block beyond Fifth Avenue.
Street reclamation work includes pulverizing, mixing, and recycling the existing bituminous surface and aggregate surface to create a new aggregate base layer, construction of 1 1/2 inches of bituminous base course on the newly placed aggregate base, and the construction of 1 1/2 inches of bituminous wear course on the bituminous base.
Milling and three inch overlay work is proposed on three different street sections: Sixth Street, from Seventh Avenue to Sixth Avenue; Fifth Street, from Sixth Avenue to Fifth Avenue; and Fourth Street, from Ninth Avenue to Eighth Avenue.
Crack sealing and seal coating work are proposed on Seventh Avenue, from Sixth Street to Highway 22; Fifth Street, from Eighth Avenue to Highway 22; Fourth Street, from Eighth Avenue to Sixth Street; Third Street, from Ninth Avenue to Eighth Avenue; Third Street, from Seventh Avenue to Sixth Avenue; Second Street, from Ninth Avenue to Eighth Avenue; and Second Street, for a half bock west of Fourth Avenue to Fourth Avenue.
Plans are to widen and surface the gravel streets.
Seven frost boil repairs are planned.
Four inch perforated drain tile would be installed along the edges of the streets, to extend the life of them, Black said. The drain tile is estimated to cost $206,766. The majority of the work – an estimated $957,073.05 – is being planned on improvements to gravel streets. An estimated $485,500.50 is being anticipated on bituminous streets.
No work is planned on Fifth Street, from Highway 22 east to Sixth Avenue, and CSAH 29 (Eighth Avenue) from Highway 22 south to First Street.
Black said that the state law spells out steps for assessing projects. First the council must order the engineers to complete a feasibility report. Then it is presented to the council, accepted, and a public hearing is called.
Then the council orders final plans and specifications. The City Council reviews bidding documents and sets a bid opening, usually in the spring, and awards a contract to the lowest responsible bidder.
Assessments are placed on the property taxes after an assessment hearing is held. Property owners have 30 days after the assessment roll is adopted to pay their assessments interest free. The length of time property owners are allowed to pay the assessment is usually determined by the length of the bond the city sells to pay for the remainder of the project.
If the project proceeds, how will it be paid for?
The City of New Auburn’s assessment policy states that 40% of the cost for reconstruction, overlay and gravel street work is assessed to abutting benefitted properties. Seal coats are not assessed. Assessments are made on a per lineal foot basis.
According to Black, estimated assessment rates for the various street work are estimated to be $10 – $12/foot for mill and three inch overlay, $12 – $14/foot for reclaim and three inch overlay, $14 – $16/foot for paving gravel streets, and $17 – $21/foot for total street reconstruction.
According to the Sibley County Assessor’s Office, lots in New Auburn vary from 66 feet wide x 132 feet deep to 50 feet wide x 142 feet deep.
How will the project affect New Auburn’s taxes?
Northland Securities, New Auburn’s financial advisor, estimates that if the entire project is completed and the city bonds for 20 years, the average tax impact on a $120,000 valued residential property would be $510/year. For a $60,000 valued residential property, the average tax impact would be $255/year. For a $180,000 value residential property, the average tax impact would be $766/year.
“We would be spending a lot more if we would do a little bit every year,” Stark said.
Council member Catherine Lorenz said that the city would like to have only one mobilization fee for the equipment. “The costs won’t get any better,” she said.
City Council members told the 40 residents who attended the meeting that the city has been studying the street work for several years. Residents were assured that there would be a maintenance schedule and a maintenance budget if the project proceeds. It is estimated that reconstruction of the streets would last 30-40 years.
New Auburn’s City Council is expected to make a decision on whether or not to proceed with a street project before the end of the year, according to City Clerk Wendy Becker.
Black said that he was “happy” with the turnout at the community meeting and said that the public asked excellent questions.