City searches for alternatives to special assessments
By City Times staff
WISCONSIN RAPIDS – The city of Wisconsin Rapids is searching for alternatives to special assessments. Special assessments are payments added to a property owner’s tax bill when improvements to road, gutter, and sidewalk around the property are made.
“There have been recent and growing concerns around special assessments regarding assessment of sidewalk, assessment procedures and the amount of assessments to property owners. The council has instructed staff to perform a review of the special assessment process and identify available funding options as a substitute for special assessments,” the city website stated.
“The current special assessment program is meant to collect revenue from property owners whom directly benefit from the improvements to the street. This revenue is used to offset street construction and maintenance costs being paid for from the general levy.
“The current special assessment revenues per year are approximately $350,000 for street related items. The street replacement and maintenance program is currently budgeted at roughly $1.5 million and $800,000, respectively. Although the direct costs to property owners through assessments is high (as represented as a one-time charge) and $2.3 million road construction and maintenance budget is considerable – the impacts of those dollars only covers 30 percent of a sustainable program.
“With current budget amounts, a street built in 2020 may not be rebuilt until 2170, which is 100 years past its useful life. There are growing disparities between aging streets and the ability to keep up with the replacement need. This fact is an important point to consider as alternatives are reviewed.”
The city has created an open survey for residents to weigh in on possible options for these projects, as opposed to special assessments.
The survey may be found at wirapids.org/special-assessment-alternatives.html, and is available until Oct. 19.