Assessment hearings continue at council meeting

MARSHALL – Public hearings on Marshall street and utility projects again made up a portion of the Marshall City Council’s regular meeting on Tuesday night. This week, council members approved special assessments for a street reconstruction project on North 7th Street and West Lyon Street and for a sewer and water main replacement project in the Elm Street and North 4th Street area.

The hearing for the North 7th/West Lyon street project didn’t generate any public comments, and council members voted to pass the assessment. Marshall Public Works Director Glenn Olson said property owners would be assessed for about $215,000 of a total project cost of $1,008,371. Under city policy, the most a residential property owner could be assessed for was $5,500. Olson said that limit was for the street and utility assessments only, not counting additional costs like the replacement of driveways or private walks, or replacement of sewer or water lines running between the public hookup and a residence.

Olson said several properties would be assessed the city maximum for the North 7th/West Lyon project.

The second hearing of the evening, on a project to replace the water and sewer lines in an area around Elm Street and North 4th Street, drew more comments from the public. Olson said the project was an unusual one, in that the sewer lines being replaced ran underneath the back yards of a block instead of the street. Residential property owners were assessed for about $55,000 of a total project cost of about $516,000, he said.

Property owner Carol Johnson spoke at the hearing and suggested that the city be clearer about its assessment policies in the future. While Johnson said she wasn’t disputing her assessment, she said she would’ve appreciated knowing that it was possible to get a bill for more than $5,500.

In response to a question from another property owner, Olson said the city would wait until at least early summer to pave the reconstructed streets. The city wanted to give the reconstructed road beds time to properly settle, he said.

Later at Tuesday’s meeting, an item pulled off the council’s consent agenda led to some disagreement among council members. At issue were restrictive covenants on the property the city intends to use to build a new municipal liquor store. Commercial properties in the proximity of a Wal-Mart superstore are subject to covenants, including one that prohibits the sale of alcohol, said Marshall City Attorney Dennis Simpson. That would affect one of the two lots the city plans to build its new liquor store on.

Simpson said Wal-Mart would agree to give consent for the liquor store for a waiver of $2,500.

Council member Mike Boedigheimer asked why the matter hadn’t been brought before the council before Tuesday.

“Normally when people buy property, they check for restrictive covenants,” Boedigheimer said.

Marshall City Administrator Ben Martig said the matter had been discussed with council members before.

“We knew there were restrictions there,” he said.

A motion to accept the terms and conditions for the property passed 6-1, with Boedigheimer casting the vote against.

A motion to pay the $2,500 waiver passed 5-2, with council members Boedigheimer and Glenn Bayerkohler casting the votes against.

In other business, the council approved new official names for four city parks. Parks Superintendent Preston Stensrud said Marshall Community Services asked for suggestions for names from the public and received more than 100 responses. The MCS advisory board recommended suggestions that continued a patriotic theme for city parks. After getting the council’s approval Tuesday, the park on Windstar Street will be named Patriot Park. Wayside Park, near Highway 23, will now be named Victory Park. The park in the Parkway Addition will be named Allegiance Park, and the new city dog run will be named Loyalty Park.