Homeowners Get A Break On Some City Projects

By: Tony Tagliavia Email
By: Tony Tagliavia Email

The construction tearing up Randy Budden's street will cost him.

"According to the paperwork, around $1,500," Budden said.

That's $1,500 above and beyond what he pays in property taxes. It's a special assessment charged to residents of many local communities, when sidewalks are installed or replaced, or in Budden's case, when storm sewers and curbs are installed on a street that had none.

He hopes to take advantage of a city program that allows residents to spread the cost over as many as 20 years, depending on the assessment.

"Money's tough. Everything's tough," Budden said. "I really have no choice."

A change in city policy passed Monday night could make it easier on residents looking to pay over time.

Instead of charging the default 7 percent interest, the city will charge Budden and his neighbors on Cavanaugh Road 5 percent, an amount that evens up with the cost to the city.

"We shouldn't be making money on this," Councilmember Carol Wood said.

For now, the Cavanaugh Road project is the only one with the lower rate, but a plan is in the works to make it apply to every project across the city.

"It's not a significant source of revenue for the city but sometimes, to homeowners, it can be a significant burden," Councilmember Kathie Dunbar said.

So the city council is developing an ordinance to allow the city to set a new interest rate every year -- one that's even with the cost to the city at the time. On some projects, it could be 3 percent or as low as 1.6 percent. That proposal could come together within a month.

It's a welcome change for residents like Randy Budden. He's happy with the curb-and-gutter work he hopes will increase the value of his home.

But he does have one request for the city.

"Hurry up and get it done."

The Cavanaugh Road work is expected to be done by August.

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