Residents voice opposition to street improvement assessment

Residents along Sixth Avenue Southwest in Isanti are filling bitter-sweet regarding an upcoming rehabilitation project. On one hand, they are happy that their deteriorated road will be getting a facelift. But on the other hand, they aren’t happy they will have to pay for it again.

During a public hearing held on the project at the Nov. 4 Isanti City Council meeting, they let their voices be heard.

Resident Levi Klande stated, “The biggest problem I have with this is the City of Isanti failed us residents by not maintaining 6th Avenue. You’ve clearly stated that today and in the second open house, so you’re going to punish us residents that live on 6th Avenue for your failure to maintain our road.”

City Council Member Dan Collison pointed out the city created a pavement improvement program in 2014 in order to make sure something like this does not happen in the future, with Isanti Finance Director Mike Betker agreeing.

“I can’t tell you that you’re wrong,” Betker said. “But, since I’ve gotten here, we’ve went out, Jason (Cook, city engineer) and I, have gone through and taken care of all of the paved roads in the city and have a plan for pavement management. Whether its mill and overlay, or full reclamation, or whatever, for all the roads until 2056 so that we know that we are getting our full bang for our buck on all of this stuff, that we are not letting anything go so long that all of a sudden pavement management is no longer a solution or a viable option.”

He explained that a good plan should make every road service last 40 years, noting that he believes the city has put together a plan that should stand the test of time. 

After answering other questions, and explaining how the project was funded, how and why residents are assessed for street projects, and city ordinance and state statute regarding assessments for street projects, the council approved adopting the assessment for property owners with property adjacent to the project. 

The final assessment was $32.55 per assessable front footage, averaging approximately $2,751 per parcel, and is assessed according to a 10-year payment schedule with a 1.71% interest rate. The assessments will be levied on property taxes, and average about $300 per year.

Mayor clarifies info from last council meeting

Mayor Jeff Johnson clarified a discussion that took place at the Oct. 6 council meeting, and was reported in the Oct. 15 Isanti-Chisago County Star regarding the traffic control at Isanti County State Aid Highway Road 5 and East Dual Boulevard and the meeting representatives of the city had with Minnco Credit Union. The city met with Minnco Credit Union to seek its input and interest in selling some of its property to allow a four-way intersection versus a three-way intersection. Minnco was not unwilling to work with the city, but the discussion between the city and Minnco “left us feeling that it was cost-prohibitive to purchase the land due to extensive remodeling of their building that would also need to be done,” Johnson said. 

Council approves land purchase

The council approved the purchase of land for the potential relocation of the municipal liquor store. The land is located on Sixth Avenue Southeast, and will be purchased for $425,000. The purchase price includes demolition of all buildings, removal of debris, capping of any wells on the site, decommissioning of the septic tank on site, and restoring the site to a matching grade of topography. 

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