Special Assessments Subject of Anamoose Town Meeting

On Tuesday night, March 13, the Anamoose City Council hosted an Informational Meeting for all of the property owners to discuss the estimated special assessments to pave the streets in Anamoose.  Well over 100 people attended in a town that boasts only 236 residents.  The estimated cost of this initiative is 1.6 million dollars.

Matt Johnson, of Wold Engineering in Bottineau, as well as Mayor Frank Ewert and Council Members Bonnie Dockter, Tony Martin, Bonnie Helm and Mike Schmaltz, were present to explain the legally mandated process required before and after the residents vote on the street issue, as well as to answer questions.

Questions were many and varied, but mostly revolved around several themes: 1)life of the new streets, and will chip seal be needed; 2)impact of Measure 2 on the City’s ability to pay the assessments on the property it owns; 3) whether loaded semi-trucks can drive on any streets other than Main Street (which is a County road); 4) sewers and gutters, and  property owners culverts; and 5) why wasn’t this done 20-50 years ago when the project would have been cheaper.

Johnson explained that the life of the streets could be expected to last from 20-40 years depending on future weather conditions and controlled usage, but expects some maintenance will probably be necessary around 20 years from now.  He also recommended that chip seal be added within three years, and every 10  years thereafter.  When asked if the City could afford the chip seal, which is not included in the special assessment, Mayor Frank Ewert responded that the Council has already investigated the possibilities for paying for this from the City’s budget with no additional assessment to the residents.

Regarding the impact of the Measure 2, should it pass, the Council met after the town meeting and drafted an official response in the form of a motion, which was approved by all Council members.  “If the street district project passes, the project will be put on hold, barring those activities that can be accomplished without further cost or contractual agreement, such as bid letting, until Measure 2 has been decided by the North Dakota electorate during the June 12 election.  If Measure 2 passes, the entire project will be put on hold until the Legislature addresses the issues thus created.” 

Regarding the third issue, that of whether fully loaded semi-trucks can use these streets, Johnson explained that garbage trucks, heating oil trucks, and others with similar size and purpose should be able to use all of the streets without damage.  Mayor Ewert explained that the Council has recognized the issue for some of its residents and has been looking for a workable alternative.  Providing a truck parking plaza has even been discussed by Council members.

The fourth theme of sewers, gutters, and property owners’ driveway culverts was addressed by Johnson and Ewert, who explained property owners with sewer and gutter issues, will want to address those before the paving begins, should this initiative pass.  As for the culverts, Johnson stated that the cost of replacing these culverts has been included in the cost estimate at $60,000; however, the Council has been considering not including these culverts as a means of reducing the overall cost or to apply this amount to other requirements.

 And, to the last theme,’…why wasn’t this done 20 or 50 years ago when costs were lower?  Obviously, the Council could not respond to this question.  As several of the property owners commented to this reporter, “If it doesn’t pass this time, maybe those who vote no this time can answer that question when it is asked again in 10-20 years”.

The next meeting, scheduled for 7pm on March 19 at the Senior Center, will be conducted to count the votes.  Each property owner should have received their letter on which they may vote no.  If anyone has not received their letter, they are asked to contact the City Auditor, Stanley Martin, at the Anamoose Bank.  All NO votes must be received in the mail on March 19, or returned to the Anamoose Bank by 4pm on March 19.  By ND Statue, only those voting no must return their signed letters.  Those in favor of the street project need not do anything.

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6 Responses to Special Assessments Subject of Anamoose Town Meeting

  1. Sally Pillatzke says:

    what was the results of the last meeting and why have they not
    been posted yet.

  2. babbbullon says:

    Good question… they said they would let the dust settle and wait to see if measure 2 passes. I think measure 2 takes the local power away from local government because it eliminates property taxes. It is said that property taxes are unconstitutional because it forces a small group of owners to pay for all civil and local projects as well as schools. I agree that it is not fair that only property owners foot the bill. If I own a $30,000.00 truck I don’t pay property tax but because I own the dirt I live on I have to pay for tax. It is not fair. Everyone should have to pay taxes not just people who own their own homes. Sales tax and income tax as well as hospitality tax should be higher if we all need to have schools and municipal funds to pay for city maintenance. I think there are state and federal funds available for these projects. If measure 2 wins there will be no local funds available and the city council will have to petition to the state legislation for funds for their project.
    Also when I was at this meeting (I set my alarm so i could be there on time) They did a lot of mumbling and no formal announcement which I was very mad about. I think (and I stand corrected if I am wrong but it was very hard to get the information) that the project is on hold until June elections. But in addition if you do not count the “square foot property” vote the city owns the people of Anamoose voted NO and we who voted no won, for now anyway. More than 95 voters voted no of the 100 something (could not hear the exact numbers). The people of Anamoose voted No. I see that as a Positive action for the power of the people of Anamoose.

  3. Della Rath says:

    I’d like to know why they talked more about it. The motion was dissolved. We they people of Anamoose said no. Since when dose the street have a vote, I pay the taxes not the street. I’d also like to know why the engineer or who ever changed thing around so it would pass. I’m starting to wonder if someone is getting a kick back. Everyone needs so go the the next meeting on April 2nd.

  4. babbbullon says:

    I wonder about that too Della. I will try to get to the meeting but I may not be home. What time is the meeting? The last meeting was suppose to be a meeting for us who do not want the meeting to protest against it but maybe I was wrong about that or people misunderstood. The meeting consisted of a small handful of people in favor (about 12 people) and the votes were counted but the verdict was the majority of people do not want the pavement and the 12 or so people who do are trying to leverage the city property (square footage) against the people who live here. Something about the rules of the vote according the the “engineer” at least that who I think that was behind the computer. They never introduced themselves to the group. As it was they new each other but I did not know them so I can not tell you who was doing the counting or the mumbling (there was not a formal announcement that I could hear nor my mother who is hearing impaired) I think there is an disabled persons accommodation law against that. It seem unreal that an elected counsel can go against “the peoples” vote. And the meeting is not handled in a professional way (my experienced opinion). Someone said it is not fair to the people who want the road but then when they loose it does not cost them any money on the other hand when I loose I will have to pay $100 or more a month for the rest of my life for roads that are doomed to cause even more debit that we can’t really afford in the long term. So be it unfair or not at least if we don’t have paved roads we are not going to miss them but I will miss my retirement money or my house because they will put liens against my property and take it away. Not that is not fair. We talk about it because they are not dropping it but rather “letting the dust settle”.

  5. Della Rath says:

    There is a meeting Friday March 30, 7:30pm. I think she said at the fire hall for the no vote people. Please spread the word. Cathy Rademacher told me about it. I hope to get back to town for the meeting, my mother passed away earlier this week and the service is Friday in Bismarck. I believe the yes vote people don’t care about the low income, disable, and retired residents in this town. How can they ask us to basically hand over a blank check for the paving project, do they realize that 1.6 million is just the start. What about the sealant and chip, another $100,000+. Will they need more equipment to the maintain the pavement, and what about the supplies needed? On the city utility billing there is a $5.00 charge for city maintenance, what is that going to be if we pave the streets? This paving project is a huge money pit most of us don’t want and can’t afford! I’ll check for time and place for the April 2nd meeting and post it here.

  6. Della Rath says:

    The meeting on April 2nd: 6:30 is a meeting with the tax ascesor (sorry I can’t spell). 7:30 is the regular meeting at the senior center.

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