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.