Thirteen property owners in southern Mitchell avoided a special assessment for curb, gutter and sewer work following a city council decision Monday night.

The cost of the proposed assessment came in at $758,037, which called for major street and storm sewer improvements, along with curb and gutter work for a section of South Wisconsin Street stretching from Spruce Street to West Quince Avenue. In total, the assessment affected 13 properties that varied in costs, ranging from $50,000 to $70,000 per property owner.

Engineering Project Supervisor Terry Johnson provided extensive details of the area where the special assessment was located, citing a long history of drainage issues and flooding woes.

“This has been an ongoing maintenance project the city has tended to for many years, and this year we really struggled with the spring snow and recent flooding event,” Johnson said.

Johnson explained what makes the area unique compared to other assessed portions of the city. Johnson said the majority of other street assessments have existing utilities in place. However, the assessment area has gravel streets, and lacks infrastructure and existing utilities.

Cheryl Gibson, a resident who owns property in the proposed assessment area, said the area was annexed into the city in the mid-1960s.

“They wanted to take advantage of the interstate and prosper off the area,” Gibson said. “For 53 years, you developed all around us, and my basement is ruined. The amounts are incomprehensible.”

Johnson also detailed how the cost was figured, which he noted was higher than typical assessments. The total cost of the street, alley and utility improvements are assessed according to the front footage of the properties receiving the improvements. In addition, the total cost of the street, alley and utility improvements is divided equally between all lots benefiting from the improvements.

The estimated cost for the street portion of the assessment was estimated at $254.20 per lineal foot, not including the intersection benefit or corner lot costs, Johnson said.

“A lot of these properties have large frontage areas,” Johnson said. “This area is pretty much five times the amount of frontage that we would normally deal with on a city block.”

Mitchell Mayor Bob Everson said the area sparks a substantial amount of complaints from drainage and flooding issues during rain events.

“This is an area I get a lot of complaints about during heavy rain events,” Everson said. “I promised the people who have reached out to me that we would look into this to the best of our ability, and I let them know they would not like the price of the assessment. We now know what the costs are hovering around to fix it.”

Council member Susan Tjarks suggested the city include the area on a five-year plan to improve the streets and drainage. Similar to how the city is funding the East Central Drainage Project near KlockWerks, Tjarks said it would be wise to do the same for this particular area.

“I am wondering why we are asking the residents along these streets to pay for these improvements, because we do improvements across town like on Sanborn and none of those businesses and residents are asked to pay for those assessments,” Tjarks said. “I remember we make it our goal to pave every gravel road in city limits, and I cannot justify having these people pay for these improvements.”

Johnson responded by explaining the area’s lack of infrastructure in place like KlockWerks is a key difference in comparing other portions of the city. Because the road is gravel and has yet to be improved, it was factored in to the assessment cost.

“Whenever we rebuild streets in town, we don’t assess streets that have been paved with existing utilities, but in this case we have a gravel road and no infrastructure,” Johnson said. “The right plan for the area to be improved to a city street standard is the plan we have presented.”

Rather than opening up the podium for the property owners impacted by the assessment, Council President Kevin McCardle resorted to a more simple approach and asked whether any of the property owners in the audience were in favor by a show of hands.

The council unanimously denied approving the assessment when there was no support from property owners.

Garbage pickup changes

The council approved city service fees, which includes the city’s new recycling program and new garbage collection changes. The recycling fee for residents will remain at $4 per month.

According to Public Works Director Kyle Croce, the city’s garbage services will no longer include alleyway pickup, which means all residents who utilize the city’s garbage services will have to switch to curbside pickup.

“We have a letter going out to our alleyway customers, and it will state that we won’t be doing alleyway garbage pickup,” Croce said.

The city will now be using automated curbside pickup starting the first full week in January 2020. Croce said there are close to 2,000 accounts that utilize alleyway garbage pickup.

For residents seeking to continue utilizing alleyway pickup, Croce said a private hauler is an option.

“If there are residents who have special needs or need assistance with alleyway pickup, they can call and we will get them in contact with the private haulers,” Croce said.

Consent agenda

The following items will be considered as part of the consent agenda:

  • Approved the minutes of the Nov. 1 council meeting.

  • Approved the minutes of the Oct. 28 Planning Commission meeting.

  • Approved the following raffle permits: Mitchell Community Scholarship Fund with the drawing to be held on Feb. 24, 2020; Mitchell Quarterback Club with the drawing to be held on Dec. 28, 2019.

  • Set the date for the following bid openings: Nov. 13, 2019, for ice bumper cars and equipment project No. 2020-7; Nov. 13, 2019, a rebid for the Mitchell Airport snow removal project No. 2019-53R.

  • Set the date for the following hearings: Dec. 2, 2019, Corn Palace Shrine Club’s application for a special event liquor license for a Dec. 21, 2019 wedding at the Masonic Temple; 2019, Corn Palace Shrine Club’s application for a special event liquor license for a Dec. 31, 2019 New Years Eve event at the Masonic Temple.

  • Approved change order No. 2 D&D Long’s addition utility extensions project No. 2019-31 to Metro Construction.

  • Approved Oct. 31 and Nov. 18 gas and fuel quotations.

Other business

  • Recited Pledge of Allegiance, received invocation from Cornerstone Baptist, roll call, heard citizens’ input.

  • Approved consent agenda.

  • Held hearing and take action on the following: An application to transfer RL-5764 retail (on-sale) liquor license from Bates Enterprises doing business as Brew Parlor, 112 N. Main St., Mitchell to TEAM Haus Inc. doing business as Northside Sinclair, 1905 N. Main St.

  • Approved applications for renewing alcohol licenses.

  • Approved awarding bid for hayland leases, Landfill, Park Land Wastewater Project No. 2020-5.

  • Approved authorization of purchasing a curb tender in the amount of $261,024 through Sourcewell’s contract.

  • Approved awarding bid to Mueller Lumber for the addition of two basketball hoops at the Corn Palace in the amount of $72,788. The bid came in roughly $12,000 over the city's $60,000 budgeted amount, but donations are expected to cover the remainder of the cost.

  • Approved awarding the bid for the Parks and Recreation’s ice bumper cars, which came in at $63,320, roughly $7,000 below the budgeted amount.

  • Denied awarding bid to Quality Cut Snow for the snow removal of contract at the Mitchell Airport. The bid for a single-year lease is $90,000.

  • Approved setting fees and charges for city services.

  • Approved Resolution No. R2019-88, a plat of tract 1 of Lefort's Addition, being a subdivision of lot B, in the southeast quarter of section 9, township 102 north, range 60 west of the fifth prime meridian, in Davison County.

  • Approved Resolution No. R2019-89, a plat of lot 20 in the replat of tract A, Wild Oak Golf Club Addition to the city of Mitchell, in Davison County.

  • Approved Resolution No. R2019-20, a plat of lots 1-A And 1-B, block C of Westview Addition in the southeast quarter of section 20, township 103 north, range 60 west of the fifth prime meridian, city Of Mitchell.

  • Approved Resolution No. R2019-84, a plat of tract 1 of Jesse's Addition in the southeast quarter of section 14, township 104 north, range 61 west of the fifth prime meridian, in Davison County.

  • Tabled purchase agreement with First United Methodist Church.

  • Held second reading on Ordinance No. O2019-25, supplemental appropriations.

  • Entered into an executive session, citing legal discussion.