The Free Press, Mankato, MN

January 28, 2013

Mankato lowers assessments for Lime Township annexation

By Dan Linehan
Free Press Staff Writer

MANKATO — A City Council decision to set assessments for Lime Township boiled down to this Monday: How generous should the city be to newly-annexed properties?

The specific question was whether the city should delay other road projects elsewhere in Mankato in order to lower the street reconstruction payments for the township residents.

The council eventually voted 4-3 for the lower assessments, which should please Lime Township, at the cost of delaying repairs to Ramsey and Locust streets.

Councilman Jack Considine said Ramsey Street, in particular, should not be delayed. It has a rating of 5 out of 100.

“That means it’s really just one big pothole, and crumbling,” he said.

Councilors Karen Foreman and Jason Mattick joined him in opposing the road delays — and the lower assessments.

Opponents of the lower assessment were also concerned that delaying the road repairs would cost the city tens of thousands of dollars in water main breaks.

Mayor Eric Anderson supported the change, calling it a “happy medium.”

He said he would be in favor of other ways to fix Ramsey Street, perhaps by borrowing or using reserves. City Manager Pat Hentges said it might be possible to find the city portion of the Ramsey project — about $115,000 — if the $3.1 million annexation project comes in under budget.

The price per lot varies by location, but most of the annexed residents live in Schaefer’s subdivision, where the average assessment dropped from about $30,600 to about $24,000 under the new proposal. The total cost, including utility hookups, has been estimated at $26,000 per parcel.

That doesn’t include some other costs, such as interest payments and a requirement to pave driveways.

According to a survey compiled by Lime Township resident Richard Kern, 50 of the 61 people who responded said they supported the project.

Resident Tim Cherney said he appreciates the assessment reduction.

“It’s right in line with my expectations,” he said.

Residents have been aware for more than a decade that an annexation and large assessment costs were coming.

The project goes to another City Council vote on Feb. 25.