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Assessments approved for Grandview street project

Despite appeals from residents, the Hudson Common Council approved special assessments for the 2017 street improvement project on Grandview Drive from Vine Street to Laurel Avenue.

About 10 percent of the expected $717,000 project is being assessed to residents for removal and replacement of curb and gutter, sawcut bituminous and removal and replacement of driveways.

During the public hearing, Colleen Callahan of the Stonepine Homeowner's Association said the association was appealing the assessment for four properties. She said the association felt the replacement of the gutters will not increase the overall value of homes or provide any special benefit to the owners, as required to use assessments.

City Engineer Tom Syfko explained the curb and gutter replacement is an integral part of the street improvement as a whole.

"When this is all said and done there's a brand new street out there," Syfko said.

As a part of the HOA, Syfko said he couldn't address if the improvements were a special benefit. He did cite an opinion from Bolton and Menk engineering services that stated the curb is a benefit because it establishes property limits, finishes landscaping and prevents damage.

Stonepine Bay resident Cory Pope asked why these assessments were being made. Pope said the gutters along the street near her home were in perfect condition.

Syfko stated the curbs are severely damaged, and it was more economic to replace them as a whole rather than in segments.

Resident Cy Yusten, who lives on Grandview Drive, was concerned with the amount assessed to him because his property does not face Grandview Drive, though his address is on the road. He said he was against assessing property owners, but rather supported levying taxes for all residents for the project.

"We should all pay for what we benefit from," Houston said.

Syfko said the assessments follow city policy. Resident Pat Smith said the city shouldn't use assessments just because it's what has been done in the past.

Council Member John Hoggatt explained the city looked at changing its policy a couple years ago, but found its current set up was more affordable than other communities. Council Member Tom McCormick said other communities assess more of these projects, sometimes with the majority of the cost being paid by assessments.

Resident Beverly Deck said she felt she should have heard sooner about the assessment than April. Syfko explained the timing is based on the process the city follows on selecting projects, and follows state statute.

Overall, Hoggatt said the road needs repair, and 90 percent of the project was being paid by all of Hudson.

"The policy, believe it or not, has been pretty reasonable," Hoggatt said.

The council passed the assessments unanimously. Council Member Jim Webber and Mayor Rich O'Connor recused themselves from discussion and action, as they are members of the Stonepine HOA. In other business, the council:

• Approved an amendment to the municipal code to allow breweries under 3,000 square feet in the downtown area.

• Approved the drafting of an ordinance that would raise elected officials pay to $500 per month for council members and $1,500 for the mayor. The ordinance will be read and approved at future meetings.

• Approved a water rate increase of 15 percent, the first one in about 20 years.

Rebecca Mariscal

Rebecca Mariscal joined the Hudson Star Observer as a reporter in 2016. She graduated from the University of St. Thomas with a degree in communication and journalism. 

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