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Thread: Street improvement district

  1. #1
    Cyburbian gicarto's avatar
    Mar 2005

    Street improvement district

    A City Councilwoman is trying to get some advice as to how to fix the streets in a city in North-central Iowa. This city is not exactly an affluent community and raising taxes on the whole city to fix streets in certain parts of the City is not popular. Instead the City is considering assessment fees to residents living along a street scheduled to be constructed. This could cost up to $10,000 for a house along the street. This opens a can of worms that the City may want to shy away from. I suggested to her that tax revenue could be raised based on the City's wards. She seemed interested in that concept since it would spread the assessment burden over a greater number of residents near the area and make it more fair for the houses. I am not sure if this method of funding has been practiced in other cities but it may be a good concept for this city to pursue.

    Do any members know of a City that has established street improvement districts (sort of a "Street TIF")? If yes, how has the city divided these districts?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
    Aug 2001
    The Cheese State
    Generally, if there is an assessment for streets it is levied against abutting property owners. The argument you are using is similar to an approach for water or sewer, where the assessment may be levied against all of those people in the tributary area. There may be some merit to it, but Iowa statutes and case law may not permit it. You should consult with the city attorney on that. The idea of neighborhood improvement districts (similar to business improvement districts) has been floated in some states.

    Have you prepared a capital improvements plan to identify priorities, probably costs, and phasing for these projects? Have you sought assistance from the state? I have had good success in writing CDBG grants for these kinds of projects, especially if they are tied to stormwater or other improvements.
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