Council committee approves assessment fee for I-35W project

Members of the City Council's Transportation and Public Works Committee voted April 18 to reduce the amount residents living near the I-35W frontage road reconstruction project will be charged in assessments.

Committee members agreed to charge residents the renovation rate of 26 cents per square foot for residential properties rather than the higher reconstruction rate of 42 cents per square foot. The road would have been renovated - and residents charged the smaller rate - in a few years had the state not decided to undertake the reconstruction project that will affect the frontage roads along the east and west sides of I-35W from 42nd Street to the Crosstown highway area.

In addition, the city's expected contribution to the project was reduced from more than $2 million to roughly $900,000.

Several residents expressed their frustration with the assessments to the committee, and the members were responsive to some of their concerns.

&#8220I support the idea of having a more fair solution to this challenge than what was originally proposed,” said Councilmember Betsy Hodges (13th Ward).

The committee also directed the Department of Public Works to identify a past project with Net Debt Bond funds remaining that can be redesignated to the I-35W frontage roads project. The department was instructed to return to the Transportation and Public Works Committee with that information at its May 2 meeting.

The assessments will not be levied until 2007 and begin on the 2008 property taxes, which will give residents some additional time to prepare for the expense. The total proposed assessment amount is approximately $433,000.

This project will be completed in coordination with the Minnesota Department of Transportation's I-35W Crosstown project starting in July 2006 with an expected completion date of December 2009. The frontage roads are expected to be completed in 2006 and 2007.