The Blaine City Council Oct. 4 unanimously approved assessments of $509 apiece for 209 properties whose city streets were overlayed this year.
The 2012 overlay project occurred in a northern Blaine neighborhood west of Radisson Road and approximately between 129th Avenue and 132nd Lane.
According to City Engineer Jean Keely, the total project cost was $293,383.11. It was initially estimated to cost $373,125.
Blaine’s pavement management program account is paying $187,002.11, while the assessed properties will fund the remaining gap of $106,381.
This is the second year that Blaine has assessed property owners for overlays, according to Keely. The council chose to adopt a set rate, which would increase by the inflation index every year, rather than assess a percentage of the project.
Blaine’s 2011 overlay assessment rate was $500 per parcel. Inflation bumped the amount to $509 for the 2012 projects, according to Keely.
Non-residential parcels could also be assessed for overlays, but only residential properties were affected this year. Keely said the current commercial and industrial overlay assessment rate is $10 per lineal foot.
People can pay off the full assessment to the city within 30 days of the Oct. 4 public hearing. Or they can choose to pay off the amount over a five-year period with a 5 percent interest rate tacked on. There are options to pay off the amount earlier in the five-year window.
When looking for streets to overlay, Keely said the city is looking for a road that is still “in pretty good condition that an overlay will give it another 20 years of life.”
If the road deteriorates to the point that an overlay is not adequate, a more expensive reconstruction is necessary.
In the 2012 project area, Keely said they milled the edges and added a one-and-a-half inch bituminous overlay over all the streets.
Councilmember Russ Herbst asked if the manhole covers could be raised so there is not a bump in the road for vehicles driving through.
Keely acknowledged that the manhole covers were a little low, so city staff asked the contractor to raise the covers.
However, she said the city specifications for road projects do still ask for manhole covers to be a little lower than the road. The bituminous overlay will compress over time and city staff do not want the snowplow blades to hit the manholes.
Herbst was impressed with the project.
“That job went fast. Then people were not inconvenienced at all,” Herbst said. “It really classes up the neighborhoods when you get that new fresh blacktop down.”
Mayor Tom Ryan said it would have taken the city years if it had just done pothole filling rather than just overlay the road at one time.
Councilmember Wes Hovland said he always seems to hear from time to time that a road may not look that bad before it is overlayed. To the untrained eye it may seem true, but they need this maintenance, he said.
Nobody spoke at the Oct. 4 public hearing regarding the assessment.
Hovland asked if they were catching up on the road projects.
Keely responded that they still have a long ways to go.
“We’ve been picking the ones that were probably the easier ones to start with. The tougher ones are coming,” Keely said. Some roads will need reconstruction and drainage corrections.
Keely said 2013 projects will be spread throughout the city. The council will be discussing the potential projects at a future workshop.
“This council really has taken a proactive approach to infrastructure maintenance, and it just goes to show that we’re making progress,” Councilmember Mike Bourke said. “A long way to go Wes, but we’re moving in the right direction.”
Eric Hagen is at email@example.com