Council decreases interest rate on payments by 1 percent
By Terry Lehrke, News Editor
The water main under Maple Street will be replaced and the street reconstructed, at a cost of about $96,000. The city will pay 25 percent of the project, but the remainder will be assessed to property owners on Maple Street.
The assessments range from $6,000 to $20,000-plus for the property owners’ 75 percent — with work slated to begin in mid-September and last for about a week.
Payments for the assessments can be spread over 15 years. City Engineer Les Mateffy calculated the yearly cost for residents based on an interest rate of 5 percent, previously agreed upon. Those payments ranged from $456 per year up to nearly $1,700.
Property owners are allowed to pay off the assessment in full without interest, if they do so by Sept. 15. After that, interest starts to accrue.
One resident had asked about deferred assessments — assessments that would be paid off when the property was sold.
The city looked into that option and found that state law provides that cities can defer payments under several different scenarios, including for residents who are age 65 or older, retired due to a disability or on active duty in the military.
Mateffy noted three parcels were asking for deferment — estimating the total at $44,700, which is about half of the amount cost of the project.
Council Member Al Libke said he was in favor of allowing deferments, but wanted to see the paperwork for the Council’s Sept. 8 meeting.
Before finalizing the vote for the assessments, Council Member Ron Verley questioned the 5 percent interest rate being charged. He felt the city should go down to 2 percent, since it wasn’t bonding for the project, but paying for it out of the water fund.
Mateffy disagreed, saying the city would set a dangerous precedent to charge that low of an interest rate — especially since many of the city’s projects are bonded for and the city does pay interest.
The Council agreed to reduce the interest rate to 4 percent. Mateffy noted that would save the property owners about $100 a year on the assessments.
Royalton City Council Briefs
In other business Tuesday, the Royalton City Council:
•Learned the city was not under obligation to contribute to the fire relief fund, since the Fire Department’s investments were doing well;
•Approved liquor license renewals for River City Bar and Grill, Scottie’s Log Bar and 10-Spot Bar and Lounge, all for on-sale, off-sale and Sunday liquor sales; for the Royalton American Legion for on-sale and Sunday liquor sales; EZ Stop for 3.2 off-sale; and Royalton Discount Liquor for an off-sale license;
•Approved changes to the signing authority for the city’s checking account to include Mayor Andrea Lauer, Mayor Pro-Tem Al Libke, City Clerk Carol Madsen and Deputy Clerk Leah Walberg. The Council also approved access to the city’s safety deposit box to include Lauer, Madsen, Walberg and Police Chief Adam Gunderson;
•Asked Gunderson to put together solid numbers for placing video surveillance cameras at the City Complex and at the splash park complex. The cameras are being placed because someone attempted to gain access to the City Complex, damaging the front door and damage at the splash park included plugging up toilets. The surveillance cameras would be similar to those installed at the Fire Hall;
•Approved several minor changes to the city’s sign ordinance;
•Approved partial payment of $64,913.50 to Burski Excavating for work on Well 4;
•Learned the Royalton School District still needs to provide paperwork for the quit claim deed for property it purchased from the city for its building project;
•Discussed the city’s fire contract with Bellevue Township, deciding the contract should reflect a tax capacity to ensure the city receives funds to cover costs of fire coverage for the township. The estimated share would be about $41,000; and
•Set Tuesday, Aug. 25, at 6 p.m. as the date and time for a budget meeting, since the city’s proposed preliminary levy is to be submitted to the county by Sept. 15.
The next regular meeting of the Royalton City Council will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 8.