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Press Photo by Beth Wischmeyer Greg Ficek of Kadrmas, Lee & Jackson shows committee members and residents what streets will be resurfaced in a proposed street improvement project.

Road improvement project proposed to committee

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BELFIELD -- Residents have until April 15 to voice their support or concerns for an approximate $900,000 street improvement project proposal within the northeast part of the city.

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During Thursday's meeting of the Special Assessment Committee, the finer points of the project were discussed and allowed for citizens to ask questions and voice concerns.

Greg Ficek of Kadrmas, Lee & Jackson Inc. said the proposed project, a general resurfacing of streets, will effect approximately 230 households on 288 lots in the northeast corner of town. The boundaries for the project will be Highway 10, Highway 85, Third Street and Second Avenue.

Ficek said the costs of the project would fall to those residents who live within the project area through an annual special assessment. During Thursday's meeting the committee came to a consensus that assessing based on footage was what they would recommend to the city council.

Although final costs will not be available until the project is approved and gone to bid, Committee chairman Bruce Baer offered a few tentative costs for residents based on Kadrmas, Lee & Jackson's rough estimate.

Baer estimated residents could pay anywhere from about $369 to $700 annually depending on the length of repayment and bond percentages.

Residents asked a variety of questions including why the entire town couldn't be assessed and repaired eventually.

"The only way that would be possible is if the city re-did the assessment map," Baer said. "That probably wouldn't kill the project, but delay it."

Ficek added time is of the essence for such a project to be bid and completed this year.

"Contractors are getting busy and it's getting close," Ficek said. "They've only got a short window to work."

Ficek acknowledged that in many parts of town, streets will also need repair if not total reconstruction.

"We have looked at the south side and those streets are in pretty tough shape," Ficek said. "Some of the roads are to the point where they are not going to make it (until we can get to them), those there will be full depth reconstruction from curb to curb. Those are going to be even more expensive than these here."

Residents within the special assessment area will have until April 1 to submit all protest letters to the city auditor, he added.

"If 50.1 percent of the people say they don't want the project, the project is dead," Ficek said. "The ones we don't hear from means they want the project. Those that don't want the project have to have a written letter to us (by April 15)."

Those with more property will have a more weight with their vote, Baer said, due to the fact that they would pay more if the project goes through.

If the project receives a positive majority, Ficek said the project would go to bid as soon as possible, with the opening of bids being done sometime in May. Construction, he said, would start at the end of June.

Ficek said if the project is accepted, residents will still be able to get to their homes during construction time.

"The residents will still be able to get around," Ficek said. "There are provisions to let them get to their property. This isn't as invasive as new construction."

If the project is not supported, Baer said he hopes the council will re-consider changing the boundaries of the assessment and continue working with residents to work out another plan.

Belfield Mayor Leo Schneider said the council chose the northeast side of town because there were more people there wanting streets fixed and more homes in the area.

"Fixing the streets has been talked about for years, we just didn't have the money for it," Schneider said.

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