August 11, 2022 – West Bend, WI – With little fanfare but much anticipation a section of 18th Avenue in West Bend from Paradise Drive north to Vogt Drive finally opened Thursday, August 11, 2022.
The southern segment of 18th Avenue closed Monday, April 18, 2022.
Construction on 18th Avenue includes storm sewer installation, roadway excavation, curb and gutter installation, sidewalk installation, roadway reconstruction, pavement markings, and restoration of disturbed areas.
This segment of road was supposed to reopen the beginning of August 2022.
Mary Pyritz with the Department of Transportation said it would be Friday, August 12, 2022 or possibly Thursday, August 11, 2022 …. depending on how the landscaping took shape. “The two rounds of heavy rain last week didn’t help,” she said.
Neighbors between Vogt Drive and Paradise Drive received two letters of intent from the city advising them of a special assessment to pay for the project. That special assessment is tied to a developer’s agreement signed in 2004.
Click HEREto watch the public hearing from 2020 when neighbors on 18th Ave. tried to fight the special assessment
According to City Engineer Max Marechal “copies of the memos we sent to the owners of properties along the project that were identified for potential special assessment.”
In 2020 property owners in the Westminster Place subdivision on the north end of 18th Avenue between Vogt Drive and Decorah Road received a special assessment for similar work. Click HERE to read about invoices sent to cover the cost of that project.
During that time neighbors in the subdivision worked to try to fight the special assessment which ranged from an additional $1,757.14 to $5,449.47 to over $16,000. The largest special assessment was issued to the non-profit Friends, Inc., a shelter for those affected by domestic abuse or sexual assault.
During the March 3, 2020 public hearing nearly a dozen people addressed the council.
Bob Roecker – “The city shall have the right to impose special assessments. It doesn’t say the city must. We’re being assessed over $11,000; this increases speed and volume of traffic and we have to do snow removal. This benefits all of West Bend. Why isn’t the cost distributed evenly among all taxpayers? Are all road improvements in the city of WB financed by special assessments? Then if not – why this one? This money doesn’t fall from the sky. This isn’t fair or ethical. I hope you will decide to levy this tax on all taxpayers evenly.”
Click HERE to watch when the common council votes in favor of the special assessment in 2020.
Fast forward to 2022 and the current project. Marechal responded to a number of questions.
WashingtonCountyInsider.com – How many neighbors will have to pay special assessment?
City Engineer Max Marechal – We do not have the final number of properties affected yet.
In addition, some people may own multiple properties, some properties may be owned by multiple people, and some ownership may be LLCs or Trust Funds, so it would be difficult to determine how many people were affected.
The number of properties affected is usually in the final special assessment report published after the work is completed and the contract is paid in full.
We have to go through the boundary agreement between the City of West Bend and the Town of West Bend, as well as the various developer’s agreements for the developments along the east side of 18th Avenue, and other documents if we find others that are applicable, in order to get to the final number of properties and generate the special assessment report.
WisDOT held a public information meeting on Monday night at City Hall. Some residents and property owners were present and asked about the assessment aspect of this project. I explained this process to them.
WashingtonCountyInsider.com – How many had to pay on north end?
Max Marechal – I assume that with “north end” you mean the portion of 18th Avenue between Vogt Drive and Decorah Road.
If so, the final special assessment report shows 120 tax key numbers, including 38 condo units. Some people may have owned multiple properties, some properties may have been owned by multiple people, and some ownership may have been LLCs or Trust Funds, so it would be difficult to determine how many people were affected.
WashingtonCountyInsider.com – What is the average special assessment – an extra $100 or extra $1,000?
Max Marechal – We do not have the special assessment numbers at this time. Usually, the special assessment numbers are not finalized until the report is published, a few months after the work is completed and the contract is paid in full.
For the portion of 18th Avenue between Vogt Drive and Decorah Road constructed in 2018, we published preliminary numbers based on estimates and construction bid numbers, so property owners would have a ballpark figure in advance.
I told the residents and property owners present Monday night that we would provide the same courtesy and prepare a preliminary draft report in the same way. We can hopefully publish it in the next 2 to 3 weeks.
In 2020 the council also determined the special assessment bills could be paid over five years and property owners would be given payment plan options. In 2020 any payment plan would commence in 2021 and that would help if anybody was experiencing financial hardship.
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