April 7, 2020 – West Bend, WI – The West Bend Common Council voted unanimously Monday night to approve a special assessment for neighbors in the Westminster Place subdivision located in the area of Decorah Road and 18th Avenue. The special assessment is tied to road improvements on 18th Avenue between Decorah Road and Vogt Drive along with curb and gutter, street lights, sidewalk, etc. About 85 properties are included in the special assessment.
In March 2020 neighbors spoke during a public hearing to try and convince the council to back off the special assessment that could tag properties an additional $1,757.14 to $5,449.47 to over $16,000. That last increase is for an address that houses a non-profit organization on 18th Avenue. Click HERE to watch the public hearing from March 3, 2020.
Monday night’s meeting
13. A Final Resolution Levying Special Assessments for the reconstruction of 18th Avenue between Vogt Drive and Decorah Road
City attorney Ian Prust – In consultation with City Administrator Jay Shambeau we felt this was important because these alderpersons consider this issue since the public hearing was in front of them.
City engineer Max Marechal – Payments could be made over five years and property owners would be given payment plan options.
Ian P – the other item to suggest and based on what other communities are doing is to delay the initial due date to May 1, 2021. This acknowledges the delays some people may be experiencing. The bills would be due and any payment plan would commence in 2021 and that would help if anybody is experiencing financial hardship.
Alderman Mark Allen – motion restated with Ian’s proposed changes.
All in favor – Alderman John Butschlick, Mark Allen, Andrew Chavalier, Chris Jenkins, Rich Kasten, Steve Hoogester, Justice Madl, Meghan Kennedy.
Dist. 8 alderwoman Meghan Kennedy: “I just wanted to say thank you to all the residence who reached out. I empathize and the people experiencing the impact of COVID-19 and the push back on the date. I went back and forth and to me the contract from 2004 stood out and that’s why I will vote yes because of the developer’s agreement.”
Neighbors in the Westminster Place subdivision have been extremely organized in their effort to try and fight the special assessment. 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.
After Monday’s vote, April 7, Westminster subdivision spokesman Louie Santini said he was extremely disappointed.
“The City Council should be ashamed of themselves. Anybody that’s having any kind of construction done, watch out for a special assessment.”
Questioned whether neighbors would file an appeal, Santini declined comment saying he wanted to cool down first and make a well thought-out decision.