The Hermiston City Council approved the final assessment of a new Local Improvement District Monday night, two weeks after initially considering the assessment before tabling it after hearing concerns by property owners.
The concerns centered around an informal agreement outlined by the city a couple of years ago that would have had it pay $250,000 as part of the overall estimate of $2.9 million needed to make all the improvements to the South Hermiston Industrial Park. Those improvements include paving and installing water and sewer mains. Half that of the original estimate of $2.9 million would come from a federal grant, with the county adding $50,000 and the rest coming from existing property owners.
As work began on the park, however, it became apparent that the overall cost of the project would be right around $2 million, not $2.9 million. That new, lower estimate would have lowered the property owners’ share from $1.16 million to $947,734 – an 18.4 percent reduction.
As a result, the city made the decision to re-allocate its share of $250,000 to other improvements within the SHIP that aren’t covered by the LID itself.
Several in the audience on March 28, however, felt the city should stick to its original agreement of contributing $250,000, thereby lowering the final cost to property owners to $697,734.
At the March 28 meeting, the council agreed to table the final assessment and come back with a new figure – this time factoring in the city’s $250,000 contribution.
On Monday, the council voted unanimously to add back the city’s contribution of $250,000, thereby lowering the property owners’ share to just under $700,000.
“I think the action you’re taking tonight is very appropriate,” said Mayor Dave Drotzmann. “I appreciate the willingness of the administration to come back with a different recommendation. It’s not often that the community feels heard or has the opportunity to change the direction of governance, and so last meeting was that opportunity. The council heard the concerns, agreed with the concerns and addressed the concerns.”