We have had several cases recently addressing the proper considerations for calculating special assessments (case summaries can be found here and here and here). HF 2178 if passed, will change/clarify the calculation of special assessments by cities, counties and sanitary districts in a number of ways. The major elements of the bill include:
Prior to the adoption of a preliminary resolution related to a public improvement, a city must adopt an ordinance setting forth the method to be used in determining the amount of “individual benefit,” “district benefit,” and “community benefit” projected to result from the public improvement and a description of the manner in which the cost of the public improvement will be allocated to each category of benefit.
The bill requires that 30 days’ notice be published prior to adoption of the preliminary resolution related to a public improvement, and requires the preliminary resolution to contain a detailed description of the method laid out in the ordinance, an estimate of the amount of individual benefit, district benefit, and community benefit that will be conferred as a result of the public improvement, and the proportion of the total cost of the public improvement which the council proposes to assess against property within the special assessment district.
The bill adds definitions for “community benefit”, “district benefit”, and “individual benefit”, and adds storm water management intakes, sewers, and facilities and traffic-control devices, fixtures, connections, and facilities to the definition of “street improvement.”
a. A public improvement that benefits, serves, or that is intended for use by only one lot, unless such public improvement is replacing an existing public improvement of acceptable or working quality and is required as a result of work on or repair of another public improvement that does not benefit, serve, or that is not intended for use by only that lot.
c. The portion of a sidewalk that exceeds the portion of the sidewalk presumed to be an individual benefit
The bill amends the definition of “district” to mean “the lots or parts of lots within boundaries of a geographic area established by the council for the purpose of the assessment of all or part of the cost of a public improvement that is intended in whole or in part to provide an individual benefit to such lots or parts of lots.”
The bill specifies that the total cost of a public improvement, except for certain paving near railroad tracks or improvements to be otherwise paid, may be assessed against all lots within the assessment district to the extent of the individual benefits conferred upon the property, and states that the portion of the total cost of a public improvement that is not assessed to individual lots as the result of individual benefits is attributable to the community benefit and shall be paid by the city. The bill allows a property owner to divide property that is subject to a special assessment into two or more lots for the purpose of separating improved portions of the land from those portions of the land which are unimproved or used for agricultural purposes.