By Tim Leeds/Havre Daily Newsemail@example.com
The city of Havre is moving forward with plans to pave the southern end of First Avenue near Northern Montana Hospital.
The Havre City Council on Monday announced its intention to create a special improvement district to pave the last section of the avenue and install curbs and gutters along it, and to pave part of a parking lot the hospital has turned over to the city.
Havre Mayor Bob Rice said today the paving will reduce dust during the summer and will improve the condition of the street, which is an emergency snow route.
Paving the parking lot, which is adjacent to a walking park developed by the hospital, will also improve what is a "pretty nice facility," Rice said.
Deputy director of public works Gary Schaub said Tuesday that about 950 feet of First Avenue is unpaved.
The next step will be to notify property owners in the area of the intention to create the district. The city will notify the property owners through letters and announcements in the Havre Daily News, City Clerk Lowell Swenson said.
The city will sell bonds to pay for the initial cost of the projects. Property owners in the district will be assessed to pay off the bonds over 15 years, public works director Dave Peterson said.
Municipal bonds have lower interest rates than other types of financing, Swenson said, because the interest on the bonds is tax-free. That allows people in an SID to finance a project at a lower rate, he said.
Schaub said the proposed district contains about eight property owners, including Northern Montana Hospital.
Peterson told the City Council on Monday that when property owners first showed interest in paving the street a couple of years ago, the hospital asked if it could include paving part the parking lot. The city can't use SIDs to pave private property, so the hospital turned over a section of the lot to the city so the SID could finance the paving of that portion, Peterson said.
Swenson said only the hospital will be assessed the charge for paving the parking lot.
Swenson said that after the property owners in the area are notified of the city's intent, a public meeting will be held to discuss the creation of the SID. At least 50 percent of the property owners must agree to the SID before it can proceed, he said.
At least 50 percent of the property owners in the area a district would include must sign a petition asking for an SID before the council can pass a resolution announcing its intention to form the district.
Once the cost and other information about the SID are presented at the public meetings, the project will be dropped if more than 50 percent of the property owners oppose it, he said.