Havre Daily News
Havre's few remaining dirt and gravel streets are slowly being covered with asphalt.
Havre Mayor Bob Rice said Thursday he is working with business owners and residents to bring those roads up to par with the rest of Havre's roadways.
He recently approached property owners along Third Avenue West and asked them to donate funds to get the street paved. Rice was able to raise more than $13,000, he said.
"We're still working on the bill, but it's probably going to cover the majority of it," Rice said.
If the property owners had petitioned the city for a special improvement district, in which bonds are sold to finance such projects, the cost could have been about $8,000 more, Rice said.
He said he approached Golden Spike owner Tammy Farmer, along with the owner of Pizza Hut and the residents along the street, who agreed to cover the cost out-of-pocket in order to save money.
City finance director Lowell Swenson said today that there are several extra costs associated with an SID.
"There are additional costs outside of just paying the contractor," Swenson said.
A bond attorney, who will ensure that all of the correct procedures are followed, can cost about $6,000, Swenson said. There are also costs associated with printing and marketing the bonds, as well as the interest that accrues over the life of the bonds, he added.
Rice said he felt the extra costs were "too much to ask" from the property owners. The city also got help from Bill Baltrusch, the contractor who did the work. Rice said Baltrusch deserves credit for donating some of his time to the project.
Farmer said she was pleased with the work.
"It's a nice improvement and we've had nothing but compliments," she said. "We're very pleased and so are the customers. I'm glad Mayor Bob approached us."
The pavement saves the business' parking lot from wear and tear from the gravel that previously covered the street, Farmer added.
Rice said he is trying to contact property owners along First Avenue West, which also is unpaved, in an attempt to do the same thing. He's talked to some, but hasn't heard back from all of the owners yet. He said he wants to get the street paved and save the owners money at the same time.
Rice said the city has been approached by property owners along Ninth Street West who want to create an SID to get that street paved.
Swenson said an SID is initiated by the property owners. Half of the owners in the specific area must sign a petition, and those who don't are allowed a certain amount of time to protest the district's creation. Once the Havre City Council passes a resolution to create the district, the city will review bids by financial institutions and select the lowest interest rate, Swenson said. Depending on the size of the district, the bonds can be paid off over 10 to 20 years.