Havre Daily News
The city of Havre is working with property owners along First Avenue West to pay for a paving project there. Havre Mayor Bob Rice said Wednesday that four property owners have signed written agreements to help pay for the project.
Town Pump will pay about $14,600 for its share of the project. The company is paying more than other property owners because it is having the alley and its parking lot paved as well, Havre public works director Dave Peterson said today.
The other three property owners are paying about $4,500 for the street paving. Peterson said the city is chipping in about $10,000 in state-allocated fuel tax funds, which are used for street maintenance.
Rice said Bill Baltrusch Construction was donating some of the labor on the project and planned to have the street paved on Friday.
Peterson said the city still has several more unpaved streets. One is near the 4B's Restaurant and a few are on the east end, he said.
Rice said he is trying to work to get other streets in the city paved. He would not say which one will be paved next. City officials have said that working out agreements with property owners saves money in the long run for those owners. Otherwise, property owners can work with the city to create special improvement districts to have streets paved. There are extra costs associated with SIDs, such as interest paid on the bonds sold to finance the improvements during the life of the bonds. Property owners pay for the improvements over time as part of their property tax bill.
Some members of the Havre City Council objected when Rice got verbal agreements from business owners along Third Avenue West to pay for the paving of that street. One business on that street, Pizza Hut, paid half of what the city had billed it. An area manager for Pizza Hut said the company paid half the bill because it had never agreed to pay the total cost and hadn't planned for the expenditure.
Rice said he got written agreements for the new paving project because some people in Havre thought it was necessary.
”A handshake used to work,“ he said.
Havre City Council member Allen ”Woody“ Woodwick said he thinks Rice made the right decision in getting written agreements, but he isn't sure that it is the best practice to continue paving streets in that manner.
”A written agreement is better than a verbal agreement,“ Woodwick said. ”However, I think a better way to get these streets paved is to use the SID process.
”If I'm not mistaken, with the SID process, we wouldn't be spending our maintenance money on it,“ he added. ”We're taking money away from the repair and maintenance of streets to do the paving. All of the other streets that have been paved were done with SIDs. Is that really fair to everybody else that has paid on the SIDs? ... I don't think it is.“
Woodwick said he was not informed about the project.
”We haven't been in communication,“ he said. ”I found out about it by driving by and seeing it.
”I'm not opposed to paving the streets, but I just can't see why we're not using the SID process,“ he added.