By Thomas Bauer
As March winds wind down and April crawls in under the cover of cold and rain the UDCA committee responsible for exploring and implementing a Special Assessment District (SAD) has been hard at work. We have been meeting 2 or 3 times a month discussing and researching the benefits and disadvantages of having a special assessment in our community.
Before we can submit our applications to the City (Department of Neighborhoods) we have to do a lot of homework. Currently we are in the planning stage, exploring the three services, determining what services and at what level we would best be served by, what those services cost, and what cost we as a neighborhood are willing to bear. The city requires three bids for each of the three service areas. The neighborhoods around us are also working on their special assessments and we have been in contact with them as well as developing a plan specific to our neighborhood. Sherwood Forest is expecting to collect this summer!
I’ve been asked about the cost. That will depend on what the community decides it wants to pay for, but, we expect it to fall around $250 and surely no more than $350. If a SAD is implemented here we won’t be seeing it on our tax bills any sooner than the summer tax bill of 2018.
Why so long? Applications and approvals! We can’t even submit our initial application to be the “Designated Neighborhood Improvement Organization” until we have all of our bids in place and a proposed plan and annual budget completed. Then if the City says O.K. we can begin the process of election including reaching out to every property owner in one manor or another for their vote for or against.
Some folks feel that we may try to rush this thing through without reaching all of our property owners. Not on my watch. It is important to our committee that we communicate with as many property owners as we can through community meetings, meetings in people’s homes, direct mail to your homes, our website, this blog, etc. and finally an open Public Hearing as required by the city ordinance. This cannot be implemented without a Public Hearing before City Council which by law requires a notice mailed to every parcel in the UDCA. All residents can speak at this hearing.
The idea behind a SAD is that we can elevate the quality of life in our neighborhood if everybody agrees to pay a little extra for extra service. We collectively all pay a little more rather than a few of us paying a lot more. Together we can have full time private security! Together we can have snow plowing and salting more frequently! Together we can decide when to go after disease carrying mosquitos rather than wait until the city decides to!
This is a decision we will make as a community! Together!