Norwalk Residents Stress Over Large Street Assessments - ABC5 News Des Moines, IA

Norwalk Residents Stress Over Large Street Assessments

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 By: Claire Powell

Two streets in Norwalk are going to be repaired, but it's going to cost homeowners thousands of dollars out of their own pockets for those improvements.

People who live along Wakonda Drive and Holly Drive received a letter over the weekend containing assessment estimates for the repairs. Many were shocked to see the estimates in the mid-thousands.

"The letter was definitely shocking! I shared it with my wife and we were surprised we'd have to pay anything at all with the repairs that were going to go on," said Erick Danielson, who lives on Wakonda Drive.

Homeowners on Wakonda will pay between an estimated $2,500-8,000 for gutter, sidewalk, drain and road repairs. 

Homeowners on Holly Drive will pay a higher estimate, between $5,000-9,000, because that road will be completely reconstructed. Holly residents also won't be able to use their driveways and will have to use allotted off-street parking for two or three months. However, garbage and recycling pick up will still continue.

This construction will start as soon as April and continue through October of 2014.

"I guess my first reaction was outrage! I didn't think the tax payers should be burdened with this right now!" said Ken Fick, who lives on Wakonda Drive.

"Looking at that numbers $5,000-9,000, thinking how will I come up with this money? Why did no one ask me?" said Karen Danner, resident along Holly Drive.

Norwalk City Council said they met 6-8 times to try and find a fair policy and an assessment was their answer. 

Thursday night, Norwalk Public Works along with McClure Engineering tried their best to answer questions.

"The general portion of it is covered my general obligation or city funds and that will be covered through a bond issue," said Tim Hoskins, Norwalk Public Works.

While the city pays for some, the rest is up to the residents. They can either pay the assessment in a lump sum or pay it off over the next 15 years.

"I think that's a big number for a lot of people," said Fick. "We have a very high tax rate out here anyway, so where are all the tax dollars going? This should've been covered."

"You know, to me, my street is fine and all of the sudden I find out that I have to pay this huge amount of money. My house is not going to go up in value," said Danner. "I'm sure I'll be attending more meetings, trying to understand all of this and I don't understand everything that's going on."

Norwalk has scheduled two more public information meetings for those residents. There's one on January 13th, at 5:30 p.m. at the Public Safety Building and another January 18th, 9 a.m. at Norwalk's City Hall. 

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