Originally Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2010, 9:21 pm
Last Updated: Sept. 21, 2010, 9:31 pm

Silvis officials planning sewer help for Fair Acres homeowners

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By Seth Kabala, correspondent@qconline.com

SILVIS -- City officials are considering grants to help Fair Acres subdivision residents with sewer connections.

At Tuesday night's Silvis City Council meeting, city attorney Dean Sutton told council members the total cost of the Fair Acres sewer main project will significantly exceed the $350,000 in grants received. City engineer Roger Geiken confirmed the total was $442,000 which, divided by the subdivision's 64 lots, computes to nearly $7,000 that each homeowner would pay in a 10-year special assessment unless the city steps in -- which it is.

City leaders on Tuesday tentatively decided to provide between $4,000 and $5,000 per lot from the infrastructure tax to offset the cost. The figure will be finalized in time for a public hearing on the project at 5:30 p.m. Monday at city hall.

Mr. Sutton said Mr. Geiken will present the scope of the project at the meeting while he discusses the legal ramifications, namely the annexation agreement Fair Acres residents entered into four years ago that included the possibility of a special assessment.

"This is no surprise," Mr. Sutton said of the assessment. He added that if disagreements arise at the hearing, the project must return to the Board of Local Improvement for more analysis to determine if the project should be scrapped, changed or advanced as is. Disagreements also will force the city to hold a second public hearing on the matter, Mr. Sutton said

In the 1980s, Silvis officials contributed $3,200 towards each resident's portion for a similar project in the Silvis Heights subdivision, Mr. Geiken said. Mayor Bill Fox and other council members said that precedent made it appropriate for the city to contribute some money, but residents should pay their fair share.

"I don't think it's fair to ask the city to fund the whole thing because this is just a project for that area," said Mayor Fox.

In other business, council members learned East Moline will not be increasing sewer rates this coming year, but is planning a 3 percent hike the following year.

The committee of the whole also advanced buying new park benches for 1st Avenue to a full council vote on Oct. 5. The $5,000 cost is $3,000 less than the original estimate, said Ald. Matt Carter, 2nd Ward. He noted the benches, made from recycled milk cartons, will be concentrated in the bus stop area of 1st Avenue, and paid for with funds from the Tax Increment Finance District No. 1.

The committee also moved to full council vote a $250 donation to Scout Troop 113 for its litter removal. The money will help fund a canoe trip. Ald. Carter; Jim Cramblett, 3rd Ward, and Caryn Unsicker, 4th Ward, said they personally would raise the donation to $500 for the scouts' trip.