Lansing work moves forward despite qualms

Published 9:45 am Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Though construction on a new sewer system in the former Lansing area is underway — and many homes should have service by the end of the year — the process to resolve a handful of homeowner disputes could take a while.

City engineer Jon Erichson said there are still about 60 people who have formal objections filed with the city in regards to assessments being levied for the roughly $3 million project.

That project is slated to be completely paid for by those getting the service, but many have said they either can’t afford sewer pipe — assessments are roughly $16,000 or more per resident — or shouldn’t have to pay for the service because they have perfectly good septic tanks.

Email newsletter signup

With those complaints still on the books, the city is working toward retaining an assessor, who will look at representative samples of some of the various objections — such as people with working septic systems, or those being charged for undeveloped lots.

When that process is done, the city and affected residents will meet for hearings to determine what the assessment values should be. It is quite possible that angry homeowners will hear that $16,000 is a fair price, but the number could change as well. The city also could decide to simply stick with the already established assessment amounts, regardless of the new findings.

When this is all said and done, those still unhappy with what they’re being charged can take the city to district court. However, just getting this far could take up to six months, Erichson said.

In the meantime, the city engineer said work will be progressing in the area. Though landscaping likely won’t be finished before winter, Erichson said he hopes to have service to homes this year, especially the handful facing potential state fines in early 2011 for straight-line pipes discharging waste into the Cedar River.