Charter: Article X
Public Improvements

Section 10.1. Power to make public improvements

The city may establish and improve public highways of every character and part thereof by doing any of the following:

  1. Grading, regrading, paving, repaving, macadamizing, surfacing, resurfacing, constructing, reconstructing, oiling, sprinkling, curbing, guttering, or repairing the same.
  2. Construction or repairing sidewalks thereon.
  3. Planting, removing, and caring for trees, grass and shrubbery on or along the same, or by sodding the same.
  4. Constructing and maintaining bridges, viaducts, subways, culverts, drains, and sewers on or along any highway or right of way therefor.

The city may do the following:

  1. Acquire, construct, repair, and maintain sanitary or storm sewers, drains and all appurtenances thereto.
  2. Improve watercourses and the banks thereof and divert and change the channels of the same.
  3. Acquire, construct, repair, and maintain all other public improvements, which said public improvements may be paid for in whole or in part out of the general funds, or out of the public improvement fund herein authorized, or out of the proceeds of bonds, or in whole or in part out of special assessments on benefit property, or by special tax bills evidencing such assessments. The council shall have the power to establish special benefit districts for the purpose of making such improvements. When not otherwise limited by law, the powers enumerated herein may be exercised by the city, within or outside of the city limits, for the benefit of the city and its inhabitants.

Approved by vote of the people November 8, 1955.

Section 10.2. Property subject to special assessment

All property located within any benefit district established by the council, whether publicly or privately owned, shall be liable for special assessment made or special tax bill issued against such property, which said special assessment or special tax bill constitutes a lien against said property.

Approved by vote of the people November 8, 1955.

Section 10.3. Method of payment

Ordinances and contracts for public improvements shall specify the manner in which payment is to be made. Payment may be in whole or in part in cash from the general funds of the city; in cash from the public improvement fund as hereinafter provided; in cash from the proceeds of general obligation bonds, public improvement bonds, special assessment bonds, or temporary improvement notes; in special tax bills to be delivered to the contractor performing the work; or in whole or in part from any other source. In case payment is to be made to the contractor in whole or in part in special tax bills or other evidence of special assessments, the city in no event shall be liable for payment of that portion in cash. The city shall have the right to purchase or sell any special tax bills issued by it.

Approved by vote of the people November 8, 1955.

Section 10.4. Letting of contracts

All public improvements constructed or made at the expense of the city costing more than five hundred dollars, and all work to be done for which payment is to be obtained by special tax bills or special assessments, shall be let by contract to the lowest responsible bidder in conformity with Section 5.4 of this Charter; but the council may provide that any work may be done by the city's own departments and employees when no satisfactory bid is received or when it is deemed advisable by the city manager. Provided, however, nothing herein or otherwise in this Charter shall prohibit the city from directly contributing to or reimbursing a part of the cost of public improvements constructed under subdivision regulations of the city provided that reimbursement or contribution is made in accordance with a schedule expressly providing therefor previously adopted by general law of the city for all cases.

Section 10.5. Proceedings relative to improvements

The council shall by general ordinance provide the procedure for initiating improvements, letting of contracts therefor, the method of levying assessments to pay for the same and the issuance and enforcement of special tax bills to pay for the same for any public improvements which are to be paid for in whole or in part by special tax bills upon real property, or by use of the public improvement fund, as in this Charter provided, reimbursed by the collection of said tax bills, which said tax bills shall be a lien against the property subject to such special assessment.

Approved by vote of the people November 8, 1955.

Section 10.6. Notice of public improvement and remonstrances

Such general ordinance shall provide that notice of the necessity of any such improvement as determined by the council and of the proposed method of payment and reference to any plans and specifications and an estimate of cost thereof shall be published in some daily newspaper printed in the city for five consecutive issues, and at the same time the city shall cause not less than three copies of the issue to be posted in conspicuous places within the limits of the proposed improvements.

If a majority of the resident owners of the property liable to taxation therefor, at the date of the initiation of such improvement, who shall also own a majority of the front feet owned by the residents of the city abutting on the highway or sidewalk or parts thereof proposed to be improved, do not within ten (10) days after the completion of said publication, file with the City Clerk their protest against such improvements, the Council may proceed in accordance with the terms of the ordinances herein provided with such improvements; provided, however, if the Director of the Department of Public Health and Welfare files with the City Clerk a written recommendation that sanitary sewers are necessary for sanitary, health or environmental reasons, there shall be no legally recognizable right to protest the sewers and the city shall have the right to proceed as if no protest was filed.

Approved by vote of the people April 3, 2001.

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