City of Prescott, WI
Pierce County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Common Council of the City of Prescott as Title 3, Ch. 2, of the former City Code. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Finance and taxation — See Ch. 83.
Impact fees — See Ch. 352.

§ 15-1 Common Council may levy special assessments.

A. 
The City of Prescott, by resolution of its Common Council, may levy and collect special assessments upon property in a limited and determinable area for special benefits conferred upon such property by any municipal work or improvement and may provide for the payment of all or any part of the cost of the work or improvement out of the proceeds of the special assessments. In addition to other methods approved by law, special assessments for any public work or improvement or any special charge for current services may be levied in accordance with the provisions of this article.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).
B. 
The amount assessed against any property for any work or improvement which does not represent an exercise of the police power shall not exceed the value of the benefits accruing to the property therefrom, and for those representing an exercise of the police power, the assessment shall be upon a reasonable basis as determined by the Common Council.
C. 
The favored procedure in the City for proceeding with making specially assessable public improvements as generally set forth in this article is not intended in any way to disregard or to bar proceeding under other methods provided by law for making of public improvements and for the levying of assessments therefor. Nor is this article intended to be an exhaustive, detailed recodification of the state law under § 66.0703, Wis. Stats. Detailed requirements still require reference to said statutory section and the subsections thereunder. The purpose hereof is to generally define and establish local procedures.[2]
[2]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).

§ 15-2 Resolution and report required.

A. 
Public improvements carried out pursuant to § 66.0703, Wis. Stats., and this article shall be initiated by a preliminary resolution presented to the Council by the City Engineer, which resolution shall declare the Council's intention to exercise its assessment powers for such municipal purpose(s), describe the same, the limits of the proposed assessment district, the number of installments in which special assessment may be paid or that the number of installments will be determined at hearing thereon, and direct the City Engineer to make a report thereon. After adoption of such preliminary resolution by the Common Council, copies thereof shall be forwarded by the City Clerk to the City Engineer. The City Clerk shall forthwith, after adoption of such preliminary resolution, obtain a list of the names and addresses of all interested persons, if with reasonable diligence their names and addresses may be obtained, and forward the same to the City Engineer. Upon receipt of copy of such preliminary resolution, the City Engineer shall prepare the report thereon.
B. 
The report required by Subsection A shall consist of:
(1) 
Preliminary or final plans and specifications.
(2) 
An estimate of the entire cost of the proposed work or improvement.
(3) 
An estimate, as to each parcel of property affected, of:
(a) 
The assessment of benefits to be levied.
(b) 
The damages to be awarded for property taken or damaged.
(c) 
The net amount of such benefits over damages or the net amount of such damages over benefits.
(4) 
A statement that the property against which the assessments are proposed is benefited, where the work or improvements constitute an exercise of the police power. In such case, the estimates required under Subsection B(3) shall be replaced by a schedule of the proposed assessments.
C. 
A copy of the report when completed shall be filed with the City Clerk for public inspection.
D. 
When the Common Council determines by resolution that the hearing on the assessments be held subsequent to the completion of the work or improvement or rendering of the service, the report required by § 66.0703(5), Wis. Stats., and Subsections A and B above still contain a statement of the final cost of the work, service or improvement in lieu of an estimate of the cost.

§ 15-3 Costs that may be paid by special assessment.

The cost of any work or improvement to be paid in whole or in part by special assessment on property may include the direct and indirect cost thereof, the damages occasioned thereby, the interest on bonds or notes issued in anticipation of the collection of the assessments, a reasonable charge for the services of the administrative staff of the City and the cost of any architectural, engineering and legal services, and any other item of direct or indirect cost which may reasonably be attributed to the proposed work or improvement. The amount to be assessed against all property for any such proposed work or improvement shall be apportioned among the individual parcels in the manner designated by the Common Council.

§ 15-4 Exemptions. [1]

If any property deemed benefited shall by reason of any provision of law be exempt from assessment therefor, such assessment shall be computed and shall be paid by the City.
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).

§ 15-5 Notice of proposed or approved project.

A. 
Notice requirements. On the completion and filing of the report and final resolution with the City Clerk required in § 15-2C of this article, the City Clerk or City Engineer shall prepare a notice of hearing, which notice shall comply with § 66.0703(7), Wis. Stats., and state the nature of the proposed or approved work or improvement, the general boundary lines of the proposed assessment district and the place and time at which the report may be inspected. In publishing the notice of hearing, the City Clerk shall set the place and time at which all interested persons, their agents or attorneys may appear before the Common Council or committee thereof and be heard concerning the matters contained in the preliminary resolution and report. Such notice shall be signed by the City Clerk who shall cause the same to be published at least once in the official newspaper and shall mail a copy of such notice at least 10 days before the hearing to every interested person whose post office address is known or can be ascertained with reasonable diligence. The hearing shall commence not less than 10 days and not more than 40 days after the publication or mailing of said notice.
B. 
Waiver of notice. The Council may, without any notice or hearing, levy and assess the whole or any part of the cost of any municipal work or whole or any part of the cost of any municipal work or improvement as a special assessment upon the property specifically benefited thereby whenever notice and hearing thereon is in writing waived by all the owners of property affected by such special assessment. In such cases, the procedure shall be the same as hereinbefore provided excepting for the noticing and holding of public hearing thereon.

§ 15-6 Council actions after hearing.

A. 
After the hearing, the Common Council may:
(1) 
Approve, disapprove, modify or re-refer the report to the City Engineer with such directions as it deems necessary to change the plans and specifications as to accomplish a fair and equitable assessment.
(2) 
Continue the public hearing, preliminarily approve plans and specifications and, if the project requires advertising for bids, authorize and direct the advertisement therefor with a date certain for consideration and taking action thereon, inclusive of action on said report and action on final resolution.
B. 
If an assessment is made against any property and an award of compensation or damage is made in favor of the property, the Common Council shall assess only the difference between such assessment of benefits and the award of compensation or damage.
(1) 
If the work or improvement has not been previously authorized or approved, the Common Council shall approve the work or improvement and by resolution direct that the same be done and paid for in accordance with the report finally approved.
(2) 
If the work or improvement has been approved by the Common Council or work commenced or completed prior to the filing of the report or prior to the hearing, then the Common Council shall by resolution confirm the report as made or modified and provide for payment in whole or in part by assessment.
C. 
The City Clerk shall publish the final resolution as required in § 15-2 of this article.
D. 
After the publication of the final resolution, any work or improvement provided for and not yet authorized shall be deemed fully authorized and all awards of compensation or damage and all assessments made shall be deemed duly and properly made, subject to the right of appeal under § 66.0703(12), Wis. Stats., or any other applicable provision of law.
E. 
As soon as the assessable cost of such work or improvement is finalized, the City Clerk shall issue respective special assessment certificates for each property affected and specifying the manner in which payment is to be made and shall send copy of the respective assessment affecting each property to each owner's post office address that is known or can be obtained with reasonable diligence.

§ 15-7 Combined assessments.

If more than a single improvement is undertaken, the Common Council may combine the assessments as a single assessment on each property affected, except that the property owner may object to any one or more of said improvements.

§ 15-8 Council's power to amend, cancel or confirm special assessment.

If, after completion or after the receipt of bids, the actual cost of any work or improvement is found to vary materially from the original estimate, or the assessment is void or invalid for any reason, or if the Common Council determines to reconsider an assessment, it is empowered, after giving notice as required in § 15-5, to amend, cancel or confirm any prior assessment; and notice of this amending, canceling or confirming shall be given by the City Clerk as provided in § 15-6 of this article.

§ 15-9 Where cost of improvement is less than assessment.

If the cost of the work or improvement is less than the assessment levied, the Common Council without notice or hearing shall reduce each assessment proportionately. If the assessment has been paid either in part or in full, the City shall refund the property owner such overpayment.

§ 15-10 Appeals; appealed assessments payable when due.

A. 
Any person against whose property a special assessment is levied under this article may appeal therefrom in the manner prescribed by § 66.0703(12), Wis. Stats., as amended, within 40 days of the date of the final determination of the Common Council.
B. 
Pursuant to § 66.0703(12)(f), Wis. Stats., it shall be a condition to the maintenance of any appeal that any assessment appealed shall be paid when due and payable, and upon default in payment any such appeal shall be dismissed.

§ 15-11 Payment of special assessments; special assessment a lien on property.

A. 
Payment of special assessments.
(1) 
Without interest. Upon receipt of a copy of the special assessment certificate, any person may pay the same in full, without interest, if paid to the City Treasurer within the grace period therein allowed and as allowed in the final resolution.
(2) 
After grace period. If any special assessment, or any part thereof, remains unpaid following the running of the grace period specified for payment without interest, at time of preparation of the first tax roll thereafter the same, together with interest computed thereon at the interest rate established in said final resolution and in said certificate computed from the date of levy (i.e., date of final resolution) or the finalizing of assessable costs, whichever is later, shall be entered in such tax roll in such manner as directed in said final resolution and certificate; thereafter, if the same is payable in installments, subsequent installments together with interest at said rate computed on declining balance shall be entered in subsequent tax rolls until fully paid. This provision is in no way intended to prohibit the prepayment of the balance owing at any time on principal together with interest to date of payment only.
B. 
Assessment a lien. Pursuant to § 66.0703(13), Wis. Stats., any special assessment levied under this article shall be a lien on the property against which it is levied on behalf of the City. The Common Council shall provide for the collection of such assessments and may establish penalties for payment after the due date. The Common Council shall provide that all assessments not paid by the date specified shall be extended upon the tax roll as a delinquent tax against the property and all proceedings in relation to the collection of such delinquent taxes shall apply to such assessment, except as otherwise provided by statute.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Original Sec. 3-2-12, Special charges permissible, which immediately followed this section, was repealed at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).

§ 15-12 Special charges.

[Added 9-13-2010 by Ord. No. 10-10]
A. 
The City may impose a special charge against real property for current services rendered by allocating all or part of the cost of the service to the property served in accordance with the provisions of this section, which are hereby adopted pursuant to § 66.0627, Wis. Stats.
B. 
A special charge is not payable in installments. If a special charge is not paid within the time determined by the governing body, the special charge is delinquent. A delinquent special charge becomes a lien on the property.
C. 
Special charges include but are not limited to:
(1) 
Snow and ice removal.
(2) 
Weed elimination.
(3) 
Garbage and refuse collection, disposal and landfill dumping fees.
(4) 
Repair of sidewalks, curb and gutter.
D. 
On or around October 20 in each year notice shall be given to the owner or occupant of all lots or parcels of real estate which have received services considered special charges and for which payment is owed and in arrears at the time of giving the notice.
E. 
The notice shall be in writing and shall state the amount of delinquent special charges, including any penalty assessed, and shall state that unless the amount is paid by November 1, a penalty of 10% of the amount of arrears will be added. The notice shall say that unless the arrears with any added penalty are paid by November 15, the arrears and penalty will be levied as a tax against the lot or parcel of real estate to which services considered special charges were furnished and for which payment is delinquent.

§ 15-13 Miscellaneous provisions.

[Amended 5-29-2012 by Ord. No. 08-12]
A. 
If any assessment or charge levied under this article is invalid because such statutes are found to be unconstitutional, the Common Council may thereafter reassess such assessment or charge pursuant to the provisions of any applicable law.
B. 
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, or this or other ordinance or resolution, it is specifically intended and provided by this article that the City may levy special assessments for work or improvement against the property benefited either before or after the approval of the work plans and specifications, contracting for the work or completing the work or improvement.

§ 15-14 Special assessment B bonds.

As an alternative to any other financing method, the Common Council may provide for the payment of the initial cost of any public improvement from the proceeds of special assessment "B" bonds issued under § 66.0713(4) and (5), Wis. Stats. Special assessments to retire such bonds and pay the interest thereon shall be levied under § 66.0703, Wis. Stats., payable in such installments at a rate to be determined by the Council based upon borrowed money rates at the time of the special assessment.

§ 15-15 Special assessment basis for curb and gutter.

[Amended 5-29-2012 by Ord. No. 08-12; 11-12-2012 by Ord. No. 12-12]
A. 
Generally. Street curb and gutters shall be financed by special assessment as deemed advisable by the Council. All special assessments shall be levied in accordance with the provisions of § 66.0703, Wis. Stats., and of this article.
B. 
Front-foot rates. Special assessments shall be levied on a front-foot basis, provided that the charge per front foot and the total assessment on any one parcel shall not exceed the benefits thereto. The amount levied for each front foot shall be determined as follows: curb and gutter special assessment costs shall be paid by the residents equal to 100% of unclassified excavation, crushed aggregate base, concrete curb and gutter, appropriate engineering and administration fees, and restoration recommended by the City Engineer, which could include seed and mulch, sod, other vegetation, and some other option.
C. 
Single frontage lots. The special assessment on lots which abut on only one public street shall be determined by multiplying the total number of front footage by the special assessment charge per foot.
D. 
Corner lot. The special assessments on corner lots shall be determined by multiplying the assessable footage by the special assessment charge per foot. Owner of the property on corner lot will pay 100% assessment on the front footage on the long side and 50% on the short side.
E. 
Deferred payments. The Council may permit the deferred payment of such special assessment until the project is completed, but no longer than 10 years following the date of levy, in accordance with § 66.0715(2), Wis. Stats.

§ 15-16 Payment installments.

Unless otherwise provided in the preliminary or final special assessment resolution, all special assessments levied under this section may be paid in installments pursuant to a schedule prescribed by the Common Council with interest at a rate of cost of project funds plus 2%. If the assessment cannot be tied to specific financing, the interest rate shall be tied to a market cost of funds plus 2%.

§ 15-17 Water and sewer main extensions.

Water and sewer main extensions within the City shall be extended on either a special assessment or cost advancement basis and in accordance with the Wisconsin Statutes.

§ 15-18 Special assessment basis for water and sewer.

A. 
Generally. Water and sewer main extensions shall be financed by special assessments for such extensions as deemed advisable by the Council. In general the special assessment method shall be used for main extensions to service areas in immediate need of water or sewer service or which are deemed likely to develop and need service within 10 years following the levying of the special assessments. All special assessments shall be levied in accordance with the provisions of § 66.0703, Wis. Stats., and of this section.
B. 
Front-foot rates. Special assessments shall be levied on a front-foot basis, provided that the charge per front foot and the total assessment on any one parcel shall not exceed the benefits thereto. The amount levied for each front foot shall be determined as follows:
[Amended 5-29-2012 by Ord. No. 08-12]
(1) 
Sewer special assessment costs shall be paid for by the residents equal to 100% of excavation, foundation material, sewer mains, manholes, service wyes, service pipes, locating devices, testing, connection to existing mains, restoration recommended by the City Engineer, which could include seed and mulch, sod, other vegetation or some other option, and appropriate engineering and administration fees.
(2) 
Water special assessment costs shall be paid for by the residents equal to 100% of excavation, foundation material, water mains, valves, service taps, service pipes, curb stops, locating devices, testing, insulation, connection to existing mains, restoration recommended by the City Engineer, which could include seed and mulch, sod, other vegetation or some other option, and appropriate engineering and administration fees.
C. 
Single frontage lots. The special assessment on lots which abut on only one public street shall be determined by multiplying the total number of front footage by the special assessment charge per foot.
D. 
Corner lots. The special assessment on corner lots shall be determined by multiplying the assessable front footage by the special assessment charge per foot. The assessable front footage shall be determined as follows:
(1) 
If mains shall be extended which abut on both sides of a corner lot, the assessable front footage thereon shall be 50% of the total frontage abutting on the public streets, but not less than 100% of the total frontage of the long side.
(2) 
If the mains shall be extended which abut only one side of a corner lot, the assessable front footage shall be the total frontage of the short side if the main abuts such side, or 100% of the long side if the main abuts such long side.
(3) 
If mains shall be extended which abut a corner lot that abuts an existing main, but is not served by the existing main, the assessable front footage shall be 50% of the total frontage of both sides, but not less than 100% of the long side frontage, but not to exceed 200 feet, from which there shall be deducted the number of front feet on which special assessments were previously paid, if any.
(4) 
If the water main shall be extended which abuts a corner lot that abuts an existing main, and is served by the existing water main, the assessable water main front footage shall be 50% of the total frontage of both sides, but not less than 100% of the long side frontage, but not to exceed 200 feet, from which there shall be deducted the number of front feet on which special assessments were previously paid, if any.
(5) 
If the sewer main shall be extended which abuts a corner lot that abuts an existing main, and is served by the existing sewer main, the assessable sewer main front footage shall be 50% of the total frontage of both sides, but not less than 100% of the long side frontage, but not to exceed 200 feet, from which there shall be deducted the number of front feet on which special assessments were previously paid, if any. However, the assessment upon this frontage shall be deferred until and unless hookup to the main occurs. If hookup to the main occurs, the property owner shall be responsible for all costs for hooking up to the City's sanitary main system. In addition to the assessment, these costs will include, but not be limited to, laterals, restoration, all other related labor and equipment and any applicable hookup or impact fees. If hookup to the main does not occur within 20 years, the deferred special assessments shall be forgiven.
(6) 
If mains are extended on any side of a triangular or odd shaped lot, the charges shall be determined by first calculating the square footage of the lot and then reducing the frontage to a square lot; thereafter the rates shall apply as provided in Subsection D(1), (2), (3), (4) or (5) above.
E. 
Deferred payments. The Council may permit the deferred payment of such special assessments until the property is connected to the main, but not longer than 10 years following the date of the levy, in accordance with § 66.0715(2), Wis. Stats.

§ 15-19 Cost advancement method.

The cost advancement method of financing water and sewer main extensions shall be used in such areas as deemed advisable by the Council. In general this method shall be used only when application is made for public water or sewer service which would require the extension of mains through sparsely occupied areas to serve such applicant, or through areas which in the judgment of the Council are unlikely to develop extensively within the next 10 years. Where extensions are authorized on a cost advancement basis the procedure shall be as follows:
A. 
The applicant shall deposit with the City treasury a sum sufficient to pay the total estimated cost of the extension, including 100% of street intersection costs, less the amount allocable to fire protector service of such extension, if any.
B. 
Such deposit shall be made before construction is started or contracted. If the actual apportionable cost shall be less than the amount deposited, the excess of the deposit over the cost shall be refunded to the applicant within 30 days after notice of the amount due.
C. 
Any property owner connected to such main, other than the applicant, shall pay to the City a connection charge determined by the Council which shall be equivalent to the amount of front foot special assessments which would have been levied by the City at the time such extension was made.

§ 15-20 Payment installments.

Unless otherwise provided in the preliminary or final special assessment resolutions, all special assessments levied under this article may be paid in installments pursuant to a schedule prescribed by the Common Council with interest at the maximum rate allowable in accordance with the provisions of § 66.0715(3), Wis. Stats.

§ 15-21 Sewer assessment rates.

Sewer assessments shall be at a rate determined by the Common Council.

§ 15-22 Application for permit.

A. 
Permit required. Any person desiring to connect to the Municipal Wastewater System shall apply to the Common Council or its designated representative for connection authorization.
B. 
Connection fee. Before a permit is issued allowing a connection to a wastewater line in the City, there shall be paid a connection fee as established by the Common Council in the City's fee schedule for each wastewater availability charge unit assessed to the connection.
C. 
Charges. For the purposes of this section, the wastewater availability charge shall be computed as follows:
(1) 
Each single-family residential house, each living unit in a townhouse and duplex shall each comprise one unit.
(2) 
Multifamily residential, such as condominiums and apartments, shall comprise one living unit for each residence.
(3) 
Mobile homes shall each comprise one unit.
(4) 
Other buildings and structures, including commercial and industrial buildings, shall have the wastewater availability charge unit determined by the Common Council or its designated representative, upon the recommendation of the Common Council. All charges relate to four-inch sewer line only. Charges on anything larger will be determined by the Common Council or designated representative, upon the recommendation of the Director of Public Works.
D. 
Basis for determination. The Metropolitan Council current standard service availability charge units for various commercial, public and institutional facilities may be referred to as a basis for determining units in the connection charge. Each connection into the City-owned part of the wastewater collection system shall be subject to a wastewater availability charge. The minimum wastewater availability charge shall be as established by the Common Council.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).

§ 15-23 Water main assessments.

Water main assessments shall be based on cost divided by number of assessable linear feet serviced, as determined by the Council.