[HISTORY: Adopted by the Village Council of the Village of Spring Lake as Ch. 66 of the 2000 Code of Ordinances. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The following words, terms and phrases, when used in this chapter, shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this section, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:
- When referring to the cost of any local public improvement, means the cost of services, plans, specifications, estimates, condemnation, spreading of rolls, notices, advertising, financing, acquisition of land or other property, construction, legal fees, interest on special assessment bonds not to exceed one year and all other costs incident to the making of such improvement, the special assessments for and the financing of such improvement.
- LOCAL PUBLIC IMPROVEMENT
- Any public improvement or repair which is of such a nature as to benefit especially any real property or properties within a district in the vicinity of such improvement or repair.
The whole cost or any part of the cost of any local public improvement may be defrayed by special assessment upon the real property specifically benefited by the improvement in the manner provided in this chapter.
Local public improvements may be initiated by petition signed as follows:
In the case of street and road improvements, by the record owners of lands whose frontage constitutes at least 65% of the total frontage upon the street or road improvement; and
In the case of all other local public improvements, by the record owners of lands whose land area constitutes at least 51% of the total land area in the special assessment district, as finally thereafter established.
In all cases, the record owners shall be determined based on the last preceding general tax records of the Village. Land contract purchasers shall be considered as record owners if they have registered with the Assessor to receive property tax bills. Lands not subject to assessment and lands within public streets and alleys shall not be included in computing frontage or assessment district area. Any filed petition may be supplemented as to signatures by the filing of an additional signed copy. Such petition shall contain a brief description of the property owned by the respective signatories; and if it shall appear that the petition is signed by the requisite percentage, the Clerk/Treasurer shall certify the petition to the Council. The petition shall be addressed to the Council and filed with the Clerk/Treasurer and shall in no event be considered directory but is advisory only.
Proceedings for the making of a local public improvement within the Village may also be commenced by resolution of the Council without a petition in those circumstances where the Council determines as part of its initiating resolution that the local public improvement concerns water distribution facilities or sanitary or storm sewer collection facilities which are necessary for the public health or that the local public improvement concerns street, sidewalk or alley improvements that are necessary for public safety. The determination of the Council as to necessity pursuant to this section shall be final and conclusive on all parties.
Before the Council shall consider the making of any local public improvement, the Council shall cause to be prepared a report which shall include, as the Council shall deem necessary, such plans and specifications as are necessary to generally describe the improvement and its location and prepare detailed estimates of cost, an estimate of the useful life of the improvement, a description of the assessment district, and such other pertinent information as will permit the Council to decide the cost, extent and necessity of the improvement proposed and what part or proportion should be paid by special assessments upon the property especially benefited and what part, if any, should be paid by the Village at large. The Council shall not finally determine to proceed with the making of any local public improvement until such report has been filed nor until after a public hearing has been held by the Council for the purpose of hearing objections to the making of the improvement.
After receiving the report required in § 307-5 for making any local public improvement, and after the Council has reviewed the report, a resolution may be passed tentatively:
Determining the necessity of the improvement and setting forth its nature;
Prescribing what part or proportion of the cost of the improvement shall be paid by special assessment upon the property especially benefited;
Determining the benefits received by affected properties, and what part, if any, shall be paid by the Village at large;
Designating and establishing the special assessment district; and
Designating whether the cost shall be assessed according to frontage or other benefits.
Such resolution shall also direct the placing of complete information concerning the improvement on file in the office of the Clerk/Treasurer, where it may be found for examination, and shall also direct the Clerk/Treasurer to give notice of a public hearing on the proposed improvement, at which time and place, interested persons will be given the opportunity to be heard. Such notice shall be given publication in a newspaper published or circulated within the Village and by first-class mail addressed to each owner of or person in interest in property to be assessed as shown by the last general tax assessment roll of the Village. The publication of notice shall be made at least 10 full days prior to the hearing, and the mailing of notice shall be made at least 10 full days prior to the date of the hearing. The notice shall state that the report concerning the improvement is on file with the Clerk/Treasurer and shall also contain a description of the special assessment district. Proof of publication and an affidavit of mailing shall be filed with the Clerk/Treasurer prior to the hearing. The hearing required by this section may be held at any regular, adjourned or special meeting of the Council.
At the public hearing on the proposed local public improvement, or any adjournment of the meeting, which may be without further notice, all persons interested shall be given an opportunity to be heard, after which the Council may modify the scope of the local public improvement in such a manner as it shall deem to be in the best interest of the Village as a whole; provided that if the scope of the improvement is increased or additions are made to the district, then another hearing shall be held pursuant to notice prescribed in § 307-6. If the determination of the Council shall be to proceed with the improvement, a resolution shall be passed approving the necessary plans and specifications, assessment district and detailed estimates of cost, and directing the Clerk/Treasurer to prepare a special assessment roll in accordance with the Council's determination and report the roll to the Council for confirmation.
The Council shall specify the provisions and procedures for financing a local public improvement. No contract or expenditure, except for the cost of preparing necessary plans and specifications and estimates of cost and for legal fees and hearing expenses, shall be made for the improvement, nor shall any improvement be commenced, until the special assessment roll to defray the costs of the improvement shall have been made and confirmed.
The Clerk/Treasurer shall make a special assessment roll of all lots and parcels of land within the special assessment district benefited by the proposed improvement and assess to each lot or parcel of land the proportionate amount benefited. The amount spread in each case shall be based upon the detailed estimate of cost as approved by the Council.
When the Clerk/Treasurer shall have completed such assessment roll, the roll shall be presented to the Council for Council review and certification.
Upon receipt of the special assessment roll, the Council, by resolution, shall accept the assessment roll and order it to be filed in the office of the Clerk/Treasurer for public examination; shall fix the time and place the Council will meet to review such special assessment roll; and shall direct the Clerk/Treasurer to give notice of a public hearing for the purpose of affording an opportunity for interested persons to be heard. The notice shall be given by publication once, at least 10 full days prior to the date of the hearing, in a newspaper published or circulated within the Village and by first-class mail addressed to each owner of or person in interest in property to be assessed as shown by the last general tax assessment roll of the Village, mailed at least 10 full days prior to the date of the hearing. The hearing required by this section may be held at any regular, adjourned or special meeting of the Council. The hearing may be adjourned without further notice. Proof of publication and an affidavit of mailing shall be filed with the Clerk/Treasurer prior to the hearing. At this meeting, all interested persons shall present in writing their objections, if any, to the assessments against them. The Clerk/Treasurer shall be present at every meeting of the Council at which a special assessment is to be reviewed.
The Council shall meet at the time and place designated for the review of such special assessment roll and at such meeting, or a proper adjournment of the meeting, shall consider all objections submitted in writing. The Council may correct the roll as to any special assessment or description of any lot or parcel of land or other errors appearing in the roll; or it may, by resolution, annul the assessment roll and direct that a new roll be prepared. The same proceedings shall be followed in making a new roll as in the making of the original roll. If, after hearing all objections and making a record of such changes as the Council deems justified, the Council determines that it is satisfied with the special assessment roll and that assessments are in proportion to benefits received, it shall thereupon pass a resolution reciting such determinations, confirming such roll, placing it on file in the office of the Clerk/Treasurer and directing the Clerk/Treasurer to attach the warrant of the Clerk/Treasurer to a certified copy of the roll within 10 days, commanding the Assessor to spread and the Clerk/Treasurer to collect the various sums and amounts appearing on the roll as directed by the Council. The roll shall have the date of confirmation endorsed on the roll and shall from that date be final and conclusive for the purpose of the improvement to which it applies unless contested in the manner provided by state law and subject to adjustment to conform to the actual cost of the improvement, as provided in § 307-17.
All special assessments, except such installments as the Council shall make payable at a future time as provided in this chapter, shall be due and payable upon the date specified in the Council resolution confirming the special assessment roll.
The Council may provide for the payment of special assessments in annual installments. Such annual installments shall not exceed 30 in number, the first installment being due upon confirmation of the roll or on such date thereafter as the Council may determine and deferred installments being due annually thereafter, or in the discretion of the Council, may be spread upon and made a part of each annual Village tax roll in each calendar year thereafter until all are paid. Annual installments need not be equal in amount. Interest shall be charged on all deferred installments at a rate not to exceed the maximum rate then permitted by law for special assessment bonds sold by the Village, from such date as shall be fixed by the Council, and shall be payable on the due date of each subsequent installment. The full amount of all or any deferred installments, with interest accrued to the last day of the month of payment, may be paid in advance of the due dates.
If a special assessment or installment is not paid when due, it shall be deemed to be delinquent and there shall be collected a penalty of 1% of the amount of the delinquent assessment payment, the assessment itself and all accrued interest to the payment date, for each month, or fraction of a month, that the assessment remains unpaid before being reported to the Council for reassessment upon the Village tax roll. After the Council has confirmed the roll, the Clerk/Treasurer shall notify by mail each property owner on the roll that the roll has been filed, stating the amount assessed and the terms of payment. Failure on the part of the Clerk/Treasurer to give the notice or of such owner to receive the notice shall not invalidate any special assessment roll of the Village or any assessment on the roll, nor excuse the payment of any assessment or the interest or penalties.
Any assessment, or part of an assessment, remaining unpaid on the first Monday of March following the date upon which it became delinquent shall be reported as unpaid by the Clerk/Treasurer to the Council. Any such delinquent assessment, together with all accrued interest and penalties, shall be transferred and reassessed on the next annual Village tax roll in a column headed "special assessments" with a penalty of 4% upon such total amount of the assessment and the interest and penalties added, and when so transferred and reassessed upon the tax roll shall be collected in all respects as provided for the collection of Village taxes.
Special assessments and all interest, penalties and charges on such assessments from the date of confirmation of the roll shall become a debt to the Village from the persons to whom they are assessed and, until paid, shall be and remain a lien upon the property assessed, of the same character and effect as the lien created by general law for state, county and Village taxes; and the lands upon which such assessments are a lien shall be subject to sale the same as are lands upon which delinquent Village taxes constitute a lien.
The Clerk/Treasurer shall, within 60 days after the completion of each local or special public improvement, compile the actual cost and adjust the special assessment roll to correspond with such cost. Should the assessment prove larger than necessary by less than 5% of the amount of the roll, this shall be reported to the Council, which may place the excess in the Village treasury or make a refund pro rata according to the assessment, such refund to be in cash or by the cancellation of all or part of one or more future due installments. If the assessment exceeds the amount necessary by 5% or more, the entire excess shall be refunded pro rata according to the assessment, such refund to be in cash or by the cancellation of all or part of one or more future due installments. No refunds of special assessments or cancellation of future due installments may be made which impair or contravene the provision of any outstanding obligation or bond secured in whole or part by such special assessments. When any special assessment roll shall prove insufficient to meet the cost of the improvement for which it was made, the Council may make an additional pro rata assessment; but the total amount assessed against any one parcel of land shall not exceed the benefits received by the lot or parcel of land.
In any case where the provisions of this chapter may prove to be insufficient to carry out fully the making of any special assessment, the Council shall provide by ordinance any additional steps or procedures required.
If bonds are issued in anticipation of the collection of special assessments, all collections on each special assessment roll or combination of rolls shall be set in a separate fund for the payment of the principal and interest on the bonds so issued in anticipation of the payment of such special assessments, and shall be used for no other purpose.
Moneys raised by special assessment to pay the cost of any local improvements shall be held in a special fund to pay such cost or to repay any money borrowed for such improvements. Each special assessment account must be used only for the improvement project for which the assessment was levied, incidental expenses, including the repayment of the principal and interest on money borrowed, and to refund excessive assessments if refunds are authorized.
An action may not be instituted for the purpose of contesting or enjoining the collection of a special assessment unless:
Within 45 days after the confirmation of the special assessment roll, written notice is given to the Council indicating an intention to file such an action and stating the grounds on which it is claimed that the assessment is illegal; and
The action is commenced within 90 days after the confirmation of the roll.
Whenever the Council shall deem any special assessment invalid or defective for any reason whatsoever, or if any court of competent jurisdiction shall have adjudged such assessment to be illegal for any reason whatsoever, in whole or in part, the Council shall have power to cause a new assessment to be made for the same purpose for which the former assessment was made, whether the improvement or any part has been completed and whether any part of the assessment has been collected or not. All proceedings on such reassessment and for its collection shall be made in the manner as provided for the original assessment. If any portion of the original assessment shall have been collected and not refunded, it shall be applied upon the reassessment; and the reassessment shall to that extent be deemed satisfied. If more than the amount reassessed shall have been collected, the balance shall be refunded to the person making such payment.
The Council may combine several districts into one project for the purpose of effecting a saving in the costs. There shall be established for each district separate funds and accounts to cover the cost.
Should any lots or lands be divided after a special assessment has been confirmed and divided into installments, the Assessor shall apportion the uncollected amounts upon the several lots and lands so divided and shall enter the several amounts as amendments upon the special assessment roll. The Clerk/Treasurer shall, within 10 days after such apportionment, send notice of such action to the persons concerned at their last known address by first-class mail. Such apportionment shall be final and conclusive on all parties unless a protest in writing is received by the Clerk/Treasurer within 20 days of the mailing of the notice, in which event the Council shall grant all interested parties a hearing and affirm or modify such apportionment as it shall determine.
The Council may provide for the deferred payment of special assessments from persons who, in the opinion of the Council and Assessor, by reason of poverty are unable to contribute toward the cost. In all such cases, as a condition to the granting of such deferred payments, the Village shall require mortgage security on the real property of the beneficiary payable on or before his death, or in any event, on the sale or transfer of the property.
When any lot, building or structure within the Village, because of the accumulation of refuse or debris, the uncontrolled growing of weeds, or age or dilapidation, or because of any other condition or happening, becomes, in the opinion of the Council, a public hazard or nuisance which is dangerous to the health or safety of the inhabitants of the Village or those of them residing or habitually going near such lot, building or structure, the Council may, after investigation, give notice to the owner of the land upon which such hazard or nuisance exists, or the owner of the building or structure itself, specifying the nature of the hazard or nuisance, and requiring such owner to alter, repair, tear down or remove the building or structure promptly and within a time to be specified by the Council, which shall be commensurate with the nature of the hazard or nuisance. If at the expiration of the time limit in the notice the owner has not complied with its requirements, or in any case where the owner of the land or of the building or structure itself is not known, the Council may order such a hazard or nuisance abated by the proper department or agency of the Village which is qualified to do the work required; and the costs of such abatement shall be assessed against the lot, premises or description of real property upon which the hazard or nuisance was located.